Came up with a fun idea over on the Facebook page today. If you're not inclined to use that omniscient data mining platform feel free to sound off in the comment section here.

If you went to college, post the years you attended what one year of tuition (independent of scholarships, grants, room & board, etc) cost during your tenure. Then look up what one year of tuition costs today and report the difference. I'll go first.

1997-1999 University of Wisconsin: $12,000 (one year out of state rate)
2015 University of Wisconsin: $26,660

That's a solid 125% increase in 16 years. It's ok though. I think wages and inflation went up about that much in the same timeframe.


  • coloradoblue says:

    Well I don't remember what I paid by semester but I do remember my (in state, public college) cost per credit hour.

    $8/hour when I started in 1970 and after a two year break $12/hour when I graduated – 12/1976.

    Worked part-time most of college, was also on the GI bill and lived rent free in the basement of a relative for most of this time and still had to get occasional handouts from my parents.

  • 1960-1964 — St. Michael's College — VT. Room, board, and tuition $1,850 — or $14,500 adjusting for inflation.

    Today's room, board, and tuition — $51,700

    An increase of 256 percent.

  • I'll play. This is brutal.

    University of California, Irvine (resident)

    1986-87: $1,404.50
    2015-16: $14,749.47

  • Arizona State University (resident)

    1997-2001: $2,800 (15 credit hours/full time)
    2015-2016: $10,284 (same)

    +267% increase

  • Holy hell.

    Wake Forest University, 1986-1990.
    Don't remember exactly, but under 10K/year.
    2015/16 tuition: $47,120.

  • Northern Michigan University (resident)

    2006 (start) – $5,858/year
    2009 (end) – $7,078.26/year
    2015 (current) – 9,619.76/year

    20.8% increase while in school, +64% increase from start to current, 35.9% increase from end to current.

  • University of Maryland;
    1984 – $800 tuition, $2500 room (dorm) + board (10 meals/week)
    2015 – $6,000 tuition, $5,000-ish room + board (cheapest meal plan)

    I'm paying tuition for the youngest child, and the big thing I noticed was the really crappy living conditions. A mold-reeking apartment built in 1970s housing 6 students per apartment: $6k/month (cumulative). Another joy; parking (1984 – 1988): $25/year. Parking (2015 – 2016): $500/year and if you're unlucky enough to get assigned (you can't choose where to park for $500, don't be silly) a parking lot near one of the sports temples, you have to move your car (where? it's all assigned parking) on game day or face a $125 ticket for inconveniencing the sports fan.

    In other words, you're screwed if you commute, you're screwed if you live on campus.

  • University of Arizona 1976-82

    One year full-time registration (resident) $450 ($1,996.04 adjusted by CPI to 32015 dollars), although by the time I graduated it was upwards of $1000 per semester. I graduated with about $2200 in student loans.

    Today: $9299 per year.

    Of course 1974 was the peak of higher education funding in Arizona, it's now less than a third of what it was back then.

  • The Jack of Hearts says:

    Timely to your topic, this morning I received an email from the president of the college I'm transferring to this fall. Here's the first paragraph:

    "I hope you are enjoying the summer. I am writing to you today regarding an important change we have made to our academic requirements in response to legitimate concerns about the cost of higher education. Effective September 1, 2015, we are reducing the number of credit hours required to receive an undergraduate degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) from 132* to 126."

    This is a reduction of $8,628.00 in tuition for an undergraduate degree. Annual tuition for 2015-16 (based on 30 credit hours) is $43,140. I'm wondering what triggered this decision, if perhaps they have lost students to other schools that are less expensive or require fewer credit hours for an undergrad degree.

    If you're inclined to include 2-year/community college data, I attended Grand Rapids Community College up to 2007, paying around $60/contact hour. In 2015 it's $106/contact hour (in-state resident). This is a 43% increase in 8 years.

  • Wittenberg University: 1979 – 1983: $13,500 (as I recall)
    Wittenberg University: 2015: $37,320
    176% in 35+ years
    (Graduate school is just a blur.)

  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale:

    1989: $1,903 ($3,662 today)
    2015: $12,251

    Good god, can that be right? $12K+ to go to SIUC today?

    Transferred to University of Michigan
    1991: $12,446 (out of state, $21,806 today)
    2015: $41,906

  • Avoiding the question but would like to add.

