Tuition & Income Share Agreement (ISA) Questions
Important Note: The FAQs below explains certain tuition and ISA features and terms, but do not override any terms in the Income Share Agreement (ISA) itself. Students should read their enrollment agreement and ISA contract(s) carefully to understand their terms.
What is an ISA and how does it work?
An ISA is a way to pay your Lambda School tuition. A Lambda School ISA is a contract under which you agree to pay 17% of your post-Lambda School salary for 24 months, but only once you're making more than $50,000 per year (or the equivalent of $4,166.66 per month). The ISA is capped at a maximum repayment of $30,000, so you won’t pay more than $30,000 under any circumstances.

This is our way of investing in you. We select students we believe will be successful, and cover your tuition until you're in a financial position to pay us back.
When and how do I report my income?
Students are required to keep their servicer account up-to-date with their salary and job status at all times. Even if a student is still active in the curriculum, they need to keep their account up-to-date.

Students must inform Lambda School of their employment status no later than five days after starting work in a qualified position paying at least the minimum monthly income required to make monthly payments under the agreement. Students must also must inform Lambda School of the name of their employer, their job title, and their earned income every three months, or as requested by Lambda School, thereafter.

Each year, there is a tax reconciliation process performed to verify the students' reported income. This is to ensure that students are not over- or underpaying what they owe per their financing agreement.

Students must submit to Lambda School and/or their servicer the following documentation evidencing their earned income:

- Before their first monthly payment and every time their earned income increases or decreases, a pay stub, a letter from their employer, independent-contractor agreement, or other evidence of their monthly income.

- By 30 April each year, a year-end pay stub, form W-2, form 1099, schedule K-1, or other official documentation showing their sources of earned income and the dates of their employment for the previous calendar year.

- If Lambda School requests it, a completed and signed IRS form 4506-T (or any successor form) designating Lambda School as the recipient of their tax return information for returns covering any months for which they are required to make a monthly payment, dated no earlier than 30 days before the date they provide it Lambda School.
Who are Meratas and Leif?
Meratas is a third party provider who services the ISA on behalf of Lambda School in the United States. Leif is a third party who services ISAs for some existing students.

Servicers handle parts of the financing process like origination and payment processing. They will perform things like identity verification, bank account verification, and students will be able to make their payments through their online portal.

For questions about payments or using the servicing platform, students can contact the servicer's support teams


Portal: message within your Meratas portal
Phone: (877) 311-3824, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm PST.
When do I have to pay my ISA?
Payments are due on the 1st of every month.

Students will have a one-month grace period before their first payment is due. The first month for which they are required to make a monthly payment is the second full month in which their earned income exceeds the minimum. Here are two examples:

A student graduates from Lambda School on 15 May and on 5 June they start a job for which they are paid at least $4,166.67 a month. In June they are paid $4,166.67 or more. The first month for which they must make a monthly payment is August.

A student graduates from Lambda School on 15 May and on 20 June they start a job for which they are paid at least $4,166.67 a month. However, in June they are paid less than $4,166.67. The first month for which they must make a monthly payment is August.
How do I calculate how much I need to pay?
The 17% monthly income payment requirement is based off of your "Earned Income," which means all you are paid or that you earn in all your qualified positions. Earned income is your gross income—your income before taxes or any other withholdings (including contributions to retirement plans and savings plans).

For example, the US Internal Revenue Service for the 2019 reporting year defines income to include on an annual basis (a) the sum of Line 1 (Wages, salaries, tips, etc.), Line 7a (Other income), and Line 8a (Business income or loss) of IRS Form 1040, as reported or required to be reported on U.S. federal income Tax returns. All of those are examples of “earned income.”

Earned Income does not include:
- Income earned by your children or spouse (if any)
- Any money you inherit
- Any amounts paid to you under the Social Security disability insurance program (title II of the Social Security Act) or the Supplemental Security Income program (title XVI of the Social Security Act)
- Any amounts paid to you under the Child Nutrition Act of 1966.

Students are not required to make a monthly payment if their earned income for the previous month is less than $4,166.67 from qualified positions.
What jobs qualify?
“Qualified Position” means work as an employee, independent contractor, or business owner in a field related to, or position requiring knowledge of, one or more of software, data science, full-stack web, iOS/Android development, cybersecurity, information technology, UX, and web and app development and design and any other field or position for which you would not have been qualified, or not have been considered or promoted into, but for your participation in your Lambda School program or the job placement efforts of Lambda School.
When does the ISA contract start?
Once a student signs their financing agreement, it is a live contract. Per the terms of the contract, there is a window of time during which payments may be owed.

The term of the contract is either 60 deferment months (months during which a student does not have a Qualified Position after finishing/leaving Lambda School) or 24 monthly payments, capped at $30k.

The contract enters the Repayment Period and becomes active upon the earlier of:
- The date for completing the program specified in the student's enrollment agreement and

- Accepting a Qualified Position after the date specified in the enrollment agreement on which they are responsible for the entire amount of tuition funding allocated to their program (accepting a Qualified Position after fully vesting the ISA).
When does the ISA contract end?
The maximum term of the agreement is 83 months. That would happen if a student has not had a Qualified Position for 59 of the 60 deferment months, and then becomes employed in the 60th month in a Qualified Position. They would then owe the 24 monthly payments.

Students will not be required to make further monthly payments if:

- They have made 24 monthly payments
- They have paid the maximum amount of $30,000 (excluding fees)
- They have not been required to make a monthly payment for a total of 60 months, whichever is the earliest to occur.
What does "deferment " mean and what's the process?
"Deferment" means it is agreed you don't have to pay your ISA for that month because you either don't meet the qualified job position or are not making $4,167.67 a month or more. Students can reach out to their servicer requesting an Industry Specificity Deferment if they believe that their job is not a "Qualified Position".

