It's no surprise that Dale Stephens is taking a pass on the traditional college route. An unschooling "graduate" and the founder of UnCollege, a social movement that supports unschooling, the 19-year-old was never the college type. What's surprising is that entrepreneur Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal and early investor in Facebook, is paying Stephens $100,000 to skip higher education and start bringing his ideas to fruition.

It's all part of Thiel's "20 Under 20" program, which has awarded $100,000 grants to youngsters around the world who have bright, bold ideas worth developing. Thiel, a Stanford University graduate, thinks that many kids are wasting time, energy and money chasing degrees when they should be working on solutions.

From the Thiel Foundation website:

"Our world needs more breakthrough technologies,” said Thiel. "From Facebook to SpaceX to Halcyon Molecular, some of the world's most transformational technologies were created by people who stopped out of school because they had ideas that couldn't wait until graduation. This fellowship will encourage the most brilliant and promising young people not to wait on their ideas, either. The Thiel Fellows will change the world and call it a senior thesis.”
The Thiel Foundation recently announced this year's "20 Under 20" fellows, an impressive selection of teens already working in fields such as biotechnology, finance, education robotics and information management. Stephens plans to use his grant to build a platform called RadMatter that aims to revolutionize how we develop and demonstrate talent in the 21st century.

Check out the 20under20 website for more details about the next round of fellowship applications. 

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