Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel is paying 20 of the brightest minds to drop out of college. He selected 24 students under the age of 20 to receive $100,000 to get business ideas off the ground instead of sitting in a classroom.
Thiel, 44, has been his fortune from ventures like Paypal and Facebook. His Thiel Foundation just announced the Thiel Fellows of 24 under 20-year-olds. Over 400 people from 20 countries applied to be part of the program.
The young people had to agree to drop out of school to be given a $100,000 grant and mentorship to begin their own dream companies. All of the former students show promise in the world of science and technology. The original idea was for just 20 students but some of the proposed projects involved more than one person.
The fellows selected are impressive. This year institutions like Harvard, Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will be missing of their brightest students.
Laura Deming at 17 is the youngest Fellow. Deming has already graduated from MIT. She was only 12 when she begun researching ways to extend human life. Faheem Zaman, 18, wants to make a mobile payment system for the developing world.
The fellowship will last for two years. The fellows will receive their grants over the course of the mentorship along with valuable help from experts.
Thiel isn't a college dropout. He graduated from Stanford University and Stanford Law School but told VOA News that college has changed since he sat in a desk.
"It's gotten a lot more expensive than when I attended school a quarter of a century ago. And so, if you look at how much college costs have gone up, you now have people graduating with a quarter million dollars worth of debt and they end up having to spend years or decades paying the debt off."
As more and more of the world's wealthiest people are those who bypassed higher education to make their portfolios Thiel's idea may represent a new way of achieving success.