PayPal Founder and Facebook Backer Peter Thiel on The Next Big Thing, and Why He Thinks College Isn't Worth It

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Peter Thiel Says Higher Education Will Be the Next Bubble to Burst

While some may scoff at his idea -- after all, Thiel does have a law degree from Stanford -- he said that pushing forward with your dreams at the right time can make all the difference.

"Facebook was started in 2004. That was the right time to start that company," he said. "If all the people had finished their college education and waited till 2006, it would have been too late."

Thiel's theory also happens to come at a poignant time. U.S. News and World Report said that people aged 20 to 24 entering the work force this year face an unemployment rate of 14.9 percent -- significantly higher than the overall unemployment rate of 9 percent. New York Magazine also said the worthlessness of a college degree was "one of the year's most fashionable ideas."

After correctly predicting the dot-com crash of 1999 and the housing market bubble in mid-2006, Thiel said he believes that higher education will be the next bubble to burst. According to a recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics, an estimated 65 percent of recent college graduates are burdened by student loans. The New York Times reported that total student loan debt is expected to surpass the $1 trillion mark by the end of the year.

"The price of education on a college level has gone up by a factor of more than 10 since 1980," Thiel said. "Adjusting for inflation, it's gone up by about 300 percent – more than housing and tech stocks did in the '90s, or housing in the 2000s."

Thiel's constant questioning of society's norms has made him the poster boy for Silicon Valley libertarianism -- the belief among many entrepreneurs that government hinders innovation. But he is far from the typical conservative stereotype. Openly gay, Thiel endorsed Texas Congressman Ron Paul for president in 2008.

"I probably am a bit of an outsider in many ways," Thiel said. "That has good things and bad things about it. It does have the tremendous benefit of forcing you to think about what's going on fundamentally with institutions, with our society and then look for ways to make them better."

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