Peter Thiel is offering up a pretty sweet deal. He is providing 24 students with $100,000 in order to begin to build the technology companies of tomorrow. The catch for these teenagers all under the age of 20: they can't attend college for the next two years.
Despite offers from Harvard, Stanford, and MIT, these students are circumventing the traditional education track and choosing to pursue their business prowess - without a higher degree. While I won't speak to what this means for higher education, business, or technology, I will say that I see this fellowship as a fantastic opportunity for career exploration. Regardless of the success of their projects, this opportunity will allow these fellows to gain practical real world skills, while "trying on" a career. These students, who are essentially the creme de la creme of their generation, are, through this two year fellowship, going to explore aspects of business, technology, and industry that they might not otherwise have had access to at this early stage in their career and educational development. I'd hope and expect that this experience will not make these students abandon their collegiate plans altogether, but rather allow them to embark on their studies more informed, more concentrated, and that much more driven.