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Personal Growth

$100,000 to Drop Out of College

Laura Deming, a 17 year-old undergraduate, was paid $100,000 by a California venture capitalist to leave her university. The offer is part of a bold business/education experiment.

What’s the Latest Development?

Laura Deming, a 17 year-old undergraduate student, recently left MIT to pursue a venture capitalist career in California. The child prodigy, who learned calculus at 11 and was helping perform genetic research at age 12, now looks for donors willing to back new research into curing age-related disease. A large part of Deming’s inspiration came from billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who is offering a select group of students $100,000 each to drop out of college. A small dilemma Deming faces is not being legally old enough to sign up investors. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Thiel’s anti-scholarship, if you will, is a bold business/education experiment following from his view that today’s higher education system is ball and chain which leaves students shackled with too much debt to strike out on their own. Receiving Thiel’s funds requires a two-year fellowship during which young individuals must promise to stay out of college. Some of Thiel’s chosen students have already seen success: Eden Full, 19, won $260,000 for her efforts to improve solar energy in developing countries.

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