My parents both worked (sewing machine operator and roadside construction). I went to a private, high cost engineering school. I graduated with $0 debt. Most of the burden was carried by my parents although I did work part-time during the school year. I did have a scholarship which I think was a combination of need-based and academic. My first job paid more than the combined income of my parents. This was in the 60's. I think my parents made about $7500. Tuition, room and board was about $3000. My first job paid about $9000. Today, the same school tuition/expenses is about $50,000. Translates to a parental income of $125,000. And my staring salary should be $150,000. Times have certainly changed.