Minimum-Wage Work Alone Won’t Get You Through College

Source: Sandhya Kambhampati and Meredith Myers, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 28, 2015

Politicians and pundits love to talk about the character-building experience of working your way through college. But how realistic is that ideal? As one way of answering that question, here’s a thought experiment: Let’s say you’re planning to attend your state’s best-known public university (at the in-state rate, naturally) and you’re hoping a minimum-wage job will cover the cost. How long would you have to work at that job to recoup a year’s worth of tuition and fees?

We’ve created a tool to show you. ….

…. Now, here’s an important point to keep in mind: Tuition and fees are just one part of attending college. They don’t include room and board, books and supplies and other expenses that come with attending college — all of which can double or even triple the costs shown here. At flagships, these estimated costs can range from $8,000 to $19,000. We’re also not accounting for financial aid, which would mitigate the cost for many students, or for income tax and cost of living, which could exacerbate it. …..