Judge forces Education Secretary to cancel 7,000+ student loans
The judicial system may not be known for its speed, but don't tell that to the federal judge who ordered Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to immediately cancel student debt for 7,200 borrowers. The order is the result of a case involving an Obama administration loan forgiveness program aimed to protect students misled by predatory, law-violating colleges. Under DeVos's leadership, the Department of Education has been trying to rewrite the rules and requirements for the program while also holding up processing for more than 170,000 applicants. But a class-action lawsuit brought by students who attended the now-defunct Everest schools prompted the judge to rule their debt be canceled without delay, a sign of hope for tens of thousands of students still seeking loan forgiveness through the program.
Target hikes minimum wage ahead of schedule
While shipping delays have sellers nationwide struggling to keep up, Target is sending out at least one thing early: wage increases to a new minimum of $15/hour. As of July 5th, all current and future workers at the company will be paid at the new rate, which represents a $2/hour increase over the most recent minimum, along with an extension of new healthcare benefits and a $200 bonus paid out to recognize the work done by both part- and full-time employees throughout the pandemic. It's the culmination of a 3-year plan begun in 2017 to raise its minimum hourly rate at the store from $10 to $15 by the end of 2020, but Target moved its timeline up to accommodate for the new essential nature of their business. Now effectively paying more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour, the Minneapolis HQ-ed retailer will spend as much as an additional $1 billion on employee-related expenses this year.
OG Silicon Valley startup files for IPO... confidentially
Palantir Technologies, a data aggregation software startup whose analytics helped the U.S. government capture Osama bin Laden, recently raised nearly $1 billion in VC funding and filed "confidentially" with the SEC to make an Initial Public Offering (IPO). SF-based Palantir waited nearly 20 years to make their shares available to the public, making them one of the oldest private startups in Silicon Valley. What's behind the under-the-radar approach? Aside from Palantir's existing reputation for secrecy, the company may hope that offering stock quietly will allow them to avoid the scrutiny that hurt the reputations (and share prices) of buzzy startups like WeWork and Casper.
Brooks aren't everything
For the first time in its 200-year history, clothing brand Brooks Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week, becoming the latest luxury retailer forced to confront financial realities brought about by COVID. As pandemic conditions caused a mass shift toward casual work-from-home clothing, sales of more formal wear declined as much as 74%, bad news for a brand known for its Made-in-America business attire. But this won't be the end of the retailer that once outfitted President Lincoln; Brooks Brothers secured an additional $75 million in funding through its filing as it searches for a buyer to help refocus the brand and keep boys at boarding school winter formals as snappy as ever.