That was Then. This is Now.

I thought I would take a look and see what the difference is between college in 1945 when the GI bill was introduced and college education began its long walk toward ubiquity and now. Not a real scientific treatment of the data, just a thumbnail sketch to get an idea of what the overall magnitude of percent change would look like. Just to get my bearings. To everyone born after 1970 or in school now or funding and education. We got screwed.

1945 (Bucknell University)

Tuition for men for both the 1945-1946 and 1946-1947 Academic Years was $400.00 for the college year from September to June. The cost of a furnished room for men ranged from $120.00 for a furnished room in East or West College to $300.00 for a furnished suite with bath in Main College . There were a variety of accommodations in Main College: “single rooms, two-room suites with or without lavatory facilities, and single rooms and two-room suites with private baths." Board in the Men’s Dining Hall was $250.00, and students could also board at “...the various boarding places in town, and at the fraternity houses.” There was a $15.00 Infirmary fee, and there were also laboratory and department fees. Tuition, board, a furnished room, Infirmary, laboratory and graduation fees for women ranged from $900.00 to 950.00 for the college year, depending upon where the woman resided. The cost was $950.00 for women who lived on the top four floors in Hunt Hall or seven specified rooms in Larison Hall. The women ate in the Women’s Dining Hall. Children of missionaries and ministers received a $100.00 reduction of the annual charge for tuition.

Estimated Bucknell tuition and Fees for 2005-2006

$32,592 for tuition
$6,872 for room and board (Estimated)
$196 for student fees

$39,660 (Estimated)

What Things Cost in 1945:
Car: $1,250
Gasoline: 21 cents/gal
House: $10,000
Bread: 9 cents/loaf
Milk: 62 cents/gal
Postage Stamp: 3 cents
Stock Market: 152
Average Annual Salary: $2,900
Minimum Wage: 40 cents per hour

Average salary for a fresh college graduate (Bachelor) from the 2003-2004 survey. Between $26,000.00 and $46,000.00, for the sake of argument we’ll say $50,000.00 (stop laughing). note

1945 – cost for college equal to about 13% - 15% of annual income.

2005 – cost for college is equal to 65% - 120% (26k-50K) of annual income.