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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Alumni

Did UH cost $50 a semester when Elizabeth Warren attended?


Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a UH alumna who graduated with a bachelor degree in speech and pathology in 1970. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a UH alumna who graduated with a bachelor degree in speech and pathology in 1970. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

Former professor and UH alumna Elizabeth Warren frequently cites UH as the school that gave her the chance to succeed, for just $50 a semester, but University records show that attending the college cost more than that.

Warren regularly repeats the claim on the campaign trail while delivering her stump speech, reciting it on at least two occasions this year in Houston. Once while hosting a town hall on campus in July and again last month during the Democratic primary debate at Texas Southern University.

“I got my big opportunity about a half-mile down the road,” Warren said during the Sept. 12 debate, “at the University of Houston, back when it cost $50 a semester.”

69-70Tuition

Course bulletins archived in the UH Library Special Collections show that while the base tuition cost $50 in Spring 1970, the year Warren graduated, she likely paid at least $105 per semester. That number includes a student service fee and various building fees. This does not include the cost of parking, books or supplies.

Adjusting the total cost from 1970 for inflation in today’s dollars, the $105 would have cost roughly $712.66 in 2019, while the $50 claim adjusts to $339.36.

The estimated cost of books and supplies was $35 in Spring 1970 and the parking fee was set at $7 per semester.

The Warren for President campaign has not responded to a request for comment about the discrepancy.

Warren is a graduate of UH, receiving a bachelor of science degree in speech and pathology. She returned to UH for two years as a professor of law beginning in 1978.

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