Small Business

Thiel Foundation Gives 20 More Students Money To Drop Out Of College

20 Students Get $100K Each To Drop Out

Peter Thiel has lured yet another group of young kids out of college into the startup world.

On Thursday the billionaire venture capitalist's Thiel Foundation announced its third class of fellows.

These 20 college students will receive $100,000 each to start a business. As part of the program, the students cannot work or be enrolled in school, but instead will receive mentoring with other young entrepreneurs, scientists and experts to help them develop their ideas over a two-year period.

This year's group of fellows includes a former fashion blogger, several video game designers, a Harvard dropout and a researcher in virology. Fellows also come from a number of countries around the world, including the United States, China, Germany, India and Canada.

Facebook's first investor and the co-founder and former CEO at PayPal, Thiel has been criticized for taking students out of school with the promise of startup riches. But students are already forgoing college to launch companies: Earlier this year, Stanford's computer science program saw an unprecedented number of students leave to build a stealth startup called Clinkle.

Thiel has countered that a college education doesn't mean success either. “You increasingly have people who are graduating from college, not being able to get good jobs, moving back home with their parents,” Thiel told the New York Times in an interview last year. “I think there’s a surprising openness to the idea that something’s gone badly wrong and needs to be fixed.”

While the Thiel Fellowship has launched some success stories since it was launched -- fellows have created 30 companies, and raised more than $34 million from outside investors -- not all attendees have made it, at least financially.

Last year, Inc. Magazine reported that only one in five of the fellows earned an income during the program while several have bounced around from project to project.

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