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  • Is working your way through college a myth?
  • Posted By:
  • Karen W.
  • Posted On:
  • 19-Aug-2014
  • It was not very long ago in our country that college students were actually able to pay their way through college. Contrary to continuing myth, today it is just not possible for kids to do that anymore.

    In Penn State, tuition for the coming year was increased by three per cent. This means students will have to pay $6820 more for 2014-15. If you are joining a college in Penn State this year, you will have to pay a total annual fee of $16, 572.

    Students of both the state system schools and Penn State schools have been unable to manage their tuition in relation to minimum wages in recent times. If you look at the past history it is easy to figure out exactly how tuition can be paid for by students and how many hours do they have to work to do this?

    In state system schools, looking back to 1985, a student could cover his tuition by working for 23 weeks in a 20 hour week. This was definitely possible for those who put their minds to it. The number of weeks to work to cover the tuition costs increased to about 38 weeks in 1995, just ten years later. In the same 20 hour week, a student in 2005 had to work for an overwhelming 47 weeks to cover tuition costs.

    A student studying in Penn State could cover his or her tuition by working for 38 weeks in 1985. Even as early as 1995, it became practically impossible for students to work towards covering their tuition costs as they had to work for nearly 58 weeks to do that as schools charged a whopping $4,966.

    Even that seems alright if you look at the current situation. Now, students in Penn State have to work for a minimum of 2,285 hours at minimum wage. Just work out the math! In order to pay for freshman year of college, students today have to start saving right from their high school sophomore year.  

    College costs are skyrocketing and even if students do earn more than the minimum wage, it is impossible for them to manage their tuition. In order to attend one of the 14 Pennsylvania colleges that is a part of the state system, students have to shell out a total of $18,500 a year for fees and dining costs. Students will have to work for over 1800 hours to pay for a year of college even if they earn $10 an hour.

    At a state system school, students have to earn an annual income of $27,000 to pay for a year assuming two thirds of their income is being saved for boarding, room and tuition. This is one of the reasons why the last decade has seen a dramatic rise in the average debt of four year graduates studying in public universities in Pennsylvania. Again, it is no surprise that between 2000 and 2012, Pennsylvania public college graduates face a situation where their average debt has doubled to $32,497.



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