On Tuesday’s Jeopardy!, one category shined a light on the rising cost of college tuition while educating some shocked viewers in the process.
The first-round category was called “College Tuition: Then & Now,” and while one of the answers on the board was about an impressive lack of tuition hikes at Purdue University, the other four answers showcased just how high tuition has climbed through the years.
One was about Houston’s private Rice University, which had free tuition from 1912 to 1965, but has now reached $57,000 per year. Another revealed that tuition at Duke University in North Carolina was just over $7,000 in 1985 and has climbed to more than $63,000 for 2024.
We also learned that the University of Notre Dame in Indiana cost just $3,000 to attend in 1977 and now goes for $62,000 for tuition and fees. And the University of California Berkeley used to be free for state residents back in 1968, but now cost them $14,000 in 2023.
The category definitely reflected a major trend, seeing as how the average price of tuition, fees and room and board for an undergraduate degree has increased 169% from 1980 to 2020, according to a report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. And taking that one step further is The College Board, which reported that more than half of a bachelor’s degree recipients from four-year colleges graduated in 2020 with debt, and that debt averaged $28,400.
And while the rising costs of college tuition has become a bigger focus in political circles (a recent Supreme Court decision derailed the Biden administration’s student loan relief plan) and among young people the past few years, the category on Jeopardy! seemed to strike a nerve with some viewers, who experienced a bit of sticker shock at hearing the answers.
Meanwhile, other viewers were just really hoping that older generations were taking notice of the issue.
Jeopardy! airs weekdays, check your local listings.
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