My summer job out of high school (1969) paid minimum wage of $1.50/hour. I was heading to university in the fall and my yearly (two terms) tuition was going to be $457. In other words I needed to work 305 hours to pay for my yearly tuition. That is about 7.5 40 hour weeks or less than two months.
In my final year of university (73-74), my yearly tuition was still $457. Minimum wage was now $2.25/hr (I was actually doing much better at a different job making $2.85/hr). But even at minimum wage, I needed only 203 hours to pay for my yearly tuition. That is about 5 40 hour weeks, slightly more than a month.
Today, tuition would cost me about $5000. At today’s minimum wage of $10.45, it would take somebody 478 hours to pay for their yearly tuition. That is 12 40 hour weeks or three months.
Not sure if the minimum wage is the problem or if tuition is the problem, but no wonder student debt is a problem.