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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Alternatives to Uni

An anonymous reader writes: University seems to me to have four major aspects: learning, helping to get jobs, networking, and as a platform to get into research. Obviously, there are a lot of existing alternatives for networking and learning. Getting jobs also seems to have a few promising alternatives. I'm wondering however, is it possible to get paid to research without a degree? What alternatives do people have for the other aspects of uni?
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Ask Slashdot: Alternatives to Uni

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"If there isn't a population problem, why is the government putting cancer in the cigarettes?" -- the elder Steptoe, c. 1970