Secure your future as a software engineer
with Launch School’s
Deferred Payment Program

Over the past 8 years[1], we've built one of the best software engineering schools in the world. Our graduates command, on average, $115,339 within 10 weeks after graduation[2].
We now want to expand those who we can serve by offering a Deferred Payment Program, where students pay nothing upfront. And, we believe in our curriculum so much that if graduates can't get a job that pays at least $60,000, then it's completely free.

Who We Are

We’re an online program for learning software engineering and built for those who want to start a career in programming. We’ve spent the past 8 years[1] teaching thousands of students from around the world, and over time have refined our curriculum to be industry-leading.

Launch School was founded by experienced software engineers[1]. We know what it takes to not only break into software, but to build and grow a career as an engineer in the software industry. Our objective is to increase your lifetime earnings by millions of dollars. This is what makes Launch School unique and why we focus on the long-term results of a career. Our curriculum was created by software engineers for future software engineers — you.

At the core, we are about Mastery-Based Learning (MBL). We are the only program, online or in-person, that teaches in a MBL pedagogy and it’s the secret to our student success. Our bottom-up, assessment-led MBL curriculum allows our graduates to get jobs that pay around $100,000 on average. In certain cities, it’s much higher: around $120,000 for San Francisco area, and $130,000 for New York City[2].

No other program comes close to these results.

Deferred Payment Program

At Launch School, we've always aimed high and asked people to not settle for just any entry-level job. Our goal is much more ambitious: launch an impactful career as a Software Engineer at the best possible company. Over the years, it's become clear to us that financial strain is a massive impediment for many capable students who don't have the financial resources to pay our standard Core Curriculum fee of $199/month. We’ve seen financial frustration time and time again cause promising students to be derailed. So, we’ve decided to solve this problem by coming up with a way that eliminates all upfront payments. We’ve made our industry-leading curriculum more accessible to those who need financial assistance with the Deferred Payment Program.

The DPP is only a pricing change plus a money-back guarantee. Nothing about the curriculum changes. The Launch School Core plus Capstone curriculum is battle-tested and leads the industry in results. DPP participants now have the option of deferring all cost through the entire end-to-end Launch School curriculum and won't have to pay anything until they receive their first paycheck. And we guarantee you'll get a paycheck - if you don't, you don't have to pay us anything. The only difference is that the deferred cost through Core will be $299/month, instead of the standard $199/month. That's the only difference. Everything else about our world-class curriculum remains the same.

We believe in our curriculum and we feel strongly that if you're a studious learner, together we can reach your maximum potential. We believe in this so much that we will guarantee it: if you don't land a job that pays at least $60,000 a year, then you don’t owe us anything.[3]

We’re taking all the upfront risk because we feel confident in the combination of studious learners and our school. Our business model only works when you're successful, so we're going to do everything we can to help you succeed.

100% of Capstone graduates have accepted job offers within 180 days of searching, with an average offer acceptance of 10 weeks after graduation.

We have the highest salaries in the learn-to-code industry. Launch School’s graduates’ starting annual salaries average is $115,339. With the Deferred Payment Program, we want to expand who we can serve, especially those previously underserved.

No Entrapment, Lowered Switching Cost

Unlike other training programs that offer a similar deferred pricing structure, our DPP doesn't lock you into an Income Share Agreement (ISA) from the outset. If it’s not working out, simply leave Launch School and pay us the $299 /month that you were in Core; your first month in DPP is on us, so there’s even less risk. An ISA from the outset is very restrictive: it obligates your future salary even if the training wasn't a good fit for you and it also prevents you from joining a different ISA-based training program. In our DPP, you can leave without any of those consequences any time before Capstone. We view this ability to leave Launch School as a feature and we think this is a far more student-centric approach that prevents predatory educational entrapment schemes so often seen elsewhere.

