On this day in 1923, the Athens Banner-Herald published the results of a questionnaire the University of Georgia Alumni Record sent to 1,200 UGA male students about their expenses and habits. Enrollment at the time was 1,585, and included women, but the report frequently refers to "the boys" as the responders to the survey.
At the time, the average net income in the United States was $3,226.70 per year. The Alumni Record came to the conclusion that "A boy can go to Georgia a year for $350.00 or $375.00." At the time, the average net income in the United States was $3,226.70 per year.
From the 592 replies, the following details of information were gleaned:
- Not including the cost of school itself, most students lived on an average of $30.00 per month. Tuition at the time was $90.00 per year.
- 86% of students spent between $16.50 and $25.00 per month on their boarding costs. The lower end price reflected the cost to use the campus Denmark Dining Hall, while the higher end reflected typical costs for those who ate at their fraternity houses.
- 71% of students spent between $4.00 and $10.00 per month on their rent. Again, the lower end prices reflected the cost of campus dormitories.
- 80% of students went to the movies no more than twice per week.
- 42% of students play sports on teams associated with their dormitory, fraternity, or take regular exercise at the gym; 17% took no regular exercise, and another 30% got all their exercise from military drills on campus.
- 52% of the students used tobacco.
- 86% of the students attended religious services other than University chapel exercises.
- 62% of the students "stated they know how to dance," but only 52% attended dances.
The relative value of the 1923 annual tuition in today's dollars is $2,380.00; students were paying a relative cost of $424.00 - $662.00 per month for boarding costs, and $106.00 - $265.00 for rent. At the time, a college education was not required for most employment.
Current tuition and fees for a nine-month academic year at the undergraduate level at the University of Georgia are $9,472.00 for in-state students, and $27,682.00 for students from outside the state. The "typical residence hall" costs $4,916.00 per academic year, and a seven-day meal plan is $3,792.00.
- Athens Banner-Herald, Apr. 1923 - Aug. 1923 on Microfilm in the Heritage collection.
- Athens Historic Newspaper Archive collection in the Digital Library of Georgia.
- Measuring Worth website.
- Statistics of Income from Returns of Net Income for 1923 (pdf) by the Statistical Division of the Income Tax Unit in 1925 on the Internal Revenue Service website.
- The University of Georgia Under Sixteen Administrations, 1785-1955 by Robert Preston Brooks in the Heritage collection.
- College Life in the Old South: As Seen at the University of Georgia by E. Merton Coulter in the Heritage and general collections.
- The University of Georgia: A Bicentennial History, 1785-1985 by Thomas G. Dyer in the Heritage and general collections.
- College Financing Information for Teens by Elizabeth Magill in the general collection.
- The College Majors Handbook, with Real Career Paths and Payoffs by Neeta P. Fogg, et al, in the general collection.
- Planning for Your Education by James Fischer in the young adult collection.
- How to Pay for College: A Practical Guide for Families by Gen S. Tanabe in the general collection.
- Big Man on Campus: A University President Speaks Out on Higher Education by Stephen J. Trachtenberg in the general collection.