Princeton tuition in 2010 and 1910

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Click here to view the full image of Francis Nimick’s fall 1910 tuition bill.

Each January, Princeton’s trustees meet to approve the University’s operating budget, including tuition and fees for the coming academic year. According to a Jan. 25 University news release, the total cost of a year at Princeton will be $48,580 in 2010-11.

This announcement reminded us of a recent piece of mail that David Nimick ’46 sent to PAW with the simple message that “things were different 100 years ago!” Attached was a copy of the tuition bill that his father, Francis, Class of 1913, received in August 2010, for the fall semester of his sophomore year. Tuition, room, board, and fees added up to a grand total of $271.25. The full year — less than $550 — converts to about $12,000 in today’s dollars.

Incidentally, the elder Nimick knew something about tuition bills: Five of his sons attended Princeton between 1935 and 1950.

4 thoughts on “Princeton tuition in 2010 and 1910

  1. Brett Tomlinson

    Our estimate was calculated using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator (http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl), a method that is slightly flawed because the Consumer Price Index began in 1913. If you grow the $550 by 4 percent from 1910 to 1913 and then plug the 1913 figure ($618) into the calculator, that equates to $13,392.31 in 2009 dollars.

    For an apples-to-apples comparison, the University provides a spreadsheet of tuition and fees to reporters that begins in 1966-67, when tuition and fees totaled $3,020.
    According to the BLS calculator, $3,020 in 1966 has the same buying power as $19,996.97 in 2009.

  2. Adrian Woodhouse '59

    I’m not sure how today’s version of a 1910 tuition equates to only $12,000. If one escalates the 1910 tuition of $550 by an annual inflation of 4%, it comes out to $27,777 a hundred years later. I realize that college tuitions, like medical expenses, have grown faster than the overall rate of inflation. But I think that a slightly less than two to one ratio is more believable than a four to one ratio.

  3. andrew nimick

    Loved this post made possible by my uncle david. My father, George G. Nimick (’49), was one of the 5 that Grandfather, Francis, put through Princeton. Rah, rah, siss boom bah…

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