Tech training with no upfront costs. Pay only when you land a job.
We invest in your success upfront. You pay a flat monthly fee only when you’re in a new job making $40,000 or more annually. No loans. No interest.
Build a career based on your potential, not your bank account
Pay only after you’re hired
Only pay when you are in a new job making at least $40,000 per year. If you’re making less, payments pause.
Land a job in a year, or it’s free
If you complete the program requirements and don’t land a job within a year, we’ll waive all payments.
Make small monthly payments as you earn
You’ll make monthly payments of $121 for 24 months while you're working. Payment is capped at $2,900. There is no interest and payments won't change.
When you're in a new job making $40,000 or more annually, you'll pay $121 per month for 24 months.
We designed flexible and simple terms for alumni launching their careers. Payment is divided into manageable chunks, and capped at $2,900. We even offer discounts and built-in downside protections.
We protect you from making any payments if:
You’re unemployed or unable to work
You take time off to continue your education
You’re in a job making below the income threshold
Four years have passed since technical graduation, even if you’ve paid nothing
Backed by Our One-Year Job Guarantee
If you complete program requirements and don't land a new job making over $40,000 or more annually, we waive the agreement. If you don't complete requirements, you're still protected by the basic terms — you won't pay unless you're making $40,000 or more.
How does it work?
Our programs are divided into three parts. The Success Sharing Program is built around these milestones.
Apply to the program and learn more — no degree required. We provide Success Sharing education throughout the application process.
If you’re accepted into the program, you begin the “Foundations” phase, our trial period, to see if Merit America is right for you. You don’t sign anything at this point.
The “Immersions” phase of the program comes next, where most of the course content is taught. This is when you sign the Success Sharing agreement.
“Placement” begins after the technical learning is complete. During this phase you interview with our employer partners and search for jobs with your coach.
Thirty days before the end of Placement, you receive your first payment reminder. Within 30 days, you make a monthly payment if you’re in a new job making over $3,333/mo ($40,000 annually). If not, verify your income and we defer payment for three months.
If you don’t land a job, you’ll never pay. If you complete program requirements and are not in a new job making over $3,333/mo ($40,000 annually) within one year of starting "Placement," we waive your entire obligation. And if you don’t complete program requirements, the agreement still ends after four years, payment or no payment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I leave the program early?
We understand that life can get in the way. We also realize that our program isn't for everyone. If you leave during the foundations stage of the program, you won’t sign the Success Sharing agreement and you’ll never pay Merit America. After foundations, your payment cap will be calculated depending on how long you were in the program. This payment cap will be spread over 24 monthly payments which you would only pay when you’re in a new job making over $3,333 per month ($40,000 annually).
How payments caps are calculated for IT Support:
- At the start of the “Immersion” phase, the payment cap is $1,000.
- Every two weeks thereafter, the payment cap increases by $475.
- After the “Immersion” phase ends, the payment cap reaches the maximum of $2,900.
When does the agreement begin and how long does it last?
You’ll sign the Success Sharing agreement as you transition from “Foundations” to “Immersion.” Up until this point, you will have many opportunities to read more about the Success Program details. After the end of “Immersions,” the agreement kicks in:
- Two months after the end of “Immersion,” you’ll receive your first payment reminder.
- One year after the end of “Immersion,” your agreement will end if you qualify for the Merit America Job Guarantee.
- Four years after the end of “Immersion,” the agreement ends, even if you’ve paid nothing.
Who is eligible for the Merit America Job Guarantee?
At Merit America, we want to drive meaningful career outcomes. We’re confident in our program and confident in our learners — if you put in the necessary work during the program and subsequent job search, we believe you can land a new, well-paying job. We act on this confidence through our Merit America Job Guarantee: If you complete all of our requirements and don’t land a qualifying job within one year of the stated graduation date, you don’t owe us a cent. The basic requirements for the guarantee:
- Graduate the program
- Live within a one hour commuting distance of a Merit America operating city
- Continue to meet all initial Merit America application requirements
- Conduct job search according to placement requirements
- Not be placed in “qualifying job” within one year of program graduation
A "qualifying job" is defined as a position with the following characteristics:
- The position is over 32 hours per week or described as full time in the offer letter
- The position is six months or longer duration as stated in the offer letter
- Monthly compensation for the position, excluding benefits, exceeds $3,333.33
- The position is a new position. This includes promotions at same employer.
