curious about historical (college) student wages

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pyronius
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curious about historical (college) student wages

Postby pyronius » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:14 am UTC

A while back i was thinking about how much I get paid compared to various friends of mine and calculating living expenses, school expenses, entertainment expenses, etc... when I began to wonder how current college student wages stack up historically on an hourly basis. I personally make $9/hr and while I've held this job I've always felt that I could probably do a lot better elsewhere if I had a mind to look but I'm not really sure whether or not I have any right to complain. I went looking for data via this here internet cube, and maybe I'm just bad at it, but I couldn't find anything of use. Thus, if anyone knows where I might find some relevant data that would be lovely but if not it would be equally lovely if you could post some of your personal stats such as I give below. I'm not the kind to compile this data into any sort of chart but it would be nice to be able to then adjust it for inflation just to take a glance at what it was like back then. I know there's a difference between inflation and purchasing power (i think that's the one i'm thinking of) but i don't know exactly how that works so if anyone has any tips feel free to hand them out.

Year: 2012
Age: 21
Location at the time: Louisiana
Educational status: In undergrad
Work status: part time
Job: Kennel worker at an upscale veterinarian.
Hourly wage: $9/hr
Adjusted for inflation: $9/hr in 2012 dollars

I'm hoping to get some old geezer types in here but really I'd be interesting in anyone over about 35. everyone is welcome to post though, even those in college now just so that I can compare and in fact those who were/are not in college at that age so that I can see if non student workers are paid a different amount for the same types of work. If you held multiple jobs at the time try to pick the one that was closer to average and if you had any special skills relevant to the job that increased the pay that would be good to include as well (for instance one of my friends makes $20/hr because he's good with computers and works as the part time IT guy for a small company).

anyway, thanks in advance. I really am super interested to see how things stack up.

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lemmings
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Re: curious about historical (college) student wages

Postby lemmings » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:19 pm UTC

Year: 2012
Age: 21
Location at the time: California
Educational status: In undergrad
Work status: full time time
Job: Student research assistants in physics and computer science labs
Hourly wage: $9-12/hr (summer only)
Adjusted for inflation: $9-12/hr in 2012 dollars

For these jobs, it's the professor hiring you, the rate varies from teacher to teacher. About a third of the physics students work in the labs during the summer, which is the only time that they get paid. During the Fall and Spring, they can pull 20 hour weeks unpaid.

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yurell
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Re: curious about historical (college) student wages

Postby yurell » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:36 pm UTC

Year: 2009
Age: 19
Location at the time: Perth, WA
Educational status: Undergraduate
Work status: Permanent Part-Time
Job: Selling alcohol
Hourly wage: c. $19 AUD (that's about 20% above minimum wage here)
Adjusted for inflation: c. $20 in 2012 AUD
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KestrelLowing
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Re: curious about historical (college) student wages

Postby KestrelLowing » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:14 pm UTC

Well, I'm not a geezer yet, but I figured I'd chime in

Current on-campus job
Year: 2012
Age: 22
Location at the time: Michigan
Educational status: In undergrad
Work status: part time
Job: Tutor beginning engineering
Hourly wage: $8.50/hr
Adjusted for inflation: $8.50/hr in 2012 dollars

I work ~15 hours a week, so it pays for food and gas. Also, as it's an on campus job, they deal with my schedule, are totally ok with me taking shifts off if I've got an exam, etc., understand if I have to cut back hours because of classes, etc. Also, I really enjoy tutoring.

Past on-campus job
Year: 2009
Age: 19
Location at the time: Michigan
Educational status: In undergrad
Work status: part time
Job: Desk person at dorm
Hourly wage: $7.40/hr
Adjusted for inflation: $7.93/hr in 2012 dollars (Inflation calc I used)

I've never had a job off campus while going to school, but I believe the pay is a little more competitive, but probably not much more.

Current summer job
Year: 2012
Age: 22
Location at the time: Michigan
Educational status: In undergrad - out for the summer
Work status: full time
Job: R&D Engineering Intern
Hourly wage: $19.50/hr
Adjusted for inflation: $19.50/hr in 2012 dollars

Previous summer job
Year: 2010
Age: 20
Location at the time: Illinois
Educational status: In undergrad - out for the summer
Work status: full time
Job: R&D Engineering Intern
Hourly wage: $23.50/hr
Adjusted for inflation: $24.77/hr in 2012 dollars

These are obviously how I afford college.

Роберт
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Re: curious about historical (college) student wages

Postby Роберт » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:34 pm UTC

The section bias of this will probably render it pretty useless except for mild amusement.
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pyronius
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Re: curious about historical (college) student wages

Postby pyronius » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:03 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:The section bias of this will probably render it pretty useless except for mild amusement.


