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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 24, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Minimum wage: College costs a burden

There has been a lot of talk about the minimum wage, and the cost of attending college [“$15 minimum wage would support a student,” Northwest Voices, May 21]. In 1980, a student could pay for a full year’s tuition at a state college by working around two months at the federal minimum wage of $3.10 — tuition at Washington State University in 1980 was $686.

Today with tuition for WSU set at $11,396 it will take a student more than seven months to pay for that tuition at our state’s minimum wage of $9.32 per hour.

My parents were able to send three kids to college back in the ’60s and ’70s on my father’s teacher salary. My brother and sister both worked summer jobs and graduated with zero debt. I went to college courtesy of the federal government by attending the Coast Guard Academy. The fact is, it is no longer possible for most middle-class families to get their children through college without taking on debt, unless that child was fortunate enough to get a full ride.

Mark Piennett, Federal Way

Comments | More in minimum wage | Topics: $15 minimum wage, college, college tuition

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