What Denise Huxtable's College Tuition Bill Would Look Like Today

We're breaking down just how much Hillman College would have cost the Huxtable's daughter back in the 90s!

Mariya Moseley May, 02, 2017

The Cosby Show spin-off A Different World, which starred Lisa Bonet as Denise Huxtable, exposed the world to what life might be like at a historically Black college or university across the nation.

Denise Huxtable attended fictional university Hillman College on the show, and in this video, we’re breaking down just how much it would have cost her to attend today. The Hampton University-inspired fictional college is one that depicted the HBCU experience in such a unique way. The series, which first aired in 1993, features elements of Spelman, Clark Atlanta University, Howard University and Hampton University. 

The show’s accurate portrayal of how unique the black college experience is also owed to producer Debbie Allen’s time at Howard University, which ultimately gave the show a greater level of authenticity, Complex wrote about Hillman in their round-up of fictional colleges in film/television. 

This is how much Denise Huxtable’s tuition and school expenses would have cost her back in the 90s!

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Coinage life, well spent. Presented by Geico. The Cosby Show spinoff A Different World exposed America to the wonderfully culture and rich heritage of historically black colleges and universities. Because the show featured elements from four different HBTU, Spellman, Clark, Atlanta-Howard and Hampton. Many HBCU alums have debated which school Hillman is actually modeled after. But in 2012 Darryl Bell who played Ron Johnson on the show, confirmed to Hampton University students that their school was indeed the inspiration for Hillman. Debbie Allen was later tapped as the show's creative producer to make sure that Hillman felt like a real HBCU. Hampton University tuition was a little over $4,000 in 1987 when the show The Huxtables would've probably footed a similar bill for Denise's education at Hillman. Today, Hampton University tuition costs nearly $25,000 per year, up 525% over a 20 year period. The hang out spot for Hillman student was the grill. Hampton University spent $16 million to remodel its student center, which opened in 2001 and features a food court, movie theater, fitness center, game rooms, and more. Denise would have also needed a set of wheels or at least be able to ship in gas money to go to off campus parties. While Denise was a student, gas prices were about $0.96 a gallon. Today's prices are about $2 a gallon. Denise Huxtable-Kendall was pregnant when the Cosby Show ended in 1992. If baby Huxtable-Kendall had gone to Hillman, he would have graduated in the 2014 class. And a Denise would have spent over $100,000 for that Hillman diploma.>> Coinage. A life well spent. Presented by Geico