    One quarter of tuition at Ohio State in '78. Under $300.

    One 19" color television in 1978. $400

  • Nora Carrington says:

    Smith College, Northampton, MA, 1973-1978

    (I withdrew mid-year my senior year and redid it all the next year)

    $5000/yr; pretty sure it was the same all 4 years but I could be wrong about that. It was definitely $5K 1977-1978 because I paid that entire nut myself; my parents paid for the first 4 years.


    Within the last ten years when people started griping about college tuition I kept my mouth shut because I thought people were being whiny entitled jerks who lived in families who needed too much stuff. $5K was my mother's salary during the years I was in college. Her salary put the kids through school, my dad's paid for everything else. At the time this started becoming part of the conversation the little Ivies and seven sisters school, like Smith (and Williams and Amherst, etc.), were charging about $35k. That was a typical salary of someone like my mother. College educated, little work experience, the 2nd income for a lower to middle class family. Suck it up, I thought to myself; you don't need 5 televisions and a car for every kid and too many clothes to put in your closets, etc. (My dad was an NCO; he didn't make very much more than my mother did). But that same woman — or man — can't make $64k a year, now, so while I still think I'm right about the $35k ten years ago, there's something definitely out of whack now.

  • ms. ann thrope says:

    University of Washington, resident

    1966-1970, tuition only–$345 (as in three hundred forty-five)/ year, yes that's right, 3 quarters @ $115/qtr full credit load

    now, tuition only–$31,584

    good god almighty

  • UW-Madison, 1992-1996 in-state resident (eat your heart out, Ed!)

    Averaged just over $2,000 / year ($3100 in today's dollars)
    Nowadays: $10,415
    420% increase in 19 years (336% in today's dollars)

    Those were awesome years to be a Badger; I took an extra semester to graduate so I could take more classes in my major. Oh, well, at least my awesome professors are getting all that extra loot now and their hard work is being rewarded by the governor with extra funding for pro basketball and less security.

    My folks (a social worker and a staff payroll accountant) covered my first three years, then I took care of the rest via loans. I paid them off within 8 months of getting my first job. As with everything else in this world, timing is everything. I'd be screwed nowadays.

  • Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA

    $5,455 over three quarters


    I'll go ahead and mention the price of student housing as well since it's mandatory for freshmen to live on campus: $2,730 for a dual occupancy dorm room, or since dorm rooms are like unicorns now $5,145 for a 9-month apartment lease, payable in three easy installments of $1,715/qtr. Don't forget the meal plan, which is mandatory for on-campus students and therefore mandatory for freshmen: $2,940, which gets you 15 meals/wk and $150 in compWHOOPS campus scrip. Don't forget books, either. I paid $300 for a calculus book that I didn't even crack open until second quarter, but we had to have it the entire first year.

    Double bonus lightning round!
    Northwest Louisiana Technical College, Minden, LA



    What a fucking scam.

  • I posted about it in a previous thread. This is it:

    Santa Clara University
    1984-88: Around $8-9K I think
    2014-15 school year: $44000

  • University of Minnesota Law School 1975-78 $4000/year
    Today $41,000

    Not worth a dime more than the original rate.

  • Berkeley '74 says:

    1973-74 U.C. Berkeley tuition $660
    2015-16 U.C. tuition $14,000
    20X increase

    One of my favorite subjects. I have a full accounting record of my 5 years in
    college 1969-74 , 1.3 years at Cal Poly SLO, 3.7 years at U.C. Berkeley, total cost, living and school, everything, 5 years $12,214. During same time, earnings during summer work and part time at school last two years, and Social Security parent death benefits ($126 to $169/month) total earnings $14,033 in 5 years.

    Finished school with $3,000 in the bank, enough to finance an 18 month hitchhike trip around North America from Alaska to Mexico. Actual school tuition was $660 per year.

    My diploma was signed by Ronald Reagan, who started tuition. Shortly before I started UC it was FREE – $0.00 ! 2015-16 Tuition only is now $14,000, estimated total living expenses brings a yearly total to about $30,000. Here is the difference, try to make $30,000 on part time and summer work in 2015-16 as a student. Doubt you can do that unless you work for daddy on Wall Street.

  • On a slightly different note, my Catholic high school back in the '50s was free. Today, tuition is $10,000 a year.

