08/09/2012 12:10 pm ET

Peter Thiel's College Dropouts: One-Year Checkup |

Flickr: Fortune Live Media

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and prolific angel investor, sparked controversy last fall when he announced a fellowship giving 24 young adults $100,000 over two years to leave college and pursue entrepreneurship full time.

The mission behind the program: Rattle the default assumption that every young adult needs a college education. Thiel thinks that rather than spend four (or more) years acquiring a crushing debt load, creative talents should instead go directly into enterprise: "an inquisitive mind, rigorously applied to a deep-rooted problem, can change the world as readily as the plushest academic lab."