Blog: The Educated Reporter

Is College Worth the Cost? 60 Minutes Takes on Thiel’s ‘20 Under 20′ Scholarships

Billionaire Peter Thiel’s controversial 20 Under 20 Fellowship, which pays young college students to drop out of school in exchange for a $100,000 that they are supposed to use to further their dreams and careers, got the “60 Minutes” treatment.

Entrepreneur and Prof. Vivek Wadhwa, who teaches at Duke and Stanford, told Morley Safer that Thiel’s initiative sends the “absolutely dead wrong” message that dropping out of school is acceptable, or that college isn’t a worthwhile endeavor.

But Thiel counters that a plumber can have the same earning capacity as a doctor, and that other vocational careers can be just as rewarding.

The reality is more complicated, since not everyone who wants to be a doctor also wants to be a plumber. And the idea of people becoming doctors simply for the paycheck is also shortsighted. But Thiel’s underlying premise is one that’s certainly being debated in higher education circles, as well as among policymakers who are being asked to improve access and reduce costs for more students.


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