  • Berkeley '74 says:

    In this Reason interview:

    Ronald Reagan explains the need for tuition at U.C. is because poor people are subsidizing rich people and this is an unfair redistribution of wealth. This is near
    the end of page 2 in this 3 page WEB site. The paragraphs in quotes:

    Manuel Klausner from the July 1975 issue

    " REASON: Many students at universities are middle class or upper middle class and
    tax support means that a lot of the lower class/lower income people are paying for
    that education. Don’t you feel that there’s something immoral or unethical about
    redistributing wealth from the lower class up to the middle class.

    REAGAN: Yes. And I used that argument in my fight to get tuition in the University
    of California. I have to tell you about that fight with the University of California–they
    were very much opposed ! They wanted it kept totally free, as it had been.
    The tuition I was proposing was less than 10 percent of the actual cost of
    educating the student–which is more than $3,500 now, and at that time
    was roughly $3,000. I was proposing $300 tuition–and I used the exact same
    argument you’re using. Finally, tuition was instituted.

    But, I had always said that tuition should never be a block to anyone getting
    an education who could not otherwise afford to go to the university. I fought
    for a plan that would have allowed the financially needy student to defer
    until after graduation all or part of his tuition. And the same university
    administration that had fought me and did not want tuition at all, fought me
    equally hard on deferred tuition and did not want that benefit for the students !"

  • University of Antwerp (Belgium, Europe)
    Applied Economics

    400 euro/year

    890 euro/year

  • My pissy little private college cost $9300 ($16500 today's dollars).
    Now it costs $36000.

    This would be fine EXCEPT for as Nora observed, wages have gone backwards. $35k then would be ~$61k today. There's your problem right there. At $15/hr it only comes to ~$30k/yr. The minimum wage at the time was $4.25 (~$7.45).

    So there's really no way to get out of debt peonage anytime soon. Far better to go become an electrician or other tradie. Far less debt to start with. I've had a far better ROI on my TAFE course than my degree. It was less than 1/4 of current dollar value.

  • University of Edinburgh, Scotland, 1996-2000: £0.

    2015: Still £0 for residents of Scotland, £1820 per annum for other UK residents. (About $2840 at current exchange rate.)

    It's ranked 36th best university in the world, one place ahead of UC Santa Barbara. But obviously it's important to charge students a six-figure sum for their educations, because reasons.

    (Yes, I am well aware that I'm a lucky bastard.)

  • HoosierPoli says:

    Indiana University, 05-09 – about 8,000 (in-state)

    Now – 10,388 (in state)

    Isn't it funny how a 30 percent hike over six years seems almost reasonable these days?

    By the way, my wife:

    University of Leipzig – 500 Euros/semester

    Now – 0 Euros/semester

  • Penn State, in-state rate.

    1963: $525 (lowered to $450 the following year)

    2015: $16,572

    Of course, we had to make do with far fewer assistant deans. It's also possible the president at the time was making somewhat less than the $6 million the current guy stands to rake in by the time he completes his current term. Still, it's around $500K less per year than the current football coach makes.

  • Books! Don't get me started on them! My most expensive book in the 1980s was a $70 Calculus 2 book. One of my kids used an updated version of that book; $600. WHY is a book used in dozens of universities $600? Then there's the "online books": $120 buys you some loose pieces of paper, one of which gives you a login and password to get access to the online content.

  • Will look up where I got my BA latwr, but I paid cash for a semester of Community College in 1982. I don't mean I wrote a check, I reached in my pocket and pulled out $300 in cash and counted it out on the spot.

  • @Sluggo; a friend of mine was paying $8/credit hour in the early 1980s in California. I believe you that you pulled cash out of your pocket to pay for your semester of school.

  • Harvey Mudd College, 1987-1991.
    Looking at , it appears that in 1988, HMC ran $11,100. Per it's now $50,368 (2015) .

    About 5.8%, annual increase…
    I don't know what the earning of HMC graduates has done during that time. It's certainly outpaced CPI inflation, but I doubt it's done so well… (The question is, how much has "luxury" money increased during that time…that above cost of living. I wouldn't be surprised if they line up, tbh.)

