With the growth of the technology industry and lack of skilled computer professionals, there's been a rapid rise in the number of for-profit providers of short term courses in various computer science disciplines. Examples include General Assembly, Galvanize, and Maker's Academy, among several others.
Many of these providers offer lower rates to individuals if they are of a certain race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. As a result, the price for the programs could be lower for one person over another just because of a difference in, say, their race. See https://www.coursereport.com/resources/the-definitive-list-of-programming-bootcamp-scholarships
I'm no attorney, but I suppose that such discriminatory pricing is permitted because these companies are considered not to be providing a public accommodation. Moreover, many of these companies claim to scholarships rather than lower tuition. Finally, they claim to have a legitimate reason for offering these scholarships -- to increase certain populations' numbers within the tech field. So this could all be within the law.
But when I consider any of the following made up hypotheticals in other industries, I shudder:
- Kroger automatically gives a 10% discount coupon on vegetables only to Black customers, and not to Hispanics, to increase healthy eating among blacks.
- Apple gives a $100 gift card with purchases of iPhones only to Asian American customers, but not to individuals of other races. Reason offered is to increase wireless connectivity among Asian-American population.
- Buffalo Wild Wings gives white diners, but not anyone else, a $10 gift card for every time they dine at the restaurant. Reason offered is to increase interest and participation in televised sports among white women, whose rates of interest lag those of men of all races.
And now it seems to me that it's grossly unfair to charge two individuals different prices for the same product solely on the basis of race, gender or similar characteristics. So I was wondering if there's anything legally wrong with the tech bootcamps' pricing policies.