Archive for Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cost perspective

June 14, 2012


To the editor:

I would like to add to the comments of Richard Hardin (May 22) and George Taylor (June 2) on the costs of college education. In 1936, I was a freshman at Kansas State in the department of mechanical engineering. The total cost for the year was $400 (room, board, books, etc.) Great? Yes. However, I worked for minimum wage of 10 cents per hour drafting. The minimum wage is now 72.5 times that amount. Today’s equivalent cost for college would be $29,000 (72.5 times $400). Scholarships were few and, fortunately, no loans were available.

On my first job after receiving my B.S. degree, I earned a little less than $200 per month. In four years, I advanced to $400 per month. Today’s college students are better off than in the old days!


labmonkey 5 years, 10 months ago

Facts smacts. No need to bother with perspective. This generation and their helicopter parents need to whine and feel sorry for themselves.

asixbury 5 years, 10 months ago

No loans=no college education for most students today. Try paying $20,000+ per year in tuition, living expenses, books, etc on minimum wage. That is the average price per year of a private school. Not everyone is able to go to a public university, but those expenses are crazy high too. If you have a scholarship, that will take time out of your work week as well, since you have to keep grades up to keep the scholarships.

madameX 5 years, 10 months ago

Following the mathematical line of reasoning, the LW earned the modern equivalent of $14,500 a month at his first job after college ($200X72.5), then advanced to $29,000 a month, or the equivalent of one year's worth of college per month. I can't think of any field where a freshly-minted BS holder can earn that kind of income. So in that sense, today's college students aren't better off at all.

LogicMan 5 years, 10 months ago

"where a freshly-minted BS holder can earn that kind of income"

There are many, if they make the correct, wise choices in life:

chootspa 5 years, 10 months ago

That's per year on your chart. She's listed it per month, since that's what the LW listed. So the first starting job out of college would have to pay $174,000 per year and then go up to $348,000 per year. Even engineers aren't generally making that sort of dough in their first jobs.

tomatogrower 5 years, 10 months ago

In the past, college students didn't need a computer and other things to keep up with their studies. Granted, a student should probably do without a car, but if they have one the percentage of a person's income to own a car has gone up dramatically, and I'm not just talking about gas. When I was young you could buy a car that functioned for $500 or less. Try buying a car nowadays for that amount. Insurance has gone up. We must make sure their CEO's get filthy rich, you know. And cars aren't simple anymore. It's not easy to repair a car yourself nowadays. I sure would not want to be a young person starting out now.
We had it good in the past. We also had parents who were willing to pay taxes to support the universities, but now apparently my generation doesn't want to help the younger generation. Our country doesn't even want to pay for the wars they all were supporting before. Just put a "Support the Troops" bumper sticker on your car, and you have fulfilled your obligations. Thank goodness we aren't faced with Hitler again. We've gotten rid of our manufacturing, so we couldn't covert our economy to wartime, like our parents did. I hope we never go to war with China. We'd have to buy all our military equipment from them. And don't tell me, Mr Muirhead, that you never whined about what you didn't have. I have been around for awhile and have a better memory than you. You did not walk 5 miles to school uphill both ways.

chootspa 5 years, 10 months ago

According to inflation, a $400 tuition in 1936 would be $6,563.74 per year today, including the dorms, books, fees, etc. Wow. Just because they've improved minimum wage laws slightly (you were payed $1.64 per hour in today's money) doesn't mean that tuition is at all affordable. Likewise, it doesn't mean you were paid any sort of fair wage for that drafting work.

Richard Payton 5 years, 10 months ago

Does Vincent want to look at social security cost? That cost perspective just left those college kids with maybe some change.

parrothead8 5 years, 10 months ago

I wonder how long it took the LW to get his first job when he graduated? It's pretty common for today's grads to go longer than a year before they find full-time jobs. I'll bet fewer Americans worried about their job getting sent overseas in the LW's day as well.

The times they are a changin'...

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