  • University of Detroit Mercy, class of 2001 (private Jesuit university)

    2000–2001: approx. $15,000/year (tuition only; I was a commuter)
    2015–2016: $37,920/year (tuition only)

  • Colby College, Waterville, Maine

    Annual average 2003-2007: about $38,000
    2015-2016: $61,370

    Bloody Nora….

  • If there ever was a time that institutions like colleges, universities, and similar organizations were operated for the benefit of those who used and paid for their services, that time is long gone.

    Now they're operated solely for the benefit (and enrichment) of the managerial class that runs them. If, along the way, they happen to educate or otherwise serve people, that's fine. But it's not an essential part of what administrators love to tout as their "mission, vision, and values."

    Higher education has become a racket.

  • University of North Florida, Florida resident

    2002-2005: ~$90/credit hour
    2015: ~$175/credit hour

  • One thing that's skewing all the percentages here is not correcting the original figures for inflation.

    For example, $12,000 in 1997 dollars is equal to $17,500 in today's dollars. Ed should have calculated the percentage increase from a base of $17,500 and not $12,000. So, the increase in tuition is 52 percent — which is still pretty hefty — not 125 percent.

    However, this could explain the reason for rising tuitions.

    University Bureaucracy as Organized Crime

  • Omaha University (now University of Nebraska at Omaha)

    1967: $ 360.00 + a few $ in fees.

    2015: $6007.50 + $1410.00 in fees

    I was a day student. I'm guessing that dorm/meal plan expenses are in the range of $4-5K/semester.

  • UC Berkeley (resident)

    1998 – 2002: $4000/yr
    2015: $14,000/yr

    I ran $4000 through an inflation calculator, and it comes out to about $5800 in 2015 dollars. So tuition now is still nearly triple what I paid. There's also the fact that while Berkeley was expensive in those days, it wasn't nearly as bad as it is now.

  • North Park College. Now it is North Park University.

    Started in 1983 tuition room and board was probably $6-7K. My and my folks out of pocket was $4500.

    Now, total costs are $34,000 a year.

    Holy crap. This has ripple effects throughout the economy. A young couple could easily have $200k in debt hanging over their heads after they get out of college.

    Someone please explain to me, how in the world are they are going to afford to buy my house from me when they are already paying a mortgage for school??? Now add in the grand a month that they got to spend for health insurance???

    Shocking to see what the Europeans are paying for school on this thread. Not a snowball's chance in hell that we can compete with them.

  • anotherbozo says:

    This has to win the percentage increase sweepstakes:

    1960-64: U. C. Berkeley tuition: FREE
    2015: $13,432.00

    In between those years, a lot of neocons and Tea Party whiners at work, beginning with lovable Gov. Reagan.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    All I know is that after 5 years at Marist College – a private Catholic school (though I'm not Catholic) – with my NY State Regents Scholarship, and Marist's doubling it, I walked out in 1981, about $3,000 in debt on a college loan.

    I worked several part-time jobs to help me pay my tuitio…
    Oh, hell, who am I kidding?
    Those jobs let me drink, smoke a bit of pot, and go chase women (I caught a few, too! :-)

  • While I don't have the faintest idea what my college tuition was (and fwiw, almost all the 'colleges' of my youth are now 'universities'), one thing I was struck by recently (as the older boy is now heading off to grad school) is the possible change in that regard. Both my wife and I – sturdy middle class stock that we were – got significant financial aid in the form of assistantships. As I recall, most of the grad students in our relative programs (biology and math, essentially) got some form of assistantship. This was at a big state university, mind you. Neither my son nor his girlfriend were offered such a thing; apparently assistantships have been largely replaced by 'student loans'.

  • Kettering University (Formerly GMI)
    Start date 2004: $20,044 ($25,322 in 2015 dollars)
    End date 2007: $24,908 ($28,668 in 2015 dollars)
    2015: $35,600

    40.5% Real increase since I started, 24.2% increase since I finished.

  • @quicksand: I went to UC Irvine in 1981, tuition was about $1000 for a year. I currently work at a large state U., they're pulling in hundreds of millions in gifts and endowments and tuition is still jacking up. It's insane.

  • Hunter College (1985-87): $685/semester
    Today: $3400/semester
    In the 1980's, Hunter (part of the City University of NY system) was a completely commuter school. They now have very limited dorm space; it is still 95% commuter attended.

