Cost of tuition graph
(Graphic by Autumn Mariano)

Films from the ’80s are full of teens and their struggles in deciding to go to college. Notably, you never hear them wondering whether or not they could pay for it. Today those who want to attend college have to ask themselves this every day.

Sure there are options available to help pay for college, but there was a time a student could work one minimum-wage job and make it through on their own.

According to, tuition and fees for a private, nonprofit four-year college cost $10,273 in 1974 and 1975. They also state that for 2014-15, the same type of college will cost students about $31,231.

There are efforts in place to try to make college affordable to all. For example, after World War II the GI Bill was put into place so veterans could go to school. There are also programs like Dream Weber, which supplements students who have an income of $40,000 a year or less. There is also the option of financial aid, grants and scholarships.

With all of these programs however, many still have a hard time paying for school.

One problem according to is that too many people started going to school at once. The GI Bill got the veterans going to school while the Higher Education Act of 1965 pushed for greater college success for women and minorities.

This time was great for students because they could work a steady part-time job while having the government help them out. Around 1970 things started to change because of inflation, a shaky economy and an oil embargo. College tuition began to climb, and loans replaced grants for middle-class college students.

At the same time family incomes fell, borrowing money to pay for college took off. Also, public investment in higher education dropped.

This topic is one that is often discussed, and has even inspired some filmmakers to create documentaries delving into the reasons school is so expensive. According to the film “Throwing Rocks at the Ivory Tower,” Americans owe more than $1 trillion in student loan debt.

While inflation, a bad economy and other factors may be a reason many say they can’t attend college, there are many options these days for those willing to do research. At Weber State University the typical cost of 15 undergraduate credit hours is $2,591.

This is a relatively reasonable price when it comes to attending college, but it’s still a lot of money and can seem unreachable. One important thing to do is apply for financial aid. Many college students rely on grants to get them through school and it’s a great way to make sure you have things covered.

Another tip on knowing how to afford college is to understand college costs. Before students get to college they have no idea how the system works. Simply becoming informed can make a huge difference in your ability to figure out your financial situation.

Finally, searching for scholarships can be extremely beneficial. There are many reasons to receive a scholarship and many places that give them. Asking schools where to find scholarships or other college students where they have found them can lead you to a treasure trove of ways to pay for school.

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