1st Year Base Salary Only

Those new to ISA-based deferred payment plans may wonder why we're mentioning this section at all. It turns out there are deferred payment programs out there that span multiple years and ask for all income beyond base salary. This could include raises, bonuses, and even secondary income, which all add up to a substantial amount. We won't look at any of that. We will only look at your first year's base salary to determine our ISA percentage and that's it. This means, if your base salary isn't $60,000, then you won't pay us anything. When you compare our DPP with any other program, make sure to note this important difference.

“While the work that I put into Capstone and the great career search advice from the instructors got me a six-figure salary as a Software Engineer within 4 weeks of starting the job hunt, Launch School’s emphasis on fundamentals all along the way has allowed me to tackle complex, higher-level problems at work with confidence. Every day, I’m entrusted with challenging tasks across the stack that touch on everything I learned at Launch School over the years.”

WENDY KUHN

Wendy kuhn

How It Works

Prep course

Free Preparatory Course

Learn how to learn and secure your spot in the Deferred Payment Program

Core curriculum

Core Curriculum

Never fall behind! Master fundamentals at your pace and on your schedule

Capstone

Capstone

Apply the breadth and depth of your learnings by solving real world software problems

Career coaching

Career Search

Launch your career as a software engineer with the support and guidance of Launch School’s team

Payment plan

Payment Plan

Once you launch your career with an annual salary of $60,000 or more, start paying for your education

We trust our curriculum so much that if you don’t land a career within a year of finishing Capstone, Launch School covers all your deferred fees.

"Within two weeks of sending out my first application, I was getting contacted so often that I had to start turning away opportunities for interviews. I had the freedom to choose where I would work and I ended up accepting an incredible offer for a Software Engineer II position from a tech startup in Manhattan.”

TANNR ALLARD

Tannr allard

Our Teaching Pedagogy

Core Curriculum

First, Launch School’s students must work carefully through a large number of fundamental courses. In these courses, we take a Mastery-based Learning approach, where students must pass a series of rigorous assessments, including essay-oriented written exams, live 1-on-1 coding interviews, and take-home projects. The Core Curriculum usually takes 8 - 16+ months to complete and ensures that students take their time to truly master the fundamentals. We take a"no compromise" stance here as the topics are core to higher level concepts and we do not allow students to pass if they have sub-par understanding.

Capstone

After completing the Core Curriculum and passing all assessments, students enter Capstone. The goal of the Capstone Program is to give students an intense finishing experience that results in a career-launching job. Because the end goal of Capstone is very ambitious, it requires in total 4 to 7+ months of full-time focus, and possibly even longer. Capstone's pedagogy moves away from MBL and goes back to synchronous instructor-led instruction. The first 4 months are classroom instruction Monday-Friday all day; after that, there will be a Career Search process, where we work with each student intimately on procuring the best possible job.

“Capstone really is a fantastic career-launching step. It first covers valuable subject areas that are out of scope for the Core Curriculum and combines it with what you learn in the Core Curriculum to build challenging and impressive projects with your team members. By the time I finished Capstone I felt much more grounded and confident as an engineer than I would have otherwise.”

JOSH NELSON

Josh nelson
"It was only once I joined Capstone that I saw the true power of “just-in-time” learning that is unlocked by a focus on mastery. In isolation these skills had helped me earn millions in additional revenue for my former employer, but spending each day being challenged by brilliant, like-minded developers opened up a new level of possibilities."

DERICK GROSS

Derick gross

Application Process

Because we take on a lot of risk, the admissions process will be rigorous and will entail the following:
  1. An initial application (~1-2 hours)
  2. Completion of the free Launch School Preparatory Courses (~2-8 weeks)
  3. A technical assessment (~1-2 hours)
  4. A live interview (~1-2 hours)
  5. Completion of the final application (~5 hours)
→ Step 1: Initial Application

Webinar Recording

This webinar was recorded on September 3rd, 2020 with a live audience. We spent just over an hour talking about:
  • history of Launch School
  • why we're doing this now
  • our values when designing DPP
  • lots of Q&A throughout
Make sure to give this a watch if you're seriously considering the deferred payment program!

