My supervisor got his PhD in the 1970s while having two kids and a house. He spent 25k on the house. Everyone from that era, even the 80s or 90s, said that their degree was dirt cheap and they were very easily transiting from academia to work life post graduation.
Fast forward to the present day, my graduate wage is 25k/yr (most of which is spent on tuition) and the housing prices in my city are 70k-100k for tiny small apartment. Almost all the housing prices are rising due to speculation and price for even basic daily necessities such as food or even a hair cut is rising.
I am going to a conference but I can't go because the plane ticket alone cost $1000 dollar. Uploading a paper cost $100, an additional one cost $300. Registration $300. All the conference prices are rising and many students are frustrated but the conference organizer insist on places such as fancy resorts or islands. It feels like a hustle.
How do academia rationalize the reality that the cost of living has risen dramatically, yet graduate wages are stagnant, making the graduate degree nowadays a very costly and risky journey. How do academic advisors support students in these times when their students are all living around the poverty line, the same bright students who could easily make 100k-200k working as a programmer?
I sometimes wonder if the only reason I am admitted is that I am from a third world country and people assumed we are satisfied with less and unequal pay. Not unequal with respect to other graduate students, but unequal with respect to people who has citizenship with the same skill.