Billionaire investing legend Warren Buffett says it would be a “tough consideration” if he were young today and deciding whether or not to attend college amid rising tuition costs and ballooning student debt. 

“I didn’t want to go to college that much when I got out of high school,” Buffett admitted to Yahoo Finance’s editor-in-chief Andy Serwer in a wide-ranging exclusive interview on March 10 in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Buffett, who already had success as a teenage entrepreneur and investor, reluctantly applied to the University of Pennsylvania to attend its undergraduate program at Wharton because of his father. Buffett eventually transferred from UPenn to the University of Nebraska, where he finished his undergraduate degree. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="In the U.S., there’s more than $1.6 trillion in outstanding student debt, while tuition costs have risen substantially.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”19″>In the U.S., there’s more than $1.6 trillion in outstanding student debt, while tuition costs have risen substantially. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The 89-year-old CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A,&nbsp;BRK-B), who’s amassed a net worth of $73.8 billion, acknowledged that college is “very expensive.”&nbsp;” data-reactid=”20″>The 89-year-old CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-ABRK-B), who’s amassed a net worth of $73.8 billion, acknowledged that college is “very expensive.” 

“Not only the four years but if I had to incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt, I don’t know which decision I would make,” Buffett added. 

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Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett poses with University of Nebraska cheerleaders in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, April 30, 2011, prior to presiding over the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett poses with University of Nebraska cheerleaders in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, April 30, 2011, prior to presiding over the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett poses with University of Nebraska cheerleaders in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, April 30, 2011, prior to presiding over the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Buffett emphasized that learning depends on the individual, not the school. 

“There’s a lot you can learn in those four years, and whether you do or not depends more on the individual. I don’t think it makes sense for everyone to go to college. And I’m not sure it made sense for me to go to college,” he said. 

After college, Buffett applied to Harvard for business school and was rejected. He enrolled at Columbia University in New York City after learning value investing pioneer Benjamin Graham was a lecturer. Buffett, who still spends most of his day reading, had finished Graham’s iconic book “The Intelligent Investor” at age 19.

Buffett said that when he arrived at Columbia for Graham’s class, he “already knew what he was going to say.”

Source: Yahoo Finance/David FosterSource: Yahoo Finance/David Foster
Source: Yahoo Finance/David Foster

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="[See also: Warren Buffett has two ideas for ending inequality]” data-reactid=”49″>[See also: Warren Buffett has two ideas for ending inequality]

“I mean, I read it. I understood. I mean, he was a very good writer. But it was inspirational. It was inspirational more than educational,” he said.

Famously absent from the walls of Buffett’s office at Kiewit are his degrees from the University of Nebraska and Columbia University. Instead, he has a certificate hanging from a Dale Carnegie public speaking course, according to the HBO documentary “Becoming Warren Buffett.”

“I spent three or four years, well, counting graduate school, four years, that I could have been doing other things. There were a lot of intelligent things to do then. Who knows. I don’t think it was essential,” he told Yahoo Finance.

Click here for complete coverage of Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway.Click here for complete coverage of Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway.
Click here for complete coverage of Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway.

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