Deferred Payment Program FAQ

We highly recommend all DPP applicants read through the entire Launch School website. They will answer many questions as well as help you determine whether or not Launch School is the right program for you. There’s no change to the Launch School curriculum for DPP participants; DPP is only a pricing change. Therefore, if you’re interested in DPP, the first thing you should do is determine if Launch School is a fit for you. Make sure to read the rest of the Launch School website, especially Is This For Me, Common Questions, and the Capstone FAQ (scroll to bottom of page).

In the DPP FAQ below, we will cover questions specific to the Deferred Payment Program (you should read the other two FAQ links above for questions related to Launch School).

 

The courses and curriculum are exactly the same in Core and Capstone. You are required to take the same courses, pass the same assessments, and complete the same assignments; there are no special provisions for DPP participants. Our staff won't treat DPP participants differently, and in many cases, may not even be aware that you are a DPP participant.

When you progress through Core, you accrue $299/month, rounded up. For example, if it took you 7.2 months to get through Core, we will count that as 8 months. Your first month is on us, so in the 7.2 month example, your Core Curriculum deferred cost would be: 7 x $299 = $2,093.

Only when you enter Capstone do you sign our Income Share Agreement, which is 18% percent of your first year's base salary or $18,000, whichever is higher (we don't take from bonuses, raises, side income, etc). The maximum cost across Core and Capstone is $25,000, all deferred until you start collecting paychecks.

However, the Deferred Payment Program differs in a few ways from the standard Launch School program:

  • Admittance into DPP implies admittance into Capstone. In our standard program, we do not make Capstone admissions decisions until students are close to finishing Core. Because of the pre-acceptance into Capstone, admissions into DPP is strict.
  • You will have to complete the Core Curriculum within 24 months. We will make special provisions for pregnancies, bereavement, and other documented hardships on a case by case basis.
  • You must schedule check-ins every 3 months with Launch School staff during participation in Core Curriculum. This is to ensure the program is a good fit for you and you don’t accrue unnecessary fees if it’s not a good fit.
  • You will accrue $299 / month for each month you are enrolled in Core Curriculum, rounded up. Your first month is on us.
  • All of your fees are deferred until you secure a technical position with a salary greater than or equal to $60,000 following the completion of Capstone.
  • If you do not secure a technical position with a salary greater than or equal to $60,000 after 12 months of full time career search following the completion of Capstone, we cover all of your fees.

You might have had some "what if" questions come up as you read the above bullet points. Keep reading this FAQ.

There is a huge difference and the biggest is that we designed our DPP program from the ground-up with two ideas in mind:

  1. We are 100% committed to Mastery-based Learning and the DPP has to revolve around that.
  2. We wanted our DPP program to be far more student-centric.

We wrote an entire article about what a student-centric deferred program means, but the summary is:

  • lower switching cost, so students can leave without major consequence
  • higher salary threshold for the "or else it's free" guarantee
  • we'll only look at first-year base salary, ignoring bonuses, raises, and other supplementary income
  • shorten the ISA term to only 12 months

We feel strongly that these terms are, by far, the best and most student-friendly in the world.

The DPP includes both Core and Capstone. If you're admitted into DPP, it is implied that you are also admitted into Capstone. However, Capstone isn't mandatory; you are allowed to leave DPP at any time, during or after finishing Core with or without participating in Capstone.

  • If you leave during the free Prep Courses, then you owe us nothing.
  • If you leave during or after Core, but before Capstone, then you just owe the accrued monthly fee. We will work with you on a payment plan to pay back the deferred fee.
  • If you leave during Capstone, the fee will be pro-rated as specified in the Income Share Agreement for Capstone.

