Svati Kirsten Narula over at The Atlantic writes about the rising cost of college tuition these days and how students are forced to take on much more debt rather than simply work through college:
Follow-up comments compared the rising cost of academic credit at [Michigan State University] to changes in the federal minimum wage. In 1979, when the minimum wage was $2.90, a hard-working student with a minimum-wage job could earn enough in one day (8.44 hours) to pay for one academic credit hour. If a standard course load for one semester consisted of maybe 12 credit hours, the semester’s tuition could be covered by just over two weeks of full-time minimum wage work—or a month of part-time work. A summer spent scooping ice cream or flipping burgers could pay for an MSU education.
Not only has obtaining a college degree become more expensive relative to today’s wages, degrees have also become less valuable, though people with a college education still enjoy lower unemployment and better pay.