Would you like to be paid to study?

Instead of a universal basic income, Andrew Ng and Kai-Fu Lee support paying people to study. However, besides governments, could private companies pay people to study?

Lambda School [1] in the US already offers online tuition to students who only pay once they earn at least $50k per year. Then, they would pay back 17% of their income for the first two years, capped at a maximum of $30k.

Now, Austen Allred – Lambda School’s CEO – explained a new experiment coming in 2019:

* Housing in downtown Salt Lake City for 1 yr
* $500/month food/living stipend for 1 yr
* 30 week full-time Lambda School course + career coaching
Cost: $0 until hired & making $50k+, then 17% of salary for 3 yrs, capped at $40k.

If this gets scalable and if the living stipend could be slightly increased so people with families could apply, this idea might have so much impact in the US and Europe that it reminds me of Muhammed Yunus’ microcredits.

Yunus wanted to offer microcredits to the poor but all bankers and experts said that it was impossible. You could not offer microcredits to people in extreme poverty and get it back it later. But he found a formula financing groups of five women who had to own their group’s debt so if one of them does not pay back, the others do. Yunus and its Grameen Bank also offered concrete business proposals such as funding a woman from an uncommunicated village to buy a radio/phone. Then, other people from the village could pay her for the usage of her phone to communicate with other villages, check prices, etc. Brilliant. But did all this really work? It did so well that Yunus got the Nobel Prize.

Will we see something similar in case of paying people to study? Who knows, maybe even Allred or whoever finds the formula of how to do this in scale will also get the Nobel Prize someday.



Categories: Inspiring ideas

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