The servicer will ask for supporting documentation such as the job description and pay stubs, etc.
Once the request has been processed (usually a week or two) the servicer will provide the student with an approval or denial of the deferment.
What is the true cost of Lambda School for students who elect to use an ISA?
Lambda School tuition is $30,000. You can elect to pay upfront or via an ISA.

Because ISA payments are based on income and the maximum number of monthly payments is 24, any one student who elects to use an ISA might pay less than the full $30,000 tuition of Lambda School.  

If you do not land a high paying job, you do not pay Lambda School anything. If you land a high-paying job, the most you will pay is $30,000.  

If you use an ISA, depending on your income after completing your Lambda School program, you will pay somewhere between $0 and $30,000, in 24 monthly payments based on your income. 

After you reach the payment cap or complete your 24th monthly payment, you are free of obligation under the ISA.

For example, if you get a job paying $60,000/year, you’re earning $5,000 per month. 17% of $5,000 is $850, so you pay $850 that month for your ISA. You make 17% payments on your income every month until you’ve made 24 monthly payments.  The total amount you will pay is $20,400.     

Below is a chart illustrating the total amount you will pay under the ISA payment option in various earning scenarios.  
Can I see an example ISA?
Yes, you can see a template of the agreement we use with Meratas here and a template of the agreement we have used with Leif here.
What are the interest rates for the ISA?
ISAs are not loans so they have no interest.
Is the repayment amount on an ISA calculated before or after taxes?
The 17% is a percentage of your gross income, i.e. before taxes.
Who services the ISA? Lambda School?
Meratas is a third party provider who services the ISA on behalf of Lambda School in the United States.  Leif is a third party who services ISAs for some existing students.  
What if I file a joint tax return?
The Income Share Agreement requires you to submit your tax returns to Meratas. That said, we’re only interested in your personal income. If you provide documentation of your spouse’s income, it won’t be included.
What happens to my tuition if I withdraw from Lambda School?
We reduce the total obligation for people who leave Lambda School, based on completion of sprints. For full-time students, a sprint is one week long. For part-time students, a sprint is two weeks long.

The timing for when your tuition and/or ISA may be canceled completely, versus pro-rated, versus fully due may vary by state depending on the rules in your state. Please see your Enrollment Agreement for the most up-to-date information. In every state, you can cancel your ISA within 4 weeks of your cohort start date.
Can I pay tuition upfront instead of signing an ISA?
Yes. On the admissions application, there’s a box to check to tell us you’d like to pay upfront, instead of signing an ISA. You can make this election up until the first day of classes.
Do I need to be a US citizen to be a student?
Income Share Agreements are available to people who live in the US who are US Citizens, US Permanent Residents, or DACA recipients. Other people can still attend Lambda School by paying the tuition upfront.

Almost all courses are taught on Pacific time so it's important to think about how you will adjust according to your time zone.
Can I sign another ISA with another school after Lambda?
No. Our ISA requires that you sign no other ISAs. (Also we want to make sure you get a job, not go on to more school.)
When in the month are ISA payments due?
Payments are collected on the 1st of the month.
Am I eligible for an ISA?
ISA eligibility is not determined on the basis of prior income, sex, race, sexual orientation, religion, national origin or any protected class. There are certain minimum requirements to be eligible for an ISA. For example, ISAs are only available to people who live in the US who are US Citizens (excluding California residents), US Permanent Residents, or DACA recipients. ISAs are also not available to individuals who already have an obligation to pay under an ISA with another institution.
What agreement(s) will I sign with Lambda School?
To enroll, you’ll sign an Enrollment Agreement with Lambda School that lays out the basics of the program you’ll take as well as key items to know. If you elect the ISA option, you’ll also sign an income share agreement contract prior to starting at Lambda School. Residents of California are not eligible for ISAs.
How can I figure out my cost of living with my ISA payment?
There are a number of online financial tools you can use to calculate this. We recommend using to figure your annual and monthly expenses, and how your ISA payment would affect your budget (you can enter the ISA amount as “miscellaneous”).
What happens to my cost of living if I relocate for a job to a different city and or state?
Using a tool to see how your cost of living varies by location is a great idea. Check out this cost of living index to see how your cost of living would change.
What options do I have if I experience financial hardship?
The Lambda School ISA has built-in protection for financial hardship. Should you lose your job or should your income drop below $4,166 per month, your payments will automatically be paused after you’ve reported the change. That said, we understand that unique and unforeseeable financial emergencies sometimes occur.

In this situation please contact your ISA program manager (Leif at to discuss available options rather than letting your account go into default. While we cannot guarantee your situation will qualify for any changes or deferment, we want you to know that we want the best for you and your family, and will do what we can to help in times of extreme financial hardship.
What is the cost of Lambda School for California residents?
Lambda School costs $30,000 for all California students.
What payment options are available to California residents?
California residents may elect to pay their tuition through either (i) payment of $30,000 or (ii) signing a retail installment contract. A retail installment contract is an agreement which requires you pay Lambda School $30,000 in installment payments. Full-time students who do not sign a RIC are required to pay $15,000 upfront with the balance due after the program is 50% complete. Part-time students owe $7,500 upfront with the $22,500 due when the program is 50% complete.
How does a California retail installment contract differ from an ISA?
The Lambda School retail installment and ISA are each contracts under which you agree to pay 17% of your post-Lambda School salary for 24 months, but only once you're making more than $50,000 per year (or the equivalent of $4,166.66 per month). The main difference between the two contracts is that a student can satisfy a Lambda School ISA by paying $30,000, making 24 payments, or after 60 months of deferred payments. A student can only satisfy a retail installment contract by paying $30,000.
Can I see a sample retail installment contract?
California’s current retail installment contract is available here.
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