  • …I should add that those of us who actually work are seeing our benefits chipped away while getting the "Do more with less!" treatment.

  • Augustana College (IL)

    2005-2009: ~$24,500-~$29,000
    2015: $38,400

    An increase of 56% in 10 years. What's crazy is that in the last 6, the rate of increase has itself continued to increase.

  • Correcting the above for inflation:

    Ohio University, Athens, OH
    In-state (resident) tuition:
    1985-1986: $664 per term x 3 terms == $1,992
    ($1,992 of 1985 dollars would be worth: $4,387.67 in 2014)
    2015-2016: $5,774 per term x 2 terms == $11,548

    So $4,388 to $11,548 == 266% increase, I believe

  • sheila in nc says:

    Comprehensive fee at Princeton University (tuition, medical insurance, use of library, infirmary and laboratories) for 1972-73, my freshman year: $3050
    = $17,412.58 in 2015 dollars.

    Princeton University tuition and fees for the 2015-2016 school year, not including room, board, books and other expenses: $41,820

  • 1986 Illinois Institute of Technology – $15,000 +/- per year ($32,400 now adjusted)

    2015 Illinois Institute of Technology – $54,980 plus expenses

    Almost 70% rise above adjusted cost.

  • Allentown College (Desales University today)
    1989 tuition $5500 + 1250 room & board (today's dollars $13,153.36)


    Tuition $32,000
    Room and Board $12,050
    Mandatory Fees $1,550
    TOTAL $45,600

  • University of Vermont 1974-1977 – in
    1977 out of state Tuition + Room and Board = $4,870
    or $19,178 in 2015 dollars

    2015 for the same = $48,654

    Child 1, URI = $45K / year – graduated 2011
    Child 2, Wesleyan = $62K – graduated 2015
    Child 3, BC = $64K – graduated 2015
    Child 4, BC = $66K (she's the youngest, 3 years to go)

  • Steve in the ATL says:

    Meanwhile, I have two kids in private colleges right now. I have never been so poor in my life.

  • Posted on the FB thread but here goes:
    University of Montana In-State 1994-1998
    1998 $2,630
    1997 $2,579
    1996 $2,437
    1995 $2,008
    1994 $1,817

    2015 $4373

  • Freecookies says:

    1.) Either higher ed tutition will come down to be in line with what wages and inflation are

    2.) Wages and inflation will go up to be in line with what higher ed tuition is

    I await your choice. Yes, you have to choose, you can't just kick the can down the road.

  • Carleton College, Northfield, MN

    1974 Comprehensive Fee: $4,000

    2014 Comprehensive Fee: $60,000

    Current Retirement Plan: Sell Diploma on E-Bay with complimentary bottle of White Out.

  • I went to Ursinus College, a SLAC near Philadelphia, that was profiled in the NYT for dramatically raising its tuition in 2000 in order to attract more (and better) applicants. They also increased financial aid. The ploy worked, at least in the short run, and they've clearly kept up the trend. Tuition doubled in 15 years, increasing about $1600, or 5-7%, each year.

    2000 Tuition: $23,460
    2015 Tuition: $47,500

  • postcaroline says:

    I went to Antioch College, a private liberal arts college, from 2000-2003. Interestingly, the costs then are, adjusted for inflation, roughly the same now: I paid about $30,000 a year, which today is $41,000. Tuition and board today is $44,000+. That being said, the College did close for a few years. It's a long story. The current class is largely supported by scholarship money.

    As for me, my undergraduate education was heavily subsidized by financial aid, but I did take out about $25,000 in loans over a 3 year period. Today I have $48,000 in student loan debt for undergrad, master's, and PhD degrees. The kicker: working two part-time temporary jobs with no benefits. Man, I wish I went to trade school.

  • @Chautauqua

    My freshman year at Carleton

    1983 Comprehensive Fee: ~$15,000 (36,000 in 2015 dollars)

    Our class took a vow to never give to the college until divestment in South Africa was achieved. Since then, I have assiduously avoided any news about South Africa :)

    But I do get a very nice calendar free of charge every year.

  • Shane in SLC says:

    Northwestern University, 1990-1994: $14,000 / year
    Northwestern University, 2015: $47,000 / year

  • Seattle Pacific University. If I remember correctly, tuition my freshman year (1978-79) was about $2700. Tuition for 2015-16 is $36,684!