One major benefit in the way that we've structured DPP is allowing students to leave anytime before Capstone without major consequence. Most other programs force an ISA on you from the start, preventing you from joining any other ISA training program and staking a claim on your future earnings even if you were there only a couple of months. We won't do that to students. Before Capstone, DPP participants can leave at any time without any obligation about your future earnings; you are thus free to join a different ISA training program outside of Launch School.

We allow this because we believe in a more student-centric learning process.

We think the DPP can be an exceptionally beneficial and life-changing program for many. It's tempting just to shout "it's FREE if you don't get $60k - there's no risk!", but there are legitimate risks that you should carefully think through. Unlike other marketing-driven bootcamps, we want you to come into Launch School with clarity and 100% understanding of the risks involved. We will try to articulate some of them below.

  • Opportunity cost. Launch School’s pedagogy may not be the best way for you to learn or the best fit for you. It’s possible that another learning format or program would be better for you.
  • Our program is very rigorous. The reason we see such high salaries from our graduates is because we ask a lot of our students. Learning how to learn is the meta-skill that you will have to develop to be successful at Launch School, and it’s one of the reasons why our students both respect and love what we do. But, that rigor can be difficult if you’re not used to it. In MBL, you are afforded the time to figure out how to study and how to learn and what works best for you. That’s really the secret and key, but it also means you have to be willing to take time to figure that out.
  • There’s a real risk that we may not be a good fit for each other. We’ve been doing this long enough to realize that it’s impossible to be everything to everyone. If you want to be the best, you have to pick something to focus on. We picked MBL and long-term perspective as our guiding principles. Sometimes, this doesn’t fit with those who come to us. That’s ok. The hard part is that we don’t know anything about you, so we don’t know — and maybe you yourself don’t even know — if this will work. There’s a couple of things here that we did to decrease this risk:
    • We put a lot into our prep courses. If you can’t complete our free prep courses, then we are definitely not a fit.
    • We lower the switching cost. We don’t lock you into a demanding ISA from the outset and force you to learn with us when it’s obviously not working. If it’s not working out, just leave Launch School and pay us for the time you participated in the Core Curriculum.
  • There’s a risk that you don’t get a job after Capstone; however, to date, 100% of Capstone graduates secured software engineering jobs within 180 days. So we believe it’s a fair bet to make that you will secure one within 12 months.
  • Finally, associated with the previous risk, if you participate in Capstone, which is ISA bound, then you will not be able to participate in another ISA training program. All ISA training programs are mutually exclusive, because there cannot be more than one stakeholder on your future salary. This is a risk that's often not articulated and you should think carefully about which one ISA training program you will engage with. We think you should try us first, because we do not lock you into an ISA from the start. Our ISA only kicks in during Capstone.

We take on the cost of providing education and learning first and then receiving payment much later. We take on the risk of your defaulting, or running away, or abusing us. We take on the risk of attracting students just looking for “free” things. By not collecting payment first, we take on a lot of risks.

But we’ve been doing this since 2012 and we know that when we find the right type of student, our mastery-centered curriculum can unlock incredible results. We’re willing to take on this risk to see if there’s a fit and if we can achieve great results together.

Sure! Let's go over a few example potential outcomes and analyze the fees.

Example 1

First, the simplest case is the expected path, where you complete Core and Capstone successfully and find a job. Example: 8 months to go through Core and post-Capstone salary of $115,000, which is right about our average.

Core Capstone Total
7 * $299 .18 * $115,000
$2,093 $20,700 $22,793

In the above scenario, you could make $950/mo payments for 24 months after you start collecting paychecks. Prior to that, you pay nothing -- it's all deferred.

Example 2

Next, let's say you finished Capstone and got a job but this time with a salary lower than $100,000 (we'll keep Core at 8 months, like Example 1). Remember that we have a minimum Capstone fee of $18,000.

