In 1976, the minimum wage in my state was $2.10 hr. My first year of university I earned that wage and could afford a rented room and living expenses including food, clothes, etc. Tuition was paid by the money I'd saved from various jobs beginning in 1971. For the remaining three years, I found a salaried job in the university administration, a file clerk, that paid $3.85 hr. I worked 39 hrs. week, the maximum they'd give me. Since I was a student still covered under my parents' medical insurance, any more hours would legally require them to give me benefits and union wages. I rented a three bedroom fire-trap, found two roommates, and graduated in 1980, debt free. I did not own a car, just a second-hand bicycle.
Would this be possible today? I highly doubt it!