Would You Skip College for $100,000?

Last week I heard about Paypal founder Peter Thiel offering $100,000 to 20 college students under 20 who would skip college to pursue an entrepreneurial venture.  Thiel’s goal is to encourage young entrepreneurs to take a 2-year break from college to implement their ideas in technology and science.  The program isn’t meant to discourage education, but champions the ideas of young visionaries and encourages them to be world changers.

Greed over education?

Ok, but doesn’t this encourage young adults to avoid education and ultimately harm them?  I would disagree.  In fact, I would say that the 20 who are selected are very intelligent in their field of interest.  Spending 3-4 years studying things that aren’t interesting to them can be a poor use of time if they’re not growing and advancing.  This is especially true if you graduate with school debt.

To address the question of pursuing greed over education, I would ask that same question to college students.  Why are most students there?  Is it because they love education?  Most are there to try to shape a better life with higher earning potential.  Neither side should use the money argument as a reason to support or reject the offer.  The true purpose is to support visionaries who might make a difference in the world with their specialized knowledge in science and technology.

Would you skip college?

If I knew that I could still get a degree afterwards, I would definitely take the offer!  Thiel isn’t making these young people sign a contract that says they’re not able to get a degree at all.   It’s just a nudge to see if they are willing to take some risk in hopes to build something that can change the world.

So what about you?  Would you take the offer? For those with degrees, would you have considered it back in the day?

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://www.tusarebecca.blogspot.com CityFlips

    I wouldn’t ever encourage anyone to skip college all together. I don’t see how this is so different from an internship or a co-op. Hopefully these folks do end up with a degree at some point.

  • http://www.krantcents.com krantcents

    Slightly different, but one of my son’s friends gave up a scholarship to Stanford to play professional baseball. He was offered $500,000 to sign out of high school. He spent about 12 years in the majors, and won a World Series. His highest year he earned $3.75 million and his career was over at 30 years old. I hope he saved his money and has a good future. Was it a good choice?

  • http://gainbusinessskills.com/ Darren

    Tim,

    Like you, if I had the option to getting my degree after the two-year hiatus, I’d definitely take the offer if I was still in college.

    I don’t think these kids would be pursuing greed either. They’re probably pursuing a dream or vision that takes capital, and this is their chance.

    You’re right in that most students aren’t in college for the love of learning anyway. They’re in it to one day get a good-paying job.

    To me, it doesn’t seem like greed is much of an issue in either instance.

  • Nicole F

    I would definitely take the offer to pursue medical research for two years before attending school. That sounds like a win-win if you can still get a degree afterward. Now, if it was to never get a degree, then that would be a deal breaker. Do you have a link to the article/info about the offer?

  • http://www.freemoneywisdom.com Jon | Free Money Wisdom

    Seems like a no-brainer to me! Knowing me, I’d just quietly invest it all and work full time for those two years and then go back to college and get my degree lol.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithandfinance Tim

    @ City Flips – good point. It sounds like a really nice paying internship :)

    @ Krantcents – For him, it sounds like it was a good choice. He pursued something he was passionate about, made a good living, and can do something different if he wants to. Good for him (and his millions :) )

    @ Darren – Yeah, I think these students just need a shot at putting their dream to life. It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of it!

    @ Nicole – I just added a link to Thiel’s foundation site where you can read about the scholars. Thanks for pointing that out.

    @ Jon – I’m with ya. Having a degree is an accomplishment to be proud of and certainly a good thing to have….but, yes, I would have liked a shot at something like this!

  • http://www.moneyhelpforchristians.com/ Craig Ford

    That’s a hard question to answer. College taught me a lot about relationship and spirituality. However, I could have got the same self taught education for $1,000. If one of my kids wanted to do it I’d probably say – go for it.

  • Aimy Ross

    I really do not know many 18 year-olds who know what they want to do. I guess you really have to know that you could or would go back to get that degree at some point. It is so easy to put things off. I am thankful to my parents that I pursued a 4-year degree. It was always expected If I had waited, it would have made it that much harder to pursue a second career in by going for and MA.

    Its like not wanting to practice piano. Those who quit, wish they had been pushed to continue.

  • Jackie Paulson

    Skip college! I have a Paralegal Degree for two years in ILLINOIS, not one offer for a job. It really makes no sense to spend all that money!

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