Core Capstone Total
7 * $299
$2,093 $18,000 $20,093

In this example, you could pay off the total with a monthly fee of $837/mo for 24 months. We're confident that given our Capstone averages, you will be able to cover this amount with comfort. Unlike other ISA programs, we aren't hoping that you hit our minimum threshold by way of other income or bonuses. One reason we aim high at Launch School is that if we don't hit our target, our back-up option is still pretty good.

Example 3

Finally, let's suppose you land a job before you start Capstone. You are free to leave Core at any time and all you have to do is pay us back the accrued fees. Suppose you leave the Core Curriculum after 8.3 months. We'd round up, but the first month is free, so we'd consider it 8 months.

Core Total
8 * $299
$2,392 $2,392

We'd come up with a payment plan upon departure, so we could do something like $200/month for 12 months.

Note that of all the examples, the most damaging for the student is the last scenario, where it's possible that you incur accrued fees and yet not make much progress in the Core Curriculum. This is a real risk and it's why we will meet with you frequently to check-in. If we notice that you're not making expected progress, we will stop or pause your participation in DPP so you don't waste money. In the case where we have to pause or stop, we will work with you on a reasonable payment plan for the accrued fees. (This doesn't count special situations like pregnancy or bereavement, etc; we will work with you through those types of issues).

We’ve been at the intersection of education and software engineering since 2012. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about an effective learning curriculum that puts students first, and that gets students results. At each turn, we’ve taken great care to think through the edge cases and conflicts of interest, of which there are a lot. There are a lot of good people doing their best and operating in good faith.

But there are also a few operators who are not and who are causing tremendous harm to individuals. We work a lot with students, and one thing we’re struck by is what sacrifice they — you — make. People have to sacrifice time with their toddlers, or quit their jobs, or ask their spouse to support them, or work double shifts, etc. Most people looking to transition to programming are vulnerable in some way.

We believe we can build a learning institution that is student-centered, as opposed to investor-centered. If we can’t help you, we will let you know at the beginning. If we aren’t a good fit, we want you to leave asap, so you don’t waste any more time or money here. We are not going to tell you there’s no risk and that it’s free because there’s absolutely no such thing as no risk or free. We do not want to trick you into our program by saying there’s “no risk” and that it’s “free.” Nor will our ISA trap you for, say, 5 years. Our business model relies on your success, not on misdirection and entrapment.

Launch School may not be helpful to your exact situation.

We want you to fully understand all the pros and cons of what Launch School is about and come with your eyes wide open. And we want to be clear: we know for a fact that we aren’t for everyone. Take the prep course to find out if our program is a fit for you.

The DPP implies admissions into Capstone, but DPP participants must still earn their place in Capstone per the normal standards by performing satisfactorily throughout the Core Curriculum. As a DPP participant, you are required to schedule check-ins with Launch School staff every 3 months. During these check-ins, we will review your progress and status for Capstone. You will not be unpleasantly surprised at the very end; we will communicate your Capstone status throughout Core.

You can work full-time or part-time through the Core Curriculum, however, you must be willing to work on Capstone and a career search full-time until you secure a technical position with a salary greater than or equal to $60,000.

You must commit to a full-time career search following the completion of Capstone for up to 12 months; full-time means 40 hours per week. To date, 100% of Capstone graduates secure software engineering jobs within 180 days.

The idea is that we truly believe our Core Curriculum + Capstone can get you to an amazing salary at a mucher lower cost than alternative programs, so we’re willing to take a gamble. Please do not try to game the system or do anything odd. We are trying hard to build something of value at a price point that's fair without being predatory or misleading. Help us with that goal.

Yes, absolutely. We will work with you to come up with a payment schedule that works for you. For example, if it took you 9 months to finish Core and you received a $100,000 job offer after Capstone, your fee to us would be 8 x $299 = $2,392 + $18,000 = $20,392. We could do a payment schedule of $850/month for 24 months (no interest). This is regardless if you get a year-end bonus or a second-year raise or make side income; we don't care about any of that -- only your first year base salary.

