For example, not far away from where some of the Thiel Fellows lived and coded — is there a difference? — are the 27,000-plus undergraduates of San Jose State University. Many are first-generation college students for whom a college education offers a ladder to the middle class and a decent income. In contrast, Burnham’s parents boast about how a Thiel Fellowship offered their kid a “new kind of status symbol […] it said their son could get into Harvard but turned it down for something better.” It’s one thing to write about a group of young people who, after being accepted to Yale, Princeton, and MIT, decided not to attend. That’s their privilege. But when the message is that higher education is for chumps, worth neither time nor public investment … well, that’s a very different kind of privilege.