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$100,000 Grant to Drop Out of College?

$100,000 Grant to Drop Out of College?
Susan Dutca-Lovell

There are scholarships, grants, and fellowships that reward students based on academic, athletic, music, and other types of achievements. But now there's one that encourages students who have enrolled to drop out. The Thiel Fellowship awards $100,000 to students who want to build and create things instead of sitting in a classroom. Founded by Peter Thiel, one of Forbes' top entrepreneurs, the fellowship encourages a non-traditional alternative to a college education, and some pretty bright students have jumped on board to learn before they get an education.

Naturally, the Fellowship struck a heated national debate upon its inception. Academics tend to believe that a college education is invaluable, including Stanford's President-to-be Marc Tessier-Lavigne. He was asked about the value of a college degree versus "folks like Peter Thiel telling people not to go to college." He responded, "the complexity of the world is in such a way today that the case for a liberal arts education has never been stronger." Some Ivy League students think differently. Harvard junior Grace Xiao dropped out after receiving the fellowship and her company Kynplex is now funded by the fellowship. Xiao states that, "Federal grants are harder to get which is pushing more researchers to explore early partnerships with industry."

According to The Wall Street Journal, college graduates only recently started earning a higher income than they had over the last decade, and unemployment rates are now declining. Unemployment rates dropped from 7% in 2010 to 4.9% in 2015. The top 25% of students in highly-desirable fields earn at least $60,000 a year. How successful are the Thiel Fellows? The Foundation's website boasts that since its first class, Thiel Fellows have started more than 60 companies that are together worth over $1.1 billion, and have created hundreds of jobs in the course of tackling problems ranging from telemedicine and human longevity to solar energy and clean water."

Spread over two years, the $100,000 grant is reserved for 20-30 young adults under the age of 23 who have strong entrepreneurial ambitions. Applicants do not need to have an incorporated company, a developed product, or even a pitch deck to apply. Fellows don't need to be programmers - others have started up non-profits, launched media companies, and built hardware. The Foundation provides grant recipients with a team of programmers, salespeople, and people with "in-house expertise in engineering, marketing, and design." Fellows are able to meet some of the industry's top leaders and investors for strong networking and business opportunities. The Foundation does not take equity in fellows' companies either. So what is the catch? If you win, you have to drop out of college to accept the fellowship.

In addition to co-founding PayPal in 1998, serving as a director at Facebook, launching Palantir Technologies, funding LinkedIn, Yelp, and other tech startups, Peter Thiel is also a partner at Founders Fund and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build a Future. His motivation for starting the fellowship? "College discourages students from trying new things and leaves them in horrendous debt." Would you apply for the fellowship? If yes, create a profile today to apply for the fellowship, as well as other scholarship, grant, and fellowship opportunities.

Comments (18)
Kashif Ali 2/28/2016
I went scholarship in engineering
Rebecca R 2/27/2016
I think that school should be free just like public school we all have goals but realizing them in reality would be really great
. 2/26/2016
If you are smart enough you can go to school and build your brand while you are In school.....stop thinking that money or grant can make all your problems go way.....bill gates was broke before he became bill gates. ...stay in school get a degree cause you never know when you might need it
F. David Jackson 2/26/2016
Sounds like a great idea! Given the ludicrous nature of most so-called educational paradigms, it is not particularly logical for many students to squander 4, 5, or six years of their lives, being abuse by pseudo-academic bullies, thugs, and pretentious wannabes...most of whom couldn't find real work if their lives depended on it!
Demysha Bohanon 2/25/2016
I just enrolled in Virginia College for the MA program for the April classes. I'm not digging sitting in a classroom. I want to be in the fashion industry and have my own business
bridget c. 2/24/2016
dear lord. this could go so wrong so fast.
Anesha D 2/23/2016
I'am a college Drop who really seeking to go back to school and finish my degree
JoeTony V H. 2/22/2016
In my opinion, this may be a great help and advantage for students who are in need of these scholarships and grants to succeed in having their desired futures in reach, like me. Though if the grant offerers wqnt to help these students collect scholarships and such, then we the students must put our parts in aswell. Only the individuals who really want their future will truly put major effort and bust theirselves to attain thier dream carreer. We must say to oursleves that we want this, and also put our money where our mouth is.
Anvar 2/22/2016
Is it true
Keshon Williams 2/22/2016
I am a hard worker I get along well with others I am easy to teach . other such as friends and teachers say i try my best to stay on top i go above and beyond 2 surpass someone that is ahead of me. I play football run track and also do cross country, I am a linebacker in football and run the 400 and 800 in track. I am currently in the 10th grade with the GPA / 3.2 and I make all A's and B's , I have 5 A's and 3 B's. I am the best candidate to take because I'm easy to work with hard working dedicated and a have heart.
Yuliza Uribe 2/22/2016
Please help me become a police officer by awardering me a scholarship
Edna G 2/22/2016
I think its a great idea because they get to find out what they are talented at instead of sitting in a class a learning stuff that they really dont care for
Edna G 2/22/2016
I think its a great idea because they get to find out what they are talented at instead of sitting in a class a learning stuff that they really dont care for
Amanda R 2/22/2016
I would like to go back to college and become a councillor for the military families and soldiers.
Trevon Byron 2/22/2016
After reading this very informal passage I can conclude that This Is Me and has my name all over it. I totally agree with the opinion from the passage. Age is nothing but a number . There are tons of students and young millennial with the ideal to start and create something and know how to do it but point blank period they just don't have the Capital to start. What better way to allow a young ambitious and driven individual and/or individuals to fund individuals who know exactly what they want to do and are willing to do whatever it takes to do it. This is a brilliant idea. I Trevon Byron, current undergraduate of Virginia State University is having this problem. I have ideas all the time and just need the capital to put them into motion. I am working on things now but like many students it's a work in progress. However, a $100,000 grant is enough capital to change not only a person la situation but it in fact can develop one and develop others.
Manley marcelin 2/22/2016
Want to go to college
Xolisile Maseti 2/20/2016
Sir/Madam Iam Xolisile Maseti I am writting this letter to ask for a scholarship for my school...the reason why Iam asking for a scholarship is that the are children in my school who are very needy for the grants or schoolarship...for intence this year there are more than 20 children who worked very hard to get the money e.g working in the garden...we would be very hornered to get your help Xolisile Maseti
Ramil G 2/19/2016
I feel as though this idea could be good for some people because usually well in high school you figure out if college is for you and usually well in college you definitely figure out whether you like school or not. But with this idea if this is a real scholarship it could show people that if they really believe in something just to go for it. Just dropping out of college at a "chance" is risky for some but if they are truly trying to help some create a new business idea with a well trained staff; would be a great idea of the "American Dream". V.S. the newage thing of completing college for a certificate which kinds keeps us "youth" focused on something but can be pricey. Otherwise if was something real sounds kool though.
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