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One in four self-made American billionaires dropped out of college

Illustration for article titled One in four self-made American billionaires dropped out of college

Bloomberg crunched the numbers on "self-made" billionaires in the U.S. and found that about a quarter of them were college dropouts. Ten of America's 43 self-made billionaires dropped out. One, Harold Hamm, never even attended college.


College drop-outs (estimated worth):

  • Sheldon Adelson dropped out of City College of New York ($36.4 billion)
  • Paul Allen dropped out of Washington State ($16.2 billion)
  • Andy Beal dropped out of Baylor University ($11.1 billion)
  • Michael Dell dropped out of University of Texas ($15.3 billion)
  • Larry Ellison dropped out of University of Chicago ($52 billion)
  • Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard ($81.6 billion)
  • Jan Koum dropped out of San Jose State University ($7.5 billion)
  • Thomas Peterffy dropped out of an unspecified university ($6.4 billion)
  • Jack Taylor dropped out of Washington University ($11.4 billion)
  • Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard ($33.1 billion)

Of those who graduated, the University of Pennsylvania has produced the most self-made billionaires currently alive in the U.S. Four billionaires, including Charles Butt, Steve Cohen, Elon Musk, and Ronald Perelman all got their degrees from Penn.


Next in line is MIT, producing three self-made billionaires: Charles Koch, David Koch and Jim Simons. Princeton also produced three: Jeff Bezos, Carl Icahn, and Eric Schmidt.

Harvard graduated Steve Ballmer and George Kaiser. Yale graduated Steve Schwarzman and John Malone.

The other self-made billionaires on the list include George Soros, Ray Dailo, Len Blavatnik, John Paulson, Jim Goodnight, Pierre Omidyar, Phil Anschutz, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Richard Kinder, Warren Buffett, Phil Knight, Rupert Murdoch, David Tepper, Charlie Ergen, Donald Bren, John Menard Jr., Patrick Soon-Shiong. If you'd like to know where these men went to school you can check out Bloomberg.

And one self-made American billionaire stands alone as never having attended college at all: Harold Hamm, the oil tycoon worth an estimated $20.2 billion, most well known for developing the Bakken formation that stretches through North Dakota and into Canada. Hamm is currently in divorce proceedings which could potentially result in the largest divorce judgement of all time.


Image: Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook f8 conference in San Francisco, April 30, 2014 via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Another way of looking at this is that 3 out of 4 or 75% DIDN'T drop out. Seems like the more responsible way of looking at it although your way makes for a more interesting headline. Looking at the data, college still seems like the best route to becoming a billionaire, no?