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Request for Proposal: Help Us Find Low-Cost Housing for Lambda School Students

Last year Lambda School set out to discover the answer to one simple question: Is it possible to create a school where students only pay when they’re successful in their careers? Can you build an educational institution whose incentives are entirely aligned with the incentives of its students?

We hired some of the best instructors and career services people in the world, put everything online to eliminate unnecessary cost, and spent all of our time, effort, and energy perfecting our little school. We did (and still do) everything we possibly can to make sure that when our students hit the job market they are immediately hireable.

And it worked.

The results have been nothing short of incredible. We’ve seen warehouse workers become highly-paid software engineers and college dropouts land high-paying jobs, all before they paid a penny in tuition. We watched people making minimum wage get hired for $85,000/yr, and watched others on the edge of poverty launch directly into the upper class, all without taking on the debt burden of student loans.

It turns out that intelligence and drive are equally distributed, but opportunity is not.

Yet as we did so, it became clear that even though we could eliminate the upfront cost of tuition, we still hadn’t eliminated the cost of living. A student in a free class is still a student not at a job, and bills need to be paid. Now we’re looking to solve the next small piece of it: Housing.

We started by renting rooms in San Francisco, which works well, yet San Francisco remains one of the most expensive cities in the world, and a city that is entirely unforgiving to those looking for group housing. After all, what our students really need is a place to put their heads down and study like crazy for a few months, and in the long run it doesn’t necessarily matter where that happens.

Now the question remains: To where should we go?

We’re looking for a place that we can turn into low-cost housing for Lambda School students.

Our students are much more hungry than picky, and we feel that way too — we’d much rather optimize more for cost than prestige. All our students really need is a place to sleep, a place to eat, and a place to code. Ideally a place where we can start with a few students and grow into the thousands and tens of thousands, all while we work on supporting those that can’t realistically move.

We’re entirely open to any and all options, even nontraditional ones.

Your summer camps, hotels, dorms, and army barracks? Let us buy or lease them, and we’ll give them new purpose.

Do you have a Boeing 747 decommissioned in your town? A train that doesn’t run? We want them.

Do you live in a city that’s struggling to grow? Do you have buildings likely to be perennially vacant? Let us build and invest there.

Must-Haves: Cheap housing (or ability to build cheap housing), internet connection, access to nearby airport, access to food.

Nice-to-haves: Near metropolitan area or other city center, existing tech ecosystem, lots of room for expansion.

We’re open to most any proposal. Send any proposals to us at, and we’ll be in close communication. Let’s all do our part to make sure that as a society we can move anyone and everyone to the place of his or her greatest personal and economic fulfillment.

Thank you,

Austen Allred,

CEO, Lambda School

Lambda School Blog

The Official Blog of Lambda School

Austen Allred

Written by

Co-founder of Lambda School — a CS education that’s free until you’re hired

Lambda School Blog

The Official Blog of Lambda School