Just How Cheap Was College “Back in the Day?” The Answer may astound you.
“Back in my day…”
Young people today hear that phrase all the time from the older folks still hobbling around. But these youngsters never stop to think: What was it like back in the day?
Well, I finally decided to take about five minutes to sift through history, and discovered why your parents or grandparents only had to work one summer, part time, and could afford a year of college tuition.
The reason is quite simple actually. Your parents or grandparents generation was just really uninterested in higher education. They were complacent. In fact, so many were complacent with the education they received in high school, that only about 40 % of Americans during the 1960–1973 time period attended college. This means that the government could, for once, properly fund higher education, even with it’s absurdly small education budget.
That, like all nice things in the world, didn’t last very long. That percentage of Americans attending college has only gone up since that time so long ago. The number of Americans enrolling in college now sits at a pretty ~21 million, as opposed to the ~8 million in 1973. That’s a serious improvement in Americans searching for higher education!
Sadly, though, with that improvement in statistics, there comes a rise in tuition as well. In the year 1973, one year of public university was ~$3,000 across the US — and yes, that IS in today’s dollar value, which makes me sad inside because if a year in tuition was still that low, I’d already be able to afford my first year in college, and I’ve only worked for four months!
Anyway, base college tuition for one year has now risen to ~$17,000, to meet the demand of higher enrollment, and is expected to keep on rising, just like the tide does from the melting ice caps.
But that’s a different Medium Article.
On that somewhat sour note, this article has come to a close. Thanks for taking time to read this. Here’re my sources…
The NCES Fast Facts Tool provides quick answers to many education questions (National Center for Education Statistics)…nces.ed.gov