  • All figures include room & board unless otherwise noted…

    University of Notre Dame 1984-85: $12,000/year. Now $57,000.
    Indiana University-South Bend (tuition — it was strictly a commuter school back then): $1,500. Now $6,200.
    Lake Forest College 1986-88: $13,000~$14,000. Now $49,000.

    The fact that four years of college can cost upwards of quarter of a million dollars blows my mind. There's no way anyone other than the very rich can afford it without taking on crippling debt.

    Oh yeah — I guess that's the whole point nowadays.

  • Man. Send your children to school in New Zealand. International fees are NZD2738 a course at first year (8 courses/year is full time), 3652 per course at 3rd year (6 courses/year is full time). NZD is bad vs USD at the moment, so the 2738 is 1789USD.

    For local students, it is 700/933NZD a course. So 5600/year. 3660USD

  • I recall the in-state tuition per semester for only my first year at ASU, 1983 – 1984: $430/semester ($1030/semester in 2015 dollars). I can't recall the various fees on top of that.

    2015 tuition per semester, excluding other fees: $9484, an increase of 820% over 32 years. (With other fees: $10,478) My degrees were in music; there is no way I could justify to myself (let alone my family) spending $20,000/year on a music degree unless I were a prodigy, and even then …

    "Impractical" degrees must be choking on the vine these days. (Sociology? Psychology? History? Geography?). We need all the smart people with perspective we can get, but unfortunately, conservatives hate those people.

    At the time (1980s), the business school at ASU seemed to me a wretched hive of villainy and scum. I imagine it's worse these days.

  • Nancy the math teacher says:

    Happens I still have the catalog, so I know that in 1989 (I'm Class of '90), California residents did not pay tuition at UCLA, but did pay fees, including an "Education fee", for a total of $1635 per year. Nonresidents paid $5799/year. Today the fees do include tuition and total $13,251 for California residents and $49,846 for nonresidents. It costs eight times as much now as it did when I graduated. I think I got quite a bargain as I graduated with no debt. The situation for students today is very different.

  • Duke University

    1986-87 – ~$14,000
    2015-16 – $47,650

    If I remember correctly, by the time I got to senior year, it was up to about $18k for the year.

    I did graduate with debt, but not crushing debt.

  • Private liberal arts college in the midwest:

    1997 tuition: ~17,100
    2015 tuition: ~46,500 (172% increase; 5.7% annual average)

    The trustees had made an effort in the 90s to keep tuition down, but after I left decided that the low price made them look bad relative to peers and hiked both the price and aid amounts.

  • @Scepticus: I've got one kid in undergrad right now, and one in grad school who just finished undergrad, and here's my perspective; the "unprofitable" majors are still getting students through bullshit "diversity" classes.

    Back in the 1980s, the same state school my kids are attending had very few requirements to graduate: courses were split into 4 disciplines–Math/Science, Social Sciences (History, Psychology, Sociology, etc.), Foreign Language, and Humanities (English, Linguististics). To graduate, each student had to pass English 100 (English Composition)/get AP credit/CLEP out of English 100 *and* take classes 3 out of 4 disciplines. In my case, my Comp Sci major took care of Math/Science, qualifying for and taking 3rd-year Spanish took care of Foreign Language, and I took a smattering of English and Linguistics for the Humanities, skipping Social Sciences entirely. Of course we had to take several semesters of mandatory gym classes to prop up the athletic department.

    Now? I have no idea how the kids keep track of it all. They're taking classes in every discipline, and if your major is X, then some classes count as gen ed…but if your major is Y, then completely different classes count as gen ed.

  • Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen
    Studentenwerksbeitrag 1996: DM 53,-
    Studentenwerksbeitrag 2015: EUR 107,- (390% increase)

  • University of Michigan 95-99
    Out of State $17,671 – $19,761

    Adjusted for 2013 inflation-
    $27,012 – $27,632

    Current Out of State Tuition: $43,476 64% inflation adjusted increase.

    I have twin girls who are current 2 years old. I don't think I can save enough to pay for their future college tuition without selling body parts or winning the lottery, even with my "valuable" UM degree.

    As a side note, I finished an online MBA program from UMass (snicker away, Ed) and it cost me $28k. Compared to what it would have cost me to stop working and go full time to grad school, an absolute bargain.

