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Thursday, July 06, 2017

Why Summer Jobs Don't Pay

Why can't kids today just work their way through college the way earlier generations did?

The answer to that question isn't psychology. It's math. A summer job just doesn't have the purchasing power it used to, especially when you compare it with the cost of college.

Let's take the example of a working-class student at a four-year public university who's getting no help from Mom and Dad. In 1981-'82, the average full cost to attend was $2,870. That's for tuition, fees and room and board.

The maximum Pell Grant award back then for free tuition help from the government was $1,800. That leaves our hypothetical student on the hook for just about $1,000. Add in a little pocket money, too — say $35 a week. That makes an extra $1,820 for the year on top of the $1,000 tuition shortfall.

Now, $3.35 an hour was the minimum wage back then. So, making $2,870 meant working 842 hours. That's 16 hours a week year-round — a decent part-time job. It's also about nine hours a day for three straight months — a full-time, seven-day-a-week summer job. Or, more likely, a combination of both. In short: not impossible. Far from it.

For today's public university student, though, the numbers have all changed in the wrong direction.

For the school year that just ended, the total of tuition, fees and room and board for in-state students at four-year public universities was $20,090. The maximum Pell Grant didn't keep pace with that: It was $5,815. That left our hypothetical student on the hook for $14,275.



Anonymous said...

I believe the Federal Government created this when they took over the student loan program. At the root if all evil.

Anonymous said...

So you don't just not work. Anything you earn in the summer will help towards cutting down your total cost of education. My daughter worked at her college while going to school there. And she had absolutely no money in her pocket. All of the work she did at college, the money went straight to her tuition and room and board. She got no money for herself. She met her husband at college. They both had student loans. Now fifteen years later they have paid off all of their college loans and have three children. So if you work at it. It can be done.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the effect of TAXES on this equation, which have about doubled...

Anonymous said...

It wasn't really the Federal Government who ruined the situation.
It was the Federal Reserve Bank.

Huge difference.
The FED is not a government entity, and there are no "reserves".

Anonymous said...

They have to pay the liberal professors exorbitant salaries.

Anonymous said...

Sorry NPR - a graph (PICTURE) than yap yap math would suffice what we ALL already know. College has priced themselves out and are trying to only address the wealthy. Nothing sugar coated there; nor comparing the early 1980's to soon to be early 2020's.

(wow, let that fester for a bit. 1980's vs. 2020's Damn!)