College tuition is going up the walls.
A college degree is important for many reasons. College graduates usually earn more a year to support themselves and their families. They also have more job security and better career opportunities, especially since most high paying jobs require a bachelors at the minimum.
But it’s getting harder to afford a bachelors every year.
College Prices Then Versus Now At Yale
In 1940, college tuition at Yale was $50. Imagine that. $100 to $200 to get a college degree and a good job. Minimum wage was .30 cents then, which seems small. But with inflation, .30 cents then is now about $5.38 in 2019.
So, back then, everyone could get the education they deserved.
In 2019, tuition at Yale was $53,430 for undergrad and $42,100 for graduate school. Now, minimum wage varies between states, especially since some states have raised theirs. But since Yale is in Connecticut, I’ll use Connecticut’s minimum wage, which is $11 an hour. Now, $11 an hour is higher than most states, but is it enough?
$11 an hour doesn’t cover $53,430 a year. Most degrees are four years, so that can add up to over $213,720. Tuition also increases every year, so probably could add on a couple of thousand onto that. Granted, this is not including textbooks, which can range to over $100 per class. This also isn’t including housing (dorm, apartment, etc.), food, bills (credit card, car, etc.), and more.
The numbers are not adding up nicely.
There are cheaper colleges than Yale, of course, but this is one example with over 13,000 students.
What About A More Affordable College?
You can save money by going to a college in your state. At the University of North Texas (UNT) for example, tuition is about $11,490 if you already live in Texas. If you come from out of state, the tuition bill jumps up to $24,150, according to collegeboard.org.
Now, UNT is a good example, because it is one of the most affordable colleges in Texas. But the numbers still don’t add up. Tuition at UNT for four years, if you’ve already lived in Texas, is about $45,960. If you don’t live in Texas, it’s about $96,600. And that’s not including food (which is mandatory the first year of college), housing, bills, textbooks, etc. Also, keep in mind that Texas’ minimum wage is just $7.25 an hour.
So, if we do a math comparison…how different are they to each other?
At UNT, if you wanted to pay off your four-year student loans at $7.25 an hour, that’s 6,339 hours you’d have to work. Not including interest. At Yale, that’s 19,429 hours. But in 1940, it would’ve been just 667 hours of work to pay off a four-year loan.
How Long Does It Take To Pay Off Student Loans?
It’s taking longer than ever to pay off student loans. According to Forbes, a new poll announced that it “takes 18.5 years to pay off student loans,” even after the students have gotten jobs in their field and are away from minimum wage. Now, there are ways around it to pay student loans off faster, but that was the average they found.
When people mention that perhaps college tuition should be free. That we need to give more to the universities. That minimum wage should increase. There’s a reason. Ever thought about why universities raise their tuition so much?
“State spending cuts have forced public school tuition higher.” Which, in turn, passes the debt onto the students. Also, since more people want a college education now, the universities are needing to higher more and more workers even though they are not getting paid to hire more.
It’s becoming a quicksand mess that we cannot fix alone. We all need a degree, or at least some type of education, no matter how much it costs. But perhaps, if we spoke up enough about it and started raising our voices, we can find a way to change this college tuition tornado for good.