A college degree can be an important gateway to employment, a career and a better standard of living. But a college degree does not equate to someone’s level of intelligence or talent. For those seeking the best workers or leaders, there is a plethora of intelligent, inventive people without degrees who should not be overlooked.

This list of college dropout billionaires is based on an annual ranking of the world’s wealthiest people compiled and published by Forbes magazine on March 11, 2009. The listed net worth represents the estimated value of assets less debt as of February 13, 2009. ┬áCollege dropout refers to a person who has dropped out from a college or university before completing his/her degree. Some of the world’s most famous and richest billionaires (including the second richest man in the world, Bill Gates) are college dropouts. The combined net worth of these dropouts is USD 246 billion. This list is not exhaustive.

The average net worth of billionaires who dropped out of college, $9.4 billion, is approximately triple that of billionaires with Ph.D.s, $3.2 billion. Even if you remove the world’s second richest man, Bill Gates, who left Harvard University and is now worth $59.0 billion, college dropouts are worth $5.3 billion on average, compared to those who finished only bachelor’s degrees, who are worth $2.9 billion. According to a recent report from Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research, 20% of America’s millionaires never attended college.

Rank
Name
Image
Business
Dropped Out At
Age
Net worth
1
Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Ford Motor Company
16
Dead
$188 Billion (in 2009 dollars)
2
Bill Gates
Bill Gates
Microsoft
19
53
$59 Billion
3
Larry Ellison
Larry Elllison
Oracle
20
64
$27 Billion
4
Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson
Las Vegas Sands Corp.
19
77
$26 Billion
5
Larry Page
Larry Page
Google
Graduated University of Michigan
35
$18.5 Billion
6
Kirk Kerkorian
Kirk Kerkorian
Tracinda
12
91
$18 Billion
7
Michael Dell
Michael Dell
Dell
19
43
$17.3 Billion
8
Paul Allen
Paul Allen
Microsoft
20
56
$16.0 Billion
9
David Geffen
David Geffen
Geffen Records
21
65
$6.5 Billion
10
Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs
Apple
18
53
$5.4 Billion
11
Richard Branson
Richard Branson
Virgin
16
58
$4.4 Billion
12
Takafumi Horie
Takafumi Horie
Livedoor
22
35
$3.6 Billion
13
Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren
20
69
$3.6 Billion
14
Subhash Chandra Goel
Subhash Chandra Goel
Zee TV
12
58
$2.3 Billion
15
Jerry Yang
Jerry Yang
Yahoo
Graduated Stanford
40
$1.9 Billion
16
Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook
19
23
$700 Million
17
Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons
DefJam
19
52
$340 Million
18
Matt Mullenweg
Matt Mullenweg
WordPress
18
25
$200 Million
19
Mahesh Murthy
Mahesh Murthy
Pinstorm & SeedFund
19
43
$200 Million
20
Jawed Karim
Jawed Karim
YouTube
21
30
$64 Million
21
Kevin Rose
Kevin Rose
Digg
21
31
$60 Million
22
Jaed Isaacman
Jaed Isaacman
United Bank Card
17
26
$50 Million
23
Kevin Sproles
Kevin Sproles
Volusion
18
26
$17 Million
24
Shawn Fanning
Shawn Fanning
Napster
19
28
$7.5 Million
25
Scott Wainner
Scott Wainner
ResellerRatings
20
26
$7 Million
26
Rob Benwell
Rob Benwell
Blogging To The Bank
18
23
$5 Million
27
Graham Langdon
Graham Langdon
Entrecard
19
21
$3.2 Million
28
Kristopher Tate
Kristopher Tate
Zooomr
17
20
$3 Million
29
Aaron Levie
Aaron Levie
Box.Net
20
23
$3 Million
30
Reed Caldwell
Reed Caldwell
ServInt
19
32
$2.5 Million

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