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Too Many Kids Go To College

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  • Peter Thiel on Higher Education

    Clip: Peter Thiel argues for the motion “Too Many Kids Go to College.”

  • Vivek Wadhwa on Higher Education

    Clip: Vivek Wadhwa argues against the motion “Too Many Kids Go to College.”

Debate Details


The herd mentality that assumes college is the only path to reaching one’s full potential is under fire. Student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt, unemployment for those with bachelor’s degrees is at an all-time high, and entrepreneurs like the founders of Facebook and Microsoft prove that extraordinary success is possible without it. But recent studies show that college is economically beneficial even to those whose jobs don’t require it. Is it still the best way to ensure social mobility, or is America’s love affair with higher education unjustified?

The Debaters

For the motion

Peter Thiel

PayPal Co-founder, Tech Entrepreneur, Investor & Philanthropist

Known as the mentor to the PayPal mafia of entrepreneurs, Peter Thiel is a leading advocate of young people exploring alternatives to a college education... Read More

Charles Murray

Author of AEI Article, Are too many people going to college?

A political scientist, Charles Murray is the author of two of the most widely debated and influential social policy books, Losing Ground: American... Read More

Against the motion

Henry Bienen

President Emeritus, Northwestern University

A member of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Economic Development and Planning Committee, Henry Bienen launched his career in academics at Princeton University... Read More

Vivek Wadhwa

Vice President of Innovations and Research, Singularity University

Vivek Wadhwa is Vice President of Innovations and Research at Singularity University; Fellow, Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance... Read More

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The Research

The Research

Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century

William C. Symonds
February 1, 2011

Our current system places far too much emphasis on a single pathway to success: attending and graduating from a four-year college after completing an academic program of study in high school. This paper makes the case for more diverse, robust pathways to careers and practical-minded post-secondary options.

Turn On, Start Up, Drop Out

Turn On
October 16, 2010

Hyper-libertarian Facebook billionaire Peter Thiel's appalling plan to pay students to quit college.

An Anti-College Backlash?

Professor X
March 31, 2011

The system has expanded in ways that industry always expands: by jacking up prices, putting money into public relations, and broadening the customer base by marketing even to customers dubiously served by the product.

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