Jan 8, 2019

Lambda School raises $30 million in quest to tackle student debt

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Lambda School, a San Ramon, Calif.-based coding school, raised $30 million in Series B funding at a $150 million post-money valuation. Bedrock Capital led, and was joined by Vy Capital, GGV Capital, Google Ventures, Y Combinator and Sound Ventures.

Why it matters: Because Americans owe around $1.5 trillion in student debt, significantly more than they owe on credit cars or for vehicles, and Lambda is helping to pioneer a model that eschews tuition in favor of repayments via a percentage of future salary.

  • Lambda expects to train 3,000 students this year, just opened shop in Europe and CEO Austen Allred tells Axios that it plans Canada expansion either in Q1 or Q2 of this year. It also plans to soon expand its curriculum into cybersecurity, and next into medical services like nursing (which may include the purchase and reformatting of an existing school).

The bottom line: "It is an approach meant to treat students as investments rather than cash cows — a fundamental shift that could finally lift the crippling debt load we routinely push onto students. But it also comes with a peculiar kind of danger: By seeking safe investments, programs like this could cast aside the strides made to expand educational opportunities to higher-risk students and reduce the appeal of educations that focus on noble, but lower compensated, professions," writes Andrew Ross Sorkin in the New York Times.

Go deeper: The good news about student loans

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Federal court temporarily halts "Remain in Mexico" program

Migrant wearing a cap with U.S. flagin front of the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Photo: Jair Cabrera Torres/picture alliance via Getty Image

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's earlier injunction on Friday, temporarily stopping the Trump administration from enforcing the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of migrants seeking asylum have been forced to wait out their U.S. immigration court cases across the border in Mexico under the policy. The Trump administration has long credited this program for the decline in border crossings following record highs last summer.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus updates: WHO raises global threat level to "very high"

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization raised its global risk assessment for the novel coronavirus to "very high" Friday, its highest risk level as countries struggle to contain it. Meanwhile, National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow this morning tried to reassure the markets, which continued to correct amid growing fears of a U.S. recession.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected about 83,800 others in almost 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

Bernie's plan to hike taxes on some startup employees

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced legislation that would tax nonqualified stock options at vesting, rather than at exercise, for employees making at least $130,000 per year.

The big picture: Select employees at private companies would be taxed on monies that they hadn't yet banked.