Minimum-wage workers trying to pay for college at their state's best-known public university would have a harder time in Pennsylvania than in any other state, a new report finds.
It would take 2.4 years of working 20 hours a week at a minimum-wage job in Pennsylvania to pay for one year of the in-state tuition of $17,502 at Penn State University at University Park, the Chronicle of Higher Education found.
That's longer than it would take in any other state. The state with the best ratio of minimum wage to flagship university tuition is Nevada, where it would take only about seven months to earn enough to pay a year's tuition of $3,268 at the University of Nevada at Reno.
For its report, the Chronicle used 2014-15 tuition figures for in-state students.
The study's scenario assumes the student worker would be able to save every penny earned, and also doesn't include the cost of room and board at each school.
For its report, the Chronicle also included historical information to show how the earnings/cost ratio has changed over time. At Penn State, for example, it would have taken only 1.7 years to pay the in-state tuition with a 20-hour-a-week minimum wage job in 1998.
Another recent analysis took the scenario back even farther, making the point that paying one's way through college was a feasible option for many in the 1970s. That analysis found that it takes four times as many hours of minimum-wage work to pay Penn State tuition today than it did 40 years ago.