  • Suffolk University 1997 – 98
    $12,500 (including room/board)
    2015: $48,448

    Almost 50 grand a YEAR for a tier two (at best) college. I had to drop out because of cost after my first year, I can't even imagine how I would swing it these days.

  • The is fun/depressing.

    Clark University (SLAC)
    Tuition 1987-88: $10,300 (but I received a grant of $5K)–$21,887 adjusted for inflation
    Tuition 2015-16: $41,590

    So, when my daughter graduates high school in 10 years, tuition will be over $70K per year? Yikes…

  • Doing some unrelated research, I found a bill from Haverford College from 1923, charging $265.84 for a semester, which the internet tells me is $3,709.91 in 2015. Current cost (according to Haverford's website) $64, 216.

  • Katydid – while at UC Berkeley in the early 1980s, I was living in a co-op house with a lot of Engineering majors. One of them asked me what a History major had to take. After, he exclaimed, "My God, you're majoring in my breadth requirements!"

    The idea of a student in a "practical" major being obligated to take courses in impractical disciplines to enforce intellectual discovery and enlightenment is probably unpopular these days.

    My "educational fees" were paid by the State, but there were plenty of other ways for to mulct me.

  • UCLA:
    1994 $3,400 in state tuition per year
    2015 $15,000

    I vividly remember wondering how in the world I was going to scrape together the money to pay my final quarter's tuition and then finding out that I was getting grant money to pay for most of it, which was totally unexpected and a complete lifesaver. I lived in a rent control apartment in Santa Monica, two blocks from the beach, that I paid $465 a month for (rent control was finally jettisoned a year after I graduated in what used to be known as The People's Republic of Santa Monica). I worked almost full time as a waitress and I didn't take out any student loans the entire time I was in college except for the year I spent in Florence, when I borrowed $7,000. I worked in a bar while I went to school in Italy and was able to save enough money to travel Europe for two months after the end of the school year. I put myself through school with no help from my family, but I certainly would not be able to do that now. Having huge student loan debt would have completely changed my life. Yikes.

  • @Robert; taking a few courses in a wide swath of classes for self-improvement and world-opening is a great idea. Taking MANY MANY courses for the sheer sake of propping up a department is not. I had equal heartburn with taking multiple gym classes back in the 1980s just to support the school sports teams, for which I didn't care one whit. I paid to take aerobics and yoga classes on campus; those didn't count as gym credit because they were hosted by the Office of Residential Life. I played on my dorm's intramural rugby team; that didn't count as gym class, either, because it wasn't making money for the sports teams. Isn't that supposed to be the point of gym class; building an interest in physical activity that can be done lifelong? Being forced to stand in a field at 8 am waiting for a baseball to come my way at 20 years old did nothing to foster my love of exercise or was in fact any sort of exercise at all.

    I feel the exact same way about my school's mandatory "3 semesters of Calc for a Comp Sci degree". I've been a programmer nearly 30 years and have never once needed any Calc, much less three horrible semesters of it. The Comp Sci and Engineering majors are propping up the math departments.

  • @Sluggo, it may be different now, but when I was going through school, gym classes were never anything the vast majority of students actually were interested in doing. How many 40-year-olds are out there playing football? How many are professional baseball players? If the point of the exercise is to get people to enjoy exercise over their lifetime, they failed miserably. Nope, the point was to fund the sports teams.

  • All of these horror stories about the cost of higher education (or miseducation, take your pick) illustrate, yet again, how unlevel the playing field is for those whose families aren't in the position to pay $$$$$ of private college tuition or even the $$$$ of state college, per semester.

    I did have to chuckle when I read a piece about the Asian group that was complaining that although they represent 5.6% of the U.S. population, the Asian student population at Harvard was only 16.5% of those admitted, down from 20.6% in 1993.

  • Attended University of Illinois 1977-1981
    1977 freshman tuition= $496 (about $2000 in 2015 $)
    2015-2016 base tuition= $12036, numerous departments higher

  • The below is from the "Best 16 years of my life" post, in reply to a comment from "Joseppi" who used this:


    at the end of his comment.


    According to this:

    With interest rates that vary from a low of 3.17% to 11.49% for a student borrowing $57,500, on his won and one who won't start paying it back until after they graduate, they monthly nut would be in the range of $463.11 to $1,018.38* for 180 months. That's a nontrivial amount of money, anywhere in that range for someone who graduates with a BA or BS.