What's the money used for?
Money from the Success Sharing Program goes directly back into helping the next class of Merit America learners build their careers. Payments from the program only covers a portion of your training costs — the rest comes from philanthropy and other revenue sources.
What if I go back to school? Or start a family?
The Success Sharing Program won't get in the way of your life. Anytime your income is under the income threshold, payments pause. This could be for any reason — from starting a family to going back to school. After 4 years, your obligation is waived, even if you paid us nothing.
Are there other ways of paying for the program?
The Success Sharing program is the only way for learners to pay for our program. Once you complete the complete the program, we provide resources for you to explore employer reimbursement, where your new employer pays the remainder of your payment cap.
Can I pay off my payment cap early?
Yes! You can pay the full remaining payment cap any time you wish — you even receive a 20% discount in doing so.
Read more about our discounts, below.
Are there any discounts?
You can choose to pay off your remaining payment cap at any time, and receive a 20% discount on the difference between the sum of payments made so far and their original payment cap. An IT Support alumni can save up to $780 this way.
If you sign up for monthly recurring payments, you receive a 10% discount on your monthly payments. An IT Support alumni can save up to $390 paying via this method.
How is the Success Sharing program different than a loan or income share agreement?
Loans and Income Share Agreements (ISAs) have their merits, but they don’t work for everyone. The Success Sharing Program is different in the following ways:
- Incentives are aligned. Many bootcamps, colleges, and tech schools will charge you no matter what. But with the Success Sharing Program, we’ll only charge you if you get a positive outcome. That way, your investment in our programs is always ROI positive.
- No credit checks. We’re not basing our investment in you off of your credit profile; we’re basing our investment in your potential. If you made it into a Merit America program, we believe that you will be able to increase your income, build a career, and pay it forward to support the next class of Merit America learners.
- Downside protection. You don’t pay anything until you’re in a job making over 40k a year. If you want to go back to school, you don’t pay anything. If life gets in the way of working, you don’t pay anything. You don’t have to claim bankruptcy to get out of our payments, they stop after 4 years.
- No interest. The Success Sharing Program isn’t a profit vehicle. Our goal is to serve as many learners as possible. The Success Sharing Program only covers part of our program costs, the rest comes from philanthropy and other revenue sources.
- Fixed fees. With an ISA, you pay a percentage of your income every month. This requires learners to forecast their future income to have any idea of their total cost. Also, if you get a great job, you can end up paying a lot more than the program cost — often 1.5-2.5 times the tuition cost. We charge everyone a fixed-fee even if you are making significantly more than the income threshold.
How do I report my income?
When you sign the Success Sharing agreement, you agree to report your income by sharing documentation including but not limited to:
- A copy of any pay stub containing your pre-tax salary information
- An offer letter from your employer containing your pre-tax salary information
- Your yearly tax returns
Each time you request a payment deferral, you must report your income. Deferrals are granted for three months at a time.
Living Stipend Questions
Who is eligible for the living stipend?
If you’re eligible for the program, you’re eligible for the living stipend. We do not set a cap on the number of learners who can receive a stipend. If it would make training easier for you, read more about paying back your living stipend, below.
How does it work?
Training programs require a significant time commitment that can be hard to make work on top of everything else going on in your life. To make training more accessible, we offer $100/week during the “Immersion” phase of the program. This stipend is meant for expenses associated with training, including costs such as childcare or transportation.
Do I have to pay back the living stipend?
Whatever amount you receive for the living stipend will be combined with the original payment terms. You pay back what you’ve received, with no interest or fees, only if you’re in a new job making over $40,000 per year.
For the IT track, the total stipend you can receive is $1,000 over the length of the program. If you received the full amount and completed the program, your monthly payment will be $163 instead of $121 for a total payment cap of $3,900 instead of $2,900.
Can I change my decision to receive the stipend in the middle of the program?
No, your choice to receive the stipend or not is set for the duration of the program. It’s important to note there is no interest or fees associated with the learning stipend.
Still have questions? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with our payments team.