Allison Needed a Leg Up When Going From Campus Pastor to Coder: LoanWell was a “Perfect Fit”


Allison Williams, 37, thought she found a professional calling early in life. She began working in ministry in her early twenties and worked for many years as a campus pastor and supervisor. 

But despite her enthusiasm for her work, when she hit 35, she started to consider that she might be ready for a change. She got married and became the stepmother to three teenagers. 

“When there are more people in the picture, finances and work-life balance really became more important to me.”

She began to explore a long-held interest of hers, computer programming, and before she knew it, she was looking into applying to code schools in her area. She had her eye on the UNC Coding Bootcamp, a six-month program that cost $9,000 if she was able to pay the full tuition up front. 

“I realized I wanted to be hitting my professional stride in my 40s. This seemed like pretty easy time commitment compared to getting a masters degree. I was basically trusting my gut.”

Once she decided she wanted to do code school, the next hurdle was coming up with the money, which she and her husband didn’t have readily available. She read about LoanWell in a news article and thought the product seemed perfect for her. 

“My husband and I have decided big banks are dumb. And we want to do whatever we can to keep our money out of them.”

She also thought there could be some real advantages to bringing in friends and family to support her during this big career change. It also made good financial sense to go the LoanWell route. A personal loan from a bank would typically have an interest rate of between 8 to 18%. With LoanWell, Allison and her lenders could choose whatever interest rate they wanted, or none at all. 

In her job working in campus ministry, she’d done a lot of fundraising, so she wasn’t intimidated by the idea of asking people for money. 

Her first step was to make a list of people who were close to her who she knew would want to know about her making big life changes, and then calibrated how much to ask them based on what she thought they might be able to afford. She approached those on her list by email and in person. 

She started with some aunts and uncles -- a few family members she was confident would say yes. She was surprised when they came back to her and let her know it wasn’t a good time for them and they wouldn’t be able to loan her money. 

But she didn’t let it deter her. It took her two months to gather the commitments to raise the money she needed, but she ended up getting $13,000 in loans from eight different people. After she got her lenders on board, she was able to get all eight up and running on the LoanWell platform. 

She graduated from code school in August 2018 and is so happy that she brought her friends and family along for the journey. 

“There were times I really needed to remember the people that had given money and bought into this with me, like when I was waking up at 5:30 am to look at Javascript code. I needed some ‘Umpft’ behind me.”

Allison is currently networking and job hunting and is planning to begin paying her loans back in early 2019. She really liked the LoanWell feature that allowed a different interest rate set on each loan. 

She decided to let each of her lenders set an interest rate for her to pay back that they felt comfortable with, and they each picked between 0% and 3%, which will end up saving her thousands versus if she’d gone with a higher interest rate bank loan.

“For coding boot camp it’s pretty perfect. I would definitely recommend LoanWell to other people. I think it can always be hard to talk to people about money, but it’s good to be a little bit vulnerable with people. When you are taking a career risk, it’s good to honest about that.”

Are you interested in getting funding for code school or an alternative education program? We’ve got you covered. Create a fundraising page with LoanWell that tells your story and makes it easy to share with your networks. 

We can help you get low-interest loans, backed by your friends and family, to give you a leg up on funding your tomorrow.