    Add an additional $138,500. for graduate loans @ low of 3.22% to a high of 10.61% and you're looking at another payment, for 180 months, at $1007.17 to $2005.34.

    These two loan amounts totalling $196K would require a net monthly payment of $1470.28 to $3023.72 for a grand total of $264,650.40 to $544,269.60**.

    The local BOCES program in Oswego County turns out people with apprentice/entry level skills in nursing, welding, auto body/engine repair, food service/culinary arts and other trades for lower overall costs and offers more financial assistance.

    Considering that plumbers, pipe fitters, welders and the like make a good deal more money than most teachers, for some number of years, I'd say that they are further ahead, all else being equal.

    You're free to disagree but pulling numbers out of the air won't win you any arguments here.


    * If my extensions from the first table on the page I linked to are correct.

    ** The totals are again assuming that my math is right, it's not my strong suit.

  • The Mad Dreamer says:

    Winona State University, 2007-2012. Tuition when I started was $7100 per year, according to the university it's still basically the same. The difference is in fees. Universities love to use their fees to get around the problem of a tuition freeze meaning they can't squeeze students more with tuition.

  • UC San Diego, 1983-1988, mandatory in-state fees of about $1,500 per year. This did not include room, board, books, or anything but the minimum you absolutely had to pay to be an enrolled student. During year one, I was an out-of-state student and received no aid but a $2,500 federally guaranteed loan with no interest until six months post leaving school. During years two through four, I received a Cal grant of $1,080 per year, which made my costs pretty reasonable. During year five, I received nothing, because the Cal grant people thought I should have graduated at the end of year four, which is understandable. I actually skipped fall trimester and worked full time, accumulating cash and reducing my costs by 1/3 that year.

    I have no idea what it costs now, but I suspect that the only students who can work their way through are those who work in the sex industry or the informal pharmaceutical sector.

  • I should clarify that I got the student loans in years two through four also, so I graduated with $10K in debt. It took me 11 years to pay it off, but I didn't pay it down aggressively, as the rate was low compared to my other debt.

  • Brian Ogilvie says:

    OK, I'll join in.

    I was at the University of Chicago from 1986 to 1990. After I was admitted, I remember receiving a letter indicating that the tuition for incoming students for the 1986-87 academic year would be about $11,000. That was $1000 *more* than it was for returning students. I think the justification was that their peer institutions were charging more. I got financial aid as a grant, so it didn't make a difference to my total cost.

    Tuition for the 2015-16 academic year is $49,026. That's an increase of nearly 350% in 29 years, or an average of 5.3% per year.

    In comparison, on-campus room and board have gone up from about $6000 to about $15000 per year, an increase of only 150%, or 3.2% per year.

  • Quincy University, Quincy, IL (private)

    Went there 1993-97, and I'm a bit hazy on the exact amount—I was lucky enough to get scholarship money—but the number $12K sticks in my head. That would be $18-20K in 2015 dollars.

    For 2015-16: $26K tuition, $37K including room and board.

    Not bad compared to some; sad that that's "not bad". Sigh.

  • University of Rhode Island

    1995 freshman year tuition + room and board (out of state) $15,810
    cost in 2015 dollars: $24,756.34

    Actual 2015 tuition + room and board (out of state) $42,692

    For increase of 173% in just 20 years. And it's a pretty shitty school, too.

  • It might be fair to note that there are an increasing number of colleges, (Chicago, Vanderbilt, Northwestern and many more) that are "needs blind". My daughter is a sophomore at Vandy, and with the sliding scale, we pay a tiny fraction of the total overall cost. I mean a TINY fraction.

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    @Mack: That's terrific, but most of the elite colleges that offer free tuition cap it at a parental income of, say, $100,000/year. In the Bay Area, that is hardly a high income for a family of three or more. If you make $100,001, you get zero. Nice.

  • Agreed that it isn't fair across the board, but it is encouraging and it does help many poor and middle class families.

  • @Mack: True, and I never meant to pooh-pooh a very helpful and encouraging program. I just wish it took into account the cost of living in various areas and slid down gradually as income exceeds the threshold. Otherwise, that dollar you earned above the cap just cost you $50K. :-)

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