Learn, build and join Chicago's tech community.

Student Experience

You'll be surrounded by dozens of other students, just as driven as you, looking to build something meaningful to them. There's an energy in that camaraderie that you'll find infectious. You'll lean on each other, you'll share hacks with each other, you'll party together.

Speaking of hacks, every quarter we hold a couple of hackathons, which are intense, multi-day sessions of concentrated coding. You'll collaborate with classmates, apply the stuff you've learned in class, and build and iterate quickly on a product you've only just conceived of. You'll learn how to scope, prioritize, and make pragmatic decisions by building under a tight time constraint. At hackathons, you ship early and often.

A place built for developers, designers and entrepreneurs

At Starter School, you'll get 24/7 access to a 12,000 square foot workspace located in Chicago's booming West Loop tech neighborhood. We've built out a space custom fit for our students' needs.

An open workspace with breakout rooms, a full kitchen and comfy couches.
A spacious classroom with writeable walls and two large projector screens.
We're down the hall from Basecamp, experts at building products.
Get hands-on, one-to-one coaching

We have a team of dedicated coaches who are committed to helping you grow. There's no better way to learn than by talking one-on-one with experts and having them review your work in front of you.

Friends and neighbors

You'll become familiar with Chicago's leading technology companies, such as Google, Basecamp, Trunk Club, Threadless, and lots more. You will get a candid look inside their workplaces and see for yourself how their culture and environment enables successful product development.

Launch your product

After months of hard work, you'll ship your web application and present it to an audience of people. You'll showcase what you've built to your peers, family, investors, and other people in the local tech community. This transformative event will be the celebratory pinnacle of your Starter School experience.



Tuition for Starter School is $12,000 per quarter, excluding housing, materials, and personal expenses. A refundable deposit of $3,000 will be required in order to confirm your acceptance. One week before the start of each quarter a payment of $12,000 must be made. For example, the Winter quarter begins on January 6, so a payment of $12,000 would be due no later than December 30.

Cost Breakdown
Fall quarter -$12,000
Winter quarter $12,000
Spring quarter $12,000
Total $24,000

Do you offer loans and scholarships?

Currenty we don't offer loans or financial aid. However, we are actively working with loan providers and the government to make Starter School more affordable. In the meantime, please reach out to us at support@starterschool.com so we can learn more about your situation.

How have other students financed their tuition?

Our students have creatively raised funds for Starter School in numberous ways. They've sourced online donations, secured company sponsorship, created friends and family loans, and even sold their cars. The students who have given up the most tend to get the most out of the program. They treat it like a serious, life-changing investment— which is exactly what it is.

A New Way to Pay For Starter School

We are excited to announce a partnership with Upstart, a platform that allows individuals to get financial investment to pursue their dream careers. This partnership allows current students and future Starter School students to raise funding for Starter School tuition.

Here are the requirements to qualify for Upstart:

  1. You must be a U.S. citizen, or permanent resident currently living in the US
  2. Be at least 18 years old;
  3. Have a valid e-mail account;
  4. Have a verifiable name, date of birth, and social security number
  5. Have graduated from a 4-year (bachelor's degree) accredited college in 1995 or later or be accepted by and soon to enroll in a 4-year accredited (bachelor's degree) college;
  6. Have an account at a U.S. financial institution with a routing transit number; and
  7. Meet our minimum credit requirements.