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Musk was answering a question from one audience member who asked how Musk thinks colleges and universities can make education more affordable and accessible, especially for underprivileged students.
"Well, first of all, you don't need college to learn stuff, OK?" Musk began. "Everything is available, basically for free. You can learn anything you want for free. It is not a question of learning."
He said the "main value of college" is its ability to teach young people how to work hard at tedious tasks like homework and "soldier through and get it done," adding that it also has value for students who want to "hang out with people [their] own age for a while instead of going right into the workforce."
"College are basically for fun and to prove you can do your chores, but they're not for learning," he concluded, earning laughs from the crowd.
The billionaire engineer has previously expressed the opinion that college is not necessary or right for everyone, including future Tesla and SpaceX workers. In 2018, he said, "I don't give a damn about your college degree."
As recently as Feb. 7, Musk said he was looking for people to join his team of AI engineers, and when a Twitter user responded to the tweet asking if a Ph.D. is necessary to get the job, Musk replied, "A Ph.D. is definitely not required."
"All that matters is a deep understanding of AI [and] ability to implement NNs in a way that is actually useful (latter point is what’s truly hard). Don’t care if you even graduated high school," he continued.
Musk paid his own way through undergraduate school after coming to the United States at age 17 and later dropped out of graduate school at Stanford with "$110k in college debt" before starting his own website and building his career from there, he explained in a June 2018 tweet.