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The actual motivation of the Fellowship, which is all over the press and has been related to me by Thiel Foundation workers, is that students with great potential accumulate tons of student loan debt in college and subsequently, instead of taking on projects that might actually help the world, are financially pressured into working at hedge funds and the like

Surely kids as brilliant as these ones sound are getting full scholarships to college?

If you really want to test the hypothesis: that university is not worth the cost for people like the Thiel fellows then I reckon you'd need two groups. One drops out of university and gets $100,000 and extensive mentoring. The other group stays in university and still gets $100,000 and extensive mentoring.

> Surely kids as brilliant as these ones sound are getting full scholarships to college?

I see it's been a while since you went to college. Let me introduce you to a concept called "need-based aid:" it's virtually impossible to get a full-tuition scholarship at a top school based on academic achievement.

See also, market segmentation -- http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/CamelsandRubberDuckie...

I reckon you'd need two groups.

I agree. It's not really a valid experiment, which is why I said "might plausibly be" instead of "is", just to acknowledge some connection with the education bubble debate. Though two things to keep in mind for a valid experiment are that from the 100K for the second group would have to be subtracted the costs of university over two years (for me [mostly my parents actually] that's more than 100K), and that at good universities at least extensive mentoring is readily accessible. So it's a reasonable approximation at least.

Some of them have already finished college, one specifically was already in a phd program. From a fair testing perspective, it already fails. I'm not sure it had fair tests in mind, if testing is a goal.

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