Very specific question about University tuition in the 1990s
April 15, 2017 3:47 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone tell me what the in-state tuition would have been for University of Michigan in the mid-1990s? Or do you know how I might find out? I went to a public university in the late 80s (UC Berkeley) and it was dirt cheap. Wondering if U of M was similar. This is for a piece of fiction I'm writing.
posted by swheatie to Education (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I found this for 1998-99, which is probably a little outside the mid part of the 1990s. It was the earliest I could find on Wayback.
posted by General Malaise at 3:53 PM on April 15

I was at another Big 10 University from '95 to'99, and in state tuition was something like $1500 to $2000 from what I recall. It seemed relatively reasonable at the time. With room and board, the semester cost was roughly $2500 maybe.
posted by hydra77 at 3:54 PM on April 15

Here's a spreadsheet going back to 1999.
posted by toxic at 3:54 PM on April 15

This looks like it goes back to 1996.
posted by General Malaise at 3:57 PM on April 15

And, finally, now is every year.
posted by General Malaise at 3:58 PM on April 15

And here's a site that claims to have some more historical data earlier than that.
posted by toxic at 3:59 PM on April 15

My spouse (BA '95) says they paid around $12K per year with room and board.
posted by Etrigan at 4:00 PM on April 15

General Malaise, your links are behind a login wall. Are they supposed to be UMich-only?
posted by toxic at 4:01 PM on April 15

This seems to agree with my recollection of about $5,000 - 7,000 per year, depending on course of study and whether you were "lower division" or "upper division." ("lower division" students were those with less than two years' worth of credits, "upper division" were juniors and seniors.) I paid a bit more than my friends because I was in the engineering school but education at UMich was still fairly affordable in those days.

If you're interested in room and board costs as well, it's been a while (eek! 20 years!) but I believe that when I lived with roommates in those days, one bedroom in a two bedroom apartment in Ann Arbor apartment could be had for around $350-400 in those years. $550-700 would get you a decent but by no means deluxe small apartment of your own, though not necessarily immediately bordering campus..
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:03 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]

toxic - I can't imagine...I'm in no way affiliated with the university and just tried every link in three browsers both in regular and incognito mode. I haven't seen a login wall for any of them...
posted by General Malaise at 4:04 PM on April 15

Gulp. Should I be embarrassed at the ease with which you all found this out? You are awesome. Thanks, everyone!
posted by swheatie at 4:18 PM on April 15

Just an FYI, I did a regression on a bunch of various schools' tuition hikes, and the run-away prices didn't really start til post 1999. Ithe was generally a 2x rate of change post 1999. (ie: If your school was at 3% a year, it went to 6%). That is generally my back of the napkin calculation for historical tuition rates at Generic University.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:51 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]

Michigan had/has a program where people could pay the current tuition to be used at a Michigan public university when a child turned 18. My boyfriend went to UMich in the early/mid-2000s with his grandparents having paid for it in the 1980s. I don't know when this started. I assume it's been discontinued.
posted by hoyland at 5:46 PM on April 15

The program Hoyland is describing is called the Michigan Educational Trust and is still available, though not nearly as much of a steal as it was when initially offered in 1988.
posted by alygator at 6:12 PM on April 15

hoyland describes the Michigan Educational Trust or MET program from which I also benefited. My parents paid about 4k for each "year" of college tuition to MET, from about 1981-1985-- the cost per year was based on the average cost of a tuition credit *at that time*. Then as a MET owner I could attend a 4-year public university/college in Michigan (1998-2002), and MET would cover tuition, but not fees or living expenses or books.

The MET program has gone on-and-off since the 1980s, and has recently been made available again (my whole family put in to buy my cousin's kids a year each last Christmas, figuring that 2016 tuition will be cheaper than 2030 tuition). When I was in school at UM, probably 50% of my friends also were paying for tuition with MET. It was a big deal for middle class people-- making college in the 1990s-2000s as affordable as it was in the 80s. If your character is middle class, MET could be a real good safety net to allow them to not worry about debt.
posted by holyrood at 6:12 PM on April 15

If you character is from out of state ... be sure to research the rules on whether and if so how you could qualify to be in-state. It's been made mostly impossible now pretty much everywhere but in the late 80s / early 90s in Michigan it may well have been possible if you jumped through the right hoops.
posted by MattD at 7:29 PM on April 15

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