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How Many Hours Would It Take You to Work Off Today's College Tuition?

Politicians like to say, “I worked my way through college” to prove their work ethic. But four decades ago, a year of tuition could be worked off in a summer. Compared with today’s kids, they had it easy.

In 1979, it took a student working at minimum wage ($2.90 per hour) 385.5 hours to pay off one year of the average college tuition.
If a student worked a full-time job (40 hours a week) for an entire summer, he or she would have worked 480 hours.
Each year, the average student spends 1,020 hours studying and in class.
The average full-time American employee works 2,000 hours a year.
Today, it takes 2,229 hours working at the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) to pay off one year of the average college tuition.
To be both enrolled in school full-time and work enough at $7.25 per hour to pay off one year of the average college tuition would take a student 3,249 hours.
The average American is awake for 6,278 hours each year.
It would take 7,049 hours to work off one-year’s tuition at Columbia at $7.25 per hour. There are 8,760 hours in a year.

Graphic by MGMT.design