I was interested in how the cost of Cornell University tuition rose compared to other market benchmarks, like general inflation and the stock market. I gathered data from 1980 to 2006 on the yearly inflation rates of Cornell tuition, private American tuition, inflation, and yearly returns on the Dow and Nasdaq indices.
In 1980, if you’d put $1000 into University, you’d now be paying $5905.50. Inflation inflates your $1000 to $2452.37, while the Nasdaq rakes in $5436.02, the Dow $9063.03. Cornell tracks strongly with other University rates, returning $5561.72. The graph makes one thing clear, though–Cornell’s tuition is quickly outstripping inflation, and tracks suspiciously with the higher order return rates common in the stock market. It’s almost like the inexorable rise of our tuition is a hedge against bad investments in the endowment.
In 2020, Cornell University tuition will have skyrocketed:
Right now we’re paying $32,800. In 2020, we’ll be paying $82,440 but our $32,800 will only be worth an $49,613. That’s another $30,000 of 2020 dollars or $20,000 of our real dollars. Therefore, I make this proclamation: In 2020, Cornell University will charge students $53,000 for a year’s tuition–51% more than today!
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