Gauge Age By How Much Person Paid for College Tuition!

Hoosier Perspectives

Costs have escalated out of sight, even at ag schools.

Published on: February 6, 2012

This is the season when seniors have either applied for tons of scholarships if they want to pursue a higher education in agriculture, or are still applying for scholarships. In fact, we will feature an item this week about three opportunities whereby ag companies, all of them ag cooperatives, are offering scholarships for members of descendants of members. The exact rules vary from scholarship to scholarship, but each one is worth checking out.

Most are for $1,000 to $1,500 on a one-time basis for the recipients. A $1,000 scholarship would have paid for my whole year of education tuition at Purdue University as late as 1973. Today, the standard tuition for a year at Purdue is approaching $9,000, and that doesn't count housing, food, clothing or books.

I was lucky to earn shcolarships for part of my schooling. Half way through college, my brother and I learned that as our father's kids, we were eligible for college help. While he actively farmed, he was a Pearl Harbor survivor and had disability based upon suffering malaria fever while in the service. As it turns out, we could have been getting help from the start, but dad was a proud man, and at that point, he still hadn't opened up about his war experiences.

Thankfully, a neighbor finally convinced him that if we were eligible due to his service to the country, we should apply. We did and received tuition help for our remaining years.

The whole subject of college tuition has come up in several conversations recently. You can pretty much zero in on when someone graduated by the amount of money they paid per year to attend college. Some paid about $5,000 per year for tuition and room and board. Then a bit later it was up to $20,000. If you graduated about 10 years ago, you probably did it for less than $15,000 per year. These figures are based upon attending a state-supported university. Note the figure, with room and board and books included, is rapidly approaching $20,000 per year. Thank goodness for ag companies that offer scholarships. If you're trying to get into college without much backing because your parents have tight budgets, every little bit helps.

If you think tuition is high here, talk to a parent of a student at the University of Illinois. Because of cuts in state support, that $20,000 figure is closer to $30,000 per year, according to an Illinois resident. His kids go to the University of Missouri-Columbia, even though he lives in central Illinois, because even with the out-of-state tuition- it's a cheaper ride. And after one year, the University of Missouri recognizes students as in-state residents, assuming certain stipulations are met.

At least that's what my friend says. I wouldn't be part of a rush to head off to Missouri, at least not until I checked it out.

Tuition will only go higher. Let's hope those scholarships keep coming.