Cost of Living at College Doubled Since 1980

Cost of Living at College Doubled Since 1980
Susan Dutca-Lovell

Living the college life has gotten way more expensive since 1980, and not including just tuition and fees. While many types tuition freezes, government tuition-free programs, scholarships, and grants help foot the tuition bill, housing and food remain uncovered, according to MarketWatch.

Room and board charges have outpaced inflation, roughly doubling since 1980 and costing as much as it does to live in an off-campus apartment. Currently, public four-year colleges and universities charge about $9,798 a year for living costs.

One explanation as to why room and board costs have spiked is because colleges "reduced the amount they're subsidizing the cost of living for students" or because it's easier to hide room and board increases than the cost of tuition and fees.

It also costs more to run dorms and dining halls these days, especially when students are calling for more costly amenities. Likewise, colleges are "embracing lucrative deals with giant dining contractors, who offer commissions and signing bonuses to help pay for campus improvements and academic programs." Critics claim these costs get passed on to students and contribute to the expense of colleges.

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