- Mike Nudelman/Business Insider
Serial entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” investor Robert Herjavec has seen his fair share of young people go down one of two paths: They drop out of school to pursue the venture of their dreams, or dig themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt by attending a private university.
Herjavec says his best financial advice for people in their 20s is to avoid taking on too much risk or debt by following the middle path. He encourages them to consider state school as an alternative.
“A state school is as good as a private school,” Herjavec tells Business Insider.
Plus, Herjavec says, it can save young people boatloads of money.
We spoke with Herjavec while he was participating in a hackathon for kids, called “Invent-athon,” at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. It’s part of Frito-Lay’s Dreamvention contest, which will award $250,000 to the dreamer – age seven and up – who comes up with the best invention. (They need only submit a drawing to apply.)
Herjavec attended the University of Toronto, a public research university, where he majored in English literature. He worked as a newspaper deliveryman and waiter in his youth and was able to pay his way through school. He graduated in 1984 with zero debt.
The student debt crisis has reached new heights in recent years. In 2015, the average undergraduate borrower wound up with $30,100 in loans, up 4% from the year before.
As a freshman at U of T, Herjavec found college to be incredibly boring. He decided to drop out, until his father threatened to “bury [him] in the backyard” if he followed through.
Herjavec tells Business Insider he thinks budding entrepreneurs should attend college if it’s within their means. Plenty of young people drop out in the hopes of becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs, and wind up penniless with their startup dreams crushed.
Herjavec gave this advice: “Don’t plan on being an anomaly.” Only so many make it.