Well, mild amusement is the name of the game after all, but I don't think its as bad as all that. As far as age goes XKCD certainly skews young, but a couple posts from anyone 35+ would make it worthwhile amusement-wise and even just a minor anecdote such as "my mother said she was paid $X/hr working at Wendy's in 1980" works.

Demographically you have to consider why I'm interested in the first place. I want to be able to compare how I'm valued today to how I might have been valued in the past. In that case those closer to my demographic and that of XKCD (white college educated males) are actually of more use. Comparing my wages to an uneducated black woman in the 1950s is hardly useful.

Edit: In fact, even comparing an uneducated black woman of the 50s to an uneducated black woman of today wouldn't be of particular use to me being as I'm concerned with possible changes in perceived value of age and education status rather than gender or race. In fact, white educated males are about the only demographic you can use due to the fact that they are and have been the establishment and have therefore their wages haven't been influenced by changes in tolerance of any sort.

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apricity
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Re: curious about historical (college) student wages

Postby apricity » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:44 pm UTC

I am also not old, but I've had well-paying jobs. Then again, they were in NYC which has a ridiculously high cost of living. And then again as well, my housing and part of my living expenses were covered by my dad because he wanted me to focus on my education. I put most of what I made at these jobs into savings, and lived off my allowance. I'm basically just posting to give you an idea of the possibilities that are out there. These are the kinds of jobs that are built for college students - I only worked 10-15 hours a week at both, and they obviously didn't offer benefits or anything, so they're really made for people who are in school or married or have other ways of getting things like insurance.

Year: 2007
Age: 19-20
Location at the time: NYC
Educational status: Undergrad
Work status: Part time, 10 hrs/week
Job: Office intern at a nonprofit (basically an administrative assistant)
Hourly wage: $14/hr
Adjusted for inflation: $15.52/hr in 2012 dollars

Year: 2008-09
Age: 21-22
Location at the time: NYC
Educational status: Undergrad
Work status: Part time, 12-15 hrs/week
Job: After school teacher at an independent school
Hourly wage: $15/hr
Adjusted for inflation: $16.01/hr in 2012 dollars
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webzter_again
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Re: curious about historical (college) student wages

Postby webzter_again » Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:19 am UTC

Only counting the years I was in university... and it's hazy (I'm old). Also, starting from age 12 through my junior year in college (age 19), my dad and I had a weekly paper route (it was a driving route, we delivered 700 papers). Took us about 3-4 hours a week and I think we split $110 every two weeks.

I also had odd jobs here and there during college that I didn't include below... like one weekend working as a roadie doing setup at a carnival or falls spent raking leaves, hauling firewood, summers spent mowing, painting houses, whatever. Anything to be able to afford school the next semester.

I used this inflation calc

edit: I should mention I was born, and still am, a white, male American.

Year: 1992
Age: 15
Job: Stock boy at regional grocer
Wage: $4.25/hr (min wage)
Adjusted for inflation: $6.96 /hr

Year: 1993
Age: 16
Job: Electronics department floor associate at Wal-mart
Wage: $5.10/hr
Adjusted for inflation: $8.11

Year: 1994 (Summer)
Age: 16
Job: Contract programmer for regional IT service provider
Wage: $10/hr
Adjusted for inflation: $15.51

Year(s): 1994 (Fall)-1998 (Winter)
Age: 17-21
Job: Student work-study job as a computer programmer. Capped at 20 hours a week fall/winter and 40 hours a week during the summer
Wage: $6.25 by 1998. That was the max on the allowed pay scale for students
Adjusted for inflation: (using 1998 number only) $8.81

Year: 1997 (Summer-Fall)
Age: 19
Job: 8 month co-op as a programmer at a local paper mill. (Also kept job as student work-study programmer at 20 hours/week telecommuting)
Wage: $16.50/hr
Adjusted for inflation: $23.63

Year: 1998 (Summer)
Age: 20
Job: 4 month internship as a programmer at a local paper mill (they requested I come back a second year and the other internship I had lined up was offering $8.50/hr). Also kept work-study job and telecommuted.
Wage: $17.50/hr
Adjusted for inflation: $24.67

And, just for completeness...
Year: 1998 (August)
Age: 20
Job: Accepted my first after-college job. Programmer at a consulting company in Minneapolis. Start date of January 1, 1999 at a starting salary of $40k. It was hard going back to college and finishing out only elective classes knowing that I had a job already lined up. Considering I had no classes in my major or either minor, my effort that semester really reflected in my GPA
Adjusted for inflation: $55,177.67


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