Borrowing to attend college is far more expensive. If you attend college even for a few months and quit, you’ll still be on the hook for the full tuition for the entire semester. At Launch School, if you leave after a few months, the cost is very minimal if you find that this isn’t a good fit.

Loans that you take out for college are extremely bank-friendly in that they can never be dealt with through bankruptcy or other means. This makes lenders very willing to lend out lots of money to students who need to pay higher and higher tuition fees. Student loan lenders don’t care at what institutions student-borrowers are spending their tuition dollars and also don’t care for what results. In contrast, our loans are subject to normal bankruptcy regulations, and so we must be far more scrupulous about how much we lend and to what end. We are lending you money because we can see that you can easily pay us back, not because there is some government regulation protecting the loan.

The reason we are confident in your ability to pay us back is our belief in the opportunities that will result when we combine your work ethic with our curriculum and pedagogy.

You can read more about both, and many other interesting facts about our school, on the rest of this website.

Unfortunately, at this time, we can only take US Citizens or Permanent Residents.
We don’t currently accept non-US students because:

  • It’s difficult for us to legally enforce the contract outside of the US. This would expose us to tremendous risk.
  • We’re uncertain if you can get a $60k job outside of the United States, which would prevent us from making any guarantees about potential results you could expect.

Yes! Current paying Launch School students are welcome to apply for the DPP program. All DPP qualifying criteria still need to be fulfilled. The only difference is that we will use any assessments you've already taken as consideration for Step 3 of the DPP application process (the technical assessment step). If you are a current Launch School student who hasn't yet taken any assessments, we will consider you the same as a brand new DPP applicant and you'll have to undergo the normal DPP admissions process. One difference to note, however, is that for current students to participate in DPP, there will be no free month (since you wouldn't need to try out Launch School).

Once admitted, your monthly payments will start to defer and accrue at $299/month immediately (there's no free month). You do not have to start over and can continue from where you left off (DPP doesn't affect the curriculum at all).

Yes! The DPP is an opportunity for us to expand those who we can serve, specially those who normally wouldn't be able to pay $199/mo for our Core Curriculum. If you are in DPP but change your mind and want to move over to the standard pre-paying $199/mo plan to go through Core Curriculum, you can definitely do that. There are a couple of stipulations:

  • we will need to come up with a payment plan for the amount that has accrued from DPP. For example, suppose you decide to switch out of DPP after 2.5 months. We would round up to 3 months in DPP, but your first month is free, so we'd count it as 2 months total. This means that we'd have to start collecting some amount of $598 immediately, though we could work out a reasonable plan.
  • if you wanted to switch back into DPP, you would have to apply again per the normal DPP application process.

Yes! Because our standard program asks that students pre-pay, we do not have strict admissions criteria. Of course, we still want participants to know the material, but the risk to Launch School is much lower because students are pre-paying. Students are welcome to take our standard program by pre-paying $199/mo even if they're not accepted into DPP.

We've been teaching people to code since 2012 and we are one of the oldest "learn to code" training programs around. Read more about our story here: From Bootcamp to Mastery: A Five Year Journey

On top of that, we have had many successful graduate stories and our salaries are the highest in the industry. See our Results & Outcomes page for more information.

We're also very transparent about how we achieve these results -- check out our Medium Publication as well as our Podcast.

Finally, if you have any more doubts or questions, you can always reach out to us at hello@launchschool.com.

If you're interested in DPP, scroll up to fill out the interest form (or click the Next Steps button on the right). If you're ready to apply, you can fill out the Initial Application (scroll up again). But whether you participate in DPP or the standard Launch School program, our free Prep courses are required. They are also a good testing ground for you to see if we're even a fit at all, without paying anything. The Prep courses are available for free once you sign up and log in.

If you have any further questions or comments, please email hello@launchschool.com. We are happy to keep the conversation going and to answer any other questions or concerns you may have.