Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thrifty Thursday: College Costs circa 1965

  As my daughter was loudly complaining about the obscene cost to RENT her current college textbooks, I remembered a postcard that I sent to my parents my freshman year at Purdue about that very subject.

"Dear Mom and Dad-
  Not much time up here so I thought I'd get some postcards to send you when I really get pinched for time.  Guess what for my C&T I have to buy two books now and one later.  One costs  $2.25 (lab book) and the other cost $8.25 (can you imagine!!!)  I'm going to try to get the latter one second hand if I can.  The instructor said she wasn't sure how many would be available since this was only their second year in use.  Also I have to buy another book for Sociology - $2.50 (scream!)  Money is going fast!  Rained all day today.  This girl gave me one of those cool plastic rings because it didn't fit her.  I offered to pay her for it but she wouldn't let me, but she loves my house slippers so I told her you'd make her a pair.  Will you?
                                   -------Me---------- WRITE"

For my daughter's four classes, at a state university, the cost were $225 for one book/software combo which she purchased and $150 each for the other three classes, and those were rentals.

I conclude that. . .The inflation rate for college textbooks has far surpassed the inflation rate of salaries. In 1965 my father made $4000/yr  as a factory worker, and we were poor by any standard. If I figure that books are 20 times more expensive today and multiply my father's salary by 20, I arrive at a figure of $80,000/yr.  As a 25 yr. teacher with a master's degree, I make no where near that.

So do you have other examples of costs that have outpaced salary inflation?

1 comment:

  1. Margel,
    I'm so happy to have had the opportunity to meet you in person. I can't believe I didn't think to discuss our common "teacher" identity. BTW -- you know why I'm sitting here smiling at the moment. Today I'm back in my recliner with my dog in my lap decompressing.