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From the Archives

1935

Class of 1936
School of Religion, Duke University
Duke Divinity School Archives

In the fall of 1935, a loaf of bread cost 8 cents and a dozen eggs 37 cents. Unemployment, which had peaked two years earlier with roughly a third of the available workforce unable to find a job, was still high. FDR’s New Deal was about to establish Social Security and the WPA, but the Great Depression was far from over.

Students matriculating at Duke University’s School of Religion were spared tuition, thanks to The Duke Endowment, but were expected to “render from time to time service which shall not interfere with their work” in return.

While the following fees sound low, they were significant during the Depression. Total fees, assuming the student was not tardy, would have added up to about $900 in today’s dollars. Room and board and books were additional expenses.

Each student was assessed the following fees per semester:

Matriculation fee ......................$ 25.00
Library fee ......................$ 5.00
Athletic fee ......................$ 5.00
Hospital fee ......................$ 5.00
Damage fee ......................$ 1.00

There was also an optional “Publication fee” of $2.50, and late registration cost the tardy seminarian an additional $5.00.

 


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