"20 Under 20" program pays students to quit school, start own company

April 13, 2011

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel is co-creator of the "20 Under 20" program, whose premise is to pick the best 20 kids under the age of 20 and pay them $100,000 over 2 years to leave school and start a company instead. The program aims to poke a hole in the higher education bubble, whose excesses, like those of the housing bubble, "were always excused by a core national belief that no matter what happens in the world, these were the best investments you could make." While controversial for many in the press, the program has been well received by plenty of students, their parents, and people in tech. Thiel received over 400 applications, most of which were from very high-end schools. TechCrunch says the program has a clear bias toward talent, and talent tends to be found in private universities. Thiel says that to start a new path, it makes sense to begin with people who have all the options. TechCrunch