Economy · Education Would you take $100,000 to forgo college? Eric Ringham May 31, 2011, 5:00 AM May 31, 2011 25 comments One of the founders of PayPal is giving 24 people under age 20 $100,000 to skip or quit college and start a business instead. Today’s Question: Would you take $100,000 to forgo college? ‹ Older Who do you think about on Memorial Day? Newer › Will the report of a possible cancer risk from cell phones change your habits? Browse by category Education Health Economy Politics/Government Culture Religion/Ethics Science/Technology Transportation Race/Gender Environment/Energy Security International affairs Immigration Media Military About the blogger Eric Ringham firstname.lastname@example.org Audrey No way. Jen Yeah. Why not. Take the chance, if it doenst work out, then go to school…. No brainer… matthew No, knowledge is an invaluable power. Alison Sure. But listening to the discussion last week on this topic, it seemed to me that this is best suited for those who came from background where college educations were the norm. Being a first generation college grad I had no idea what careers or possibilities were out there when I finished high school. I was simply never exposed to the world of business or science or anything other than retail or building trades. I had no network of connections. There is no way I could have found my career without college. Nick I would not have accepted $100,000 then, and I wouldn’t today either. The college experience was a life-changer for me, and it helped me find a dream job. Zeke Unless a standardized test delves into a candidate’s psychology, there is no proxy for a college degree in signaling that a person has attained some level of mental and social development (regardless of actual learning). I think it is this traditional outlook that underlies the push to make college available to as many students as possible, and it is this outlook that underlies the income disparity between graduates and non-graduates. Rich Once upon a time, clever kids from working class families became great auto-mechanics and carpenters. Now, clever kids from working class families become lawyers, and no one can find a decent auto mechanic or building contractor. Are we better off ? GaryF Interesting question. Before or after tax? After tax, maybe, before taxes, heck no. I’m all for encouraging young people to become risk taking capitalists instead of encouraging them to become socialists. I’m not sure if an 18year old kid is mature enough to handle the real world. Besides the classes you take in college their is a lot of growing up to do in college. Malik The range covered by “bachelor’s degree” is so vast as to make the term meaningless. There really is a difference between education and training. There is an even bigger difference between getting an education and getting a degree. The US schools are credential mills for the most part; learning is a side effect. GaryF Oops “there” not “their” Brandy Owning your own business is one of the few jobs left which really doesn’t require a college education. If a person has the drive to provide good customer service and has a strong work ethic, she or he can make it big. Case and point – a man I graduated with started a small D.J. business while we were still in high school. He’s expanded upon his business time and again. He’s now one of Minnesota’s premier wedding business owners. Philip Probably, especially at that age. Education is pushed on our society as though you’ll die if you don’t have a college degree. I did eventually get my bachelors, but far more interesting was how my mother used to hound my wife and I about going beyond our associate degrees 15 years ago and finishing the bachelor program. At that time, and for the next 10 years, we were the only two people in our family who were working in our respective fields of study, even if we only had our associates. I am also reminded of the public disgrace that Lisa Nowak and Bill Oefelein brought upon themselves a few years back with an affair that went bad. They were astronauts, and among the most educated people in our society. Yet, their educations weren’t the magic cure for doing wrong. When we’re tempted to say education is the key, we would do well to remember these two. There are countless other examples. BJ As someone without a degree I would say heck yes. I have started 3 businesses if I had capital of that amount I’m sure that one of them would have been huge. Sometimes a person is ready at 17 or 18 to build a business. We are talking about a select group of people that already proven they want to do somthing. It’s not like they are randomly picking people. bench While it is a great idea, after graduating with a Business degree I would say that my education would have made me a better business manager. So would I have taken the money? Possibly at the time, but looking at it now I would not. Dan No way. $100,000 would have been great, but I couldn’t do what I do now without a degree, and I love what I do. Steve the Cynic Hmm. A plutocrat is paying a select group of people to forego higher education. Presumably these are smart people who would actually learn in college. Makes sense to me. Plutocrats get their power from having the masses believe the lie that money equals well-being, and that the dollar value of one’s lifetime earnings is the chief measure of success in life. If too many people study things like philosophy, ethics, history, art, music, psychology, etc., that’s a problem for them. Happiness and contentment are bad for the economy. rose It’s a shame that people who are contemplating investment in post secondary education don’t do a cost / benefit analysis first! It’s a disgrace that colleges and universities see “butts in seats” as revenue potential rather than good to the communities they serve! It’s disturbing that the professions and associations have not held a higher level of skill, knowledge, attitude and behavior in selecting those who represent them! It’s wrong to focus only on the quality of “teaching” rather on the responsibility and priviledge of “learning”! To answer the question, the cost to our society and place in the world is greater than $100K per person! Ron Keep in mind that those with a four-year degree are still in the minority. Only about 30 percent of working adults (ages 25-64) have bachelor-level degrees and another ten percent of working adults have associate level degrees. That said, interesting question. Without a doubt, without attending college, I would not have the career I have, the home I have, the opportunities and frankly, some of the personal interests and odd questions that pop into my head because college exposed me to things I otherwise would have likely never sought. College was life-changing for me (grad school moreso). But I can certainly see where someone who is wants to start their own business would have wonderful opportunities with that kind of capital up front, which would certainly be the right thing for them personally and benefit their community in a number of ways. Joey Ah, no. My quality of life was too greatly improved by attending college. Paul Starting a business requires both financing and a good idea. When I was 19 I had neither. If someone had given me $100k to start a business, I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do with it. College helped with that – I learned a bit about running a business (and many other things about life) but still have no great entrepreneurial ideas. I’m not sure that either money or education can help generate those. Ron And this is worth consideration: http://pewsocialtrends.org/2011/05/15/is-college-worth-it/ DNA For the first 2 years, sure. kennedy Yes, though it probably wouldn’t have been an option for me. I had neither the drive nor the ability that these candidates have. They will learn as much from failure as they will from success. In either case, they will learn more than they would have in a classroom. I’ve forgotten the exact quote, but it goes something like “College is like a stream, it smooths stones and dulls diamonds.” Kevin VC No. Even if you were given 100,000 to goof around, maybe start a business, how would you SAFELY run it without TRAINING. Sorry, you still make more with a degree then that amount if you graduate by a factor of 10x. Plus the idea of ‘improving oneself’ is probably key to my ideals, I do not like the idea of not expanding one’s learning ever. Every opportunity is key to what I strive for. I would like to see that kind of money to ‘help’ those who could not make it due to life issues. There are too many brilliant people being left behind who ‘still’ hold the spark of genius and are now burdened with debt…. And our ever dwindling support from the government and PEOPLE has done more harm to the United Stated competing effectively then anything else. The constant cuts to students ability to afford college is beyond absurd. Tony It is unfortunate that the idea of “college” has been put such a pedestal. College is one of many ways to prepare yourself for something. But, it certainly should not be viewed as the preferred path for those that will obviously do well. And, more importantly, the idea of ‘not going to college’ has an undeserved taboo attached to it. This question really highlights how much our parent’s generation has equated the word “college” with “success”. In their experience, it is a major deciding factor on what career you can hope to attain. But that’s changed now. There are several ways to educate and train yourself. College is definitely one of those ways, but there are several things in life that just don’t warrant the investment. Those who end up taking the money are most likely not interested in going to college anyway, because they don’t see how it will benefit their plans.