Peter Thiel On 60 Minutes: $1 Trillion In Student Debt Is $1 Trillion In Lies About Higher Education

Mark Perry
updated | Author's Website

(CBS News) — “A billionaire’s program to pay students with promising ideas to drop out of college and develop those concepts for the good of all is attracting students and critics. Internet business pioneer Peter Thiel thinks his program is a viable alternative to what he sees as a largely ineffective university system where costs far outweigh benefits.  Morley Safer takes a look at the controversial program and the increasingly expensive university system that helped spawn it on 60 Minutes, this Sunday May 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET (watch preview above)
“We have a bubble in education, like we had a bubble in housing…everybody believed you had to have a house, they’d pay whatever it took,” says Thiel. “Today, everybody believes that we need to go to college, and people will pay– whatever it takes.” And that’s way too much these days says Thiel, when people without a degree can make as much as those with an advanced one. 
“There are all sorts of vocational careers that pay extremely well today, so the average plumber makes as much as the average doctor,” Thiel tells Safer. At a time when only half of recent college grads are employed full-time and tuition has quadrupled over the past 30 years, Thiel believes the system is broken and its promises are hollow. “I did not realize how screwed up the education system is. We now have $1 trillion in student debt in the U.S. Cynically, you can say it’s paid for $1 trillion of lies about how good education is,” Thiel says. 

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