RSS
$100,000 to drop out of college?
Billionaire Peter Thiel is offering grants to would-be entrepreneurs looking to leave school and put their ideas into action. Is that a good idea?
 
Venture capitalist Peter Thiel wants to help young entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground. But first they must drop out of school.
Venture capitalist Peter Thiel wants to help young entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground. But first they must drop out of school.
Corbis

Early Facebook investor, PayPal co-founder, and hedge-fund investor Peter Thiel is stirring up tech and education circles with a novel proposal for college students — he's offering them up to $100,000 to drop out of college. Thiel says he wants to encourage some of the nation's best young minds to focus on more than getting a degree and a job, so he is offering grants to 20 would-be entrepreneurs willing to leave school and put their ideas into action. Is Thiel being irresponsible by telling students that school might be holding them back, or is he doing them a favor by getting them to think big?

Thiel is polluting young minds with greed: What a "nasty idea," says Jacob Weisberg at Slate. Peter Thiel is just trying to inflate his enormous ego by getting young people to be emulate him. But a country where every kid "dreams of being the next Mark Zuckerberg" doesn't need more entrepreneurs. Thiel's just trying to turn the tech startup "into a white boy's version of the NBA," diverting young people from the "love of knowledge" to the love of money.
"Turn on, start up, drop out"

Getting revolutionary ideas to market helps everyone: "Thiel says he's trying to better the world by helping good ideas get off the ground," says Jesse Walker at Reason. What's wrong with that? There is no denying that many revolutionary technologies — from Facebook to SpaceX to Halcyon Molecular — were started by people who left school because their ideas couldn't wait for graduation. If Slate's Weisberg thinks Thiel's idea is "dumb," he should say why, instead of just accusing him of trying to "breed mini-mes."
"Jacob Weisberg vs. the Libertarians, Round LXIX"

Everybody has different goals — and that's a good thing: Some young people no doubt go to school for the "love of knowledge," says Nick Saint in The Business Insider, but most go for other reasons — to prepare for a profession, or to impress employers, or because college is where the parties are. Nobody is denying that college can be "very intellectually rewarding" for people who are cut out for it. But if Thiel's goal is "to help bright, motivated young people who want to do start companies instead, that sounds like a pretty great idea to us."
"Yes, it's okay to drop out of college"

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week