frequently asked questions
General Program Questions
What is Opportunity@Work?
Opportunity@Work is a nonprofit social enterprise with a mission to expand access to career opportunities so that all Americans can work, learn, and earn to their full potential in a dynamic economy. Through Opportunity@Work initiatives and programs, we aim to:
- Change hiring practices so that Americans who can do the job to get the job;
- Expand opportunities for people to get the skills necessary to succeed in today’s workplace; and
- Ensure that everyone can work, learn, and earn to their full potential in a dynamic economy.
What makes this program different than other financing options for coding bootcamps?
In 2017, Opportunity@Work launched the Talent Equity Fund, a new way for low-income Americans to pay for the training needed to skill-up or re-skill for well-paying tech jobs without bearing excessive risk.
Opportunity@Work’s Talent Equity Fund model removes the barriers between low-income Americans and financing tech training through:
- Inclusive selection: the underwriting process is based on the anticipated returns of the education pathway and an individual’s potential to succeed—not on past credit history or pedigree.
- Payments tied to outcomes: students pay a portion of their income, benchmarked to be affordable, and payment schedules are formulated based on job earnings success.
- Risk sharing: a share of tuition payments to the education or training institution is tied to student graduation and job placement rates, aligning educators’ incentives with student success.
- Wraparound support: low-income students receive funding to cover living expenses, transportation, computer access and other supports to aid completion of the training program.
- Pay it forward: surplus returns from repayments flow back into the Talent Equity Fund to support future students on their education-to-employment journey.
What is the eligibility criteria?
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must be eligible to work in the US
- You must be available to attend in-person classes according to the training provider’s schedule
- You must be committed to completing all academic requirements of the course
- You must commit to participating in the training provider’s job search support programming
Questions About the Income Sharing Agreement (ISA)
What is an Income Sharing Agreement (ISA)?
In general terms, an Income Sharing Agreement (ISA) is a contractual agreement enabling an individual to receive funding in exchange for a percentage of post-program income over a defined number of years.
Through this Learn and Earn program your ISA will cover full tuition costs. You will be required to repay a fixed percentage of your gross income for 5 years as long as you are earning $35,000 or more per year.
An ISA protects students from the risks associated with loans. When the repayment period of five years is over, you are free from the agreement – regardless of how much or how little has been paid. ISAs have no interest, and no principal amount that must be repaid.
Do I need a cosigner to take an ISA?
Is the income share calculated from my gross or net pay (before or after taxes)?
Gross pay before taxes.
Does interest accrue on my ISA?
No. There is no interest that will accrue on your ISA.
What happens if I’m unemployed or otherwise earning a low income during the payment period?
If you are unemployed or earning less than $35,000 per year at any time during the five year payment period, you are not obligated to make any payments during that time. This does not extend your term in any way. You will be done making repayments after 5 years even if the amount that you repaid in that time is less than the tuition amount paid by Opportunity@Work.
How will I keep track of my ISA?
A third party provider, Lumni Corporation, is a secure, student-friendly ISA application and servicing partner. Lumni provides a simple online portal and student managers to help you with your ISA every step of the way, from sign up through repayment. The Lumni portal is where you'll go to keep track of funding, disbursements, record keeping, and repayment. And Lumni's dedicated student managers are reachable by phone, email, messaging, and skype -- so you'll always have someone to turn to when you have a question.
How are my monthly payments determined?
Lumni’s online portal makes it easy to upload and submit the documentation we need to calculate your monthly payments. Your monthly payments are determined by informal documentation (such as a paystub from your employer) which is used to approximate your annual income. This estimate of your annual income is divided by 12 to set your monthly payment amounts. You will also be required to submit copies of your tax return each year; the income on your tax return for a year determines your final obligation for that year, and the difference between your total monthly payments and your final obligation will be reconciled at that time through a “true up” process.
Questions About the Living Stipend to Cover Other Expenses
What is the living stipend and how does it work?
In addition to the ISA that covers your tuition, you will receive a living stipend monthly while enrolled in the training program and for three months after graduation to support you during your job search. The amount is based on the cost of living where the training provider is located.
The living stipend is not expected to be repaid and is not part of your ISA. We are covering this to make sure that you can focus on succeeding in the training program and in your job search without having to worry about basic living expenses.