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North Star Podcast

Sep 13, 2018

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My guest today is Austen Allred, the founder of Lambda School — a revolutionary new school. Here’s how it works: Lambda School trains people to be software engineers at no up-front cost. Instead of paying tuition, students agree to pay a percentage of their income after they're employed, and only if they're making more than $50k per year. If you don't find a job, or don't reach that level of income, you'll never pay a cent.

So, how does tuition work? 

There are no up-front costs for Lambda School; they only get paid when students do. Once you’re earning at least $50k per year they'll pay back 17% of your income for the first two years, and total tuition is capped at $30,000. 

In an age where continuous learning is essential and student debt has skyrocketed, I’m struck by this model. Information is everywhere but learning is still difficult. Online, it can be hard to push through the difficult moments that get you over the hump or find others to share the journey with. 

Austen has some exciting solutions and we devote this entire conversation to the present, past and future of education.

David Perell and Austen Allred

Time Stamps

2:50 - Understanding the trade offs of the job market when making education choices

7:33- How Lambda compares to other universities or colleges

13:01 - Austen describes some of the problems with online education

14:43 Participation differences between pre recorded lectures and interactive lectures

15:50 Austen describes living out of his car during his beginnings in Silicon Valley

21:40 Lambda’s end goal and pursuit of sustainability for both the school and its students 

22:49 Shifting peoples perceptions on education and the future

24:10 How the current public education system fails to teach people “how” to learn.

27:05 Why hasn’t education changed much over the past 50 years, and how can we change it?

30:50 Austen explains his perspective on the pitfalls and shortcomings of the current high education system and student loans

34:10 Student loan payments and the adverse effects on the borrower

36:05 How apprenticeships fit into the modern education system and how the affect both job readiness for the apprentice, as well as the impact on a mentor.

43:00 The growing divide among society and conflicting schools of thought among sub regions of the USA.

48:30 Austen shares some Lambda School success stories.

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