Guillaume Dumas, a 28-year-old Canadian, participated in classes, partied and networked at Yale, Brown, Berkeley, Stanford and more — without paying tuition — from 2008 to 2012, he told Joe Pinsker at The Atlantic. He didn’t enroll. He dropped in.
For a few hundred dollars a month in living expenses, Dumas “reaped most of the perks of college: learning, partying, and meeting intelligent, like-minded people,” writes Pinsker. He didn’t earn a degree — or go into debt.
At 19, Dumas enrolled at a city college in his native Quebec “because that’s what everybody does,” he says. He started on a psychology degree, but wanted more.
“I was just sneaking into classrooms in literature and philosophy and poli-sci and even psychiatry,” he says.
He began sampling classes at Canadian universities, such as Concordia, University of Montreal and McGill, then tried Brown and Yale and later Berkeley and Stanford.
“A diploma starts to look a lot like a receipt printed on fine cardstock,” writes Pinsker. “It is proof not that one has learned something in college, but that one has paid for it.”
Dumas now runs a dating service for upscale singles, which provides an adequate income. “There’s never been so many career or business opportunities in the world that don’t require a proper diploma,” he says.
Some people would be better off “not paying tuition and keeping that money to travel the world and launch a business,” says Dumas. He estimates that 5,000 or 10,000 people could drop in to college without anyone noticing. “They will just disappear in the huge institution.”
My first husband attended graduate classes at Stanford without being enrolled. A professor hired him as a research and teaching assistant, though he was forced to lay him off after a year or so.