Do I qualify for a Skills Fund loan?

We’ve worked closely with Startup Institute to provide students - of all backgrounds and walks of life - access to competitive financing. As long as you meet the basic underwriting criteria, such as you are a US citizen / permanent resident, with no recent bankruptcies or history of default on a public or private loan, you'll most likely qualify for a Skills Fund loan.


Startup Institute & Skills Fund are proud to offer a new take on financing; one in which capable students have no barriers to professional opportunity and success. Students credit denied for a traditional Skills Fund loan may be eligible for the Skills Fund & Startup Institute Access Program.

How It Works:

Within 24 hours of receiving a credit denial, Skills Fund will email you with details of your Access Loan eligibility. Please note: only accepted Startup Institute students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are able eligible for an Access Loan.

Loan terms include:

  • Identical loan terms: Same interest rates, fees, and loan terms as a traditional Skills Fund loan, for which you already applied
  • Full Startup Institute tuition financing options (minus cash deposit)
  • Ease of Access: You do not need to reapply to qualify for an Access Loan. Simply respond to the Skills Fund email sent within 24 hours of your credit denial or email Access@Skills.Fund


Students can borrow between $2,000 and $12,500 ($9,500 tuition - $1,000 deposit + $4,000 supplemental cost of living). You may use your loan proceeds for Startup Institute's tuition and to help pay for supplemental cost of living while enrolled in the program.

Please note: Supplemental cost of living can only be added to max tuition financing. The deposit is not eligible for financing.


Your lump sum cost of living will be sent directly to Startup Institute 10 - 14 days after your program start date.

Please note: Supplemental cost of living can only be added to max tuition financing. Anything above your tuition (less $1,000 deposit) will be considered cost of living and disbursed directly to you. Cost of living cannot be financed apart from tuition.

What is the deferment period?

The deferment period is defined as the time you are attending the course, plus an additional two months after completion. These additional two months are considered your repayment grace period.

Interest only payments are required during the deferment period. After the deferment period ends, payments of principal and interest are required.

How much are interest payments during the deferment period?

For a 36-month $10,000 loan, the interest only monthly payment is approximately $78. For a 60-month $10,000 loan, the interest only monthly payment is approximately $95.

Note that even though the 60-month loan has higher interest payments during the deferment phase, it has lower monthly payments during the 60 months full repayment phase than the 36-month loan. Please see terms in "More Info On Terms" above.

Do I need a cosigner?

If you do not meet the loan underwriting criteria, a cosigner will be needed. You can (1) apply individually, and should you not be approved, you can reapply with a cosigner, or (2) initiate your loan process with a cosigner.

Please note: we advise you to apply individually to begin.

What information do I need to provide Skills Fund?

During the loan application process, we will ask you for the following information:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Email and other contact information
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Loan amount requested
  • Three personal references
  • Cosigner information (if applicable)

When can I apply for a loan?

Apply for the loan after your acceptance into a program. Your program cohort must begin within 90 days of the date that you apply for a loan.

Will you check my credit?

Yes, we will check your credit, including your credit score.

Will I get charged any fees for taking out this loan?

You will be charged an origination fee of 4.0%. This amount will be added to the amount of tuition you borrow, and included in the total loan principal amount you finance. This fee helps cover the administrative fees associated with originating the loan and charged by our partner bank. Please see terms in "More Info on Terms" above.

Please note: this fee is already reflected in the general APR outlined above and in the loan calculator. Interested in learning more about your interest rate vs. APR? Check out our blog post here.

How do I know if I’ve been approved for a loan?

Shortly after completing your loan application, you will receive provisional credit approval details via a confirmation window in the application. If you are credit approved, your loan will then be certified by Startup Institute.

How and when will I repay my loan?

You will start paying interest on your loan roughly one month after your Startup Institute program start date.

Two months post-graduation, you will start making full monthly payments (interest plus principal). This 60-day grace period helps you to keep your eye on finding the perfect job post-graduation.

Upon loan acceptance, we will provide you with several options for making payments, including automated payments. You may create an account at at any time to manage payments and account balance.

Can I pay my loan faster than the initial term?

Yes, you can pre-pay your loan at any time without penalty.

What happens to my loan if I drop out from my program?

Regarding your tuition: You are responsible for the full amount you borrow, plus accrued interest and fees. If you are owed a refund by Startup Institute, the refund transaction will be made to Skills Fund in the amount of the refund due (but in no event greater than what that we paid to Startup Institute on your behalf). If there is a balance on your loan after any applied refund, you will be required to immediately start making monthly payments for the balance.

Regarding your cost of living: You are responsible for returning these funds to Skills Fund. If there is a balance on your loan after any applied refund, you will be required to immediately start making monthly payments for the balance.

Who is Skills Fund?

Skills Fund's mission is simple: we transform student lives and careers by accelerating the growth of and access to high-quality skills education. With a team of leaders in student lending, higher education and consumer protection, Skills Fund pulls upon extensive expertise to create a financing platform that is transparent, fast, and offers students financial flexibility.

Skills Fund believes bootcamps, lenders, and industry should share in ensuring student success - and that’s what we’re working daily to make happen.

Who is Southeast Bank and how is it related to Skills Fund?

Southeast Bank is a Tennessee-chartered bank, and is the lender for all Skills Fund loans.

Who is Aspire Resources Inc. and how is it related to Skills Fund?

Aspire Resources is a wholly owned subsidiary of Skills Fund's non-profit partner, Iowa Student Loan. Aspire Resources provides billing and customer service on behalf of Skills Fund, thus your payment notices and other loan communications will arrive with Aspire's logo on them (it's not junk mail!).

How do I ask more questions not covered in this FAQs section?

We are more than happy to answer any additional question you might have. Just fill the form below and we will be in touch soon!