Peter Thiel: “It’s A Mistake” To Think College Is “What Makes People Successful”

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“We have a society where successful people are encouraged to go to college,” said Peter Thiel during a 60 Minutes interview last night about a program he’s sponsored paying students to drop out of college. “But…it’s a mistake to think that that’s what makes people successful.”

Here’s the full segment:

I’ve written about Mr. Thiel’s efforts to change America’s thinking about higher education before.

We can talk about how government policy has distorted higher education markets, inflating the cost of education and diminishing the value of a degree, but we should remember that the policy was put in place to satisfy American obsession with higher education.

There is this assumption that the only path to prosperity and success is through college. That’s why you hear politicians talk all the time about wanting to send very American kid to college. But college is just one means to an end. There are a lot of ways to find prosperity, and running up 5 or 6 figures in student loan debt to get a college degree isn’t necessarily the best way. Or even a way.

America’s attitude about higher education, and the government policy that has followed it, has been great for the higher education industry. Employment for faculty – and even more so administrators – is high, and compensation is extremely lucrative and growing more so all the time. But it hasn’t been so great for America.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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