The K-State Economics Club released its annual student price index Wednesday, which shows the rate of inflation over this last year. According to the club’s 2013 student price index, students should expect to see a 10 percent increase in housing prices, an 8 percent increase in beer prices and a 7 percent increase in tuition costs.
According to Daniel Kuester, director of undergraduate studies in the College of Economics and faculty advisor of the Economics Club, the student price index shows that K-State students suffer from inflation more than the average American.
“The student price index is pretty local whereas the consumer price index is data collected from all over the country,” Kuester said. “There’s going to be some big differences.”
The student price index, much like the consumer price index, collects data from around the Manhattan area and compares the prices of various categories to data collected from the year before. To collect data, for example, members of the Economics Club would go to Dillons and compare prices of the same products from last year.
Due to the 16 day government shutdown, the consumer price index has not yet been released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This delay changed the process for the student price index slightly, in that they compared prices from August 2012 to August 2013, instead of looking at prices in September 2012.
“There’s not going to be much difference when you look at August compared to September,” Kuester said.
Jena Terlip, senior in economics and secretary of the club, said she was surprised by the increase in prices of tuition.
“With this increase in tuition, I don’t think students will … take less classes,” Terlip said. “I think students are just going to lessen their outside school activities, like going to Aggieville or ordering pizza.”
According to Kuester, seeing an increase in tuition is not rare. Kuester also said that increases in tuition may be due to lack of funding from the state and federal governments.
“This tuition is not an outlier,” Kuester said. “It’s all over the country. But the education here is a relatively good bargain.”
According to a 2012 tuition comparison table from collegetuitioncompare.com, the average college tuition amount for the 91 colleges in Kansas is $9,808 for in-state and $11,187 for out-of state. K-State’s tuition currently rests at $7,308 for in-state and $19,390.
Joseph Dasenbrock, sophomore in economics and coordinator of the volunteers who gathered the data, said in some areas prices are expected to rise, but was surprised by the increase in housing prices.
“We have a lot of rental options, so you’d think the price would be low,” Dasenbrock said. “There could be a number of reasons why it’s increased. It could be that there are more students here, or that the rental place we used had just raised prices because they had just renovated. It’s hard to say.”
Much like Terlip, Dasenbrock said he expects this to affect students’ pocketbooks.
“If you want to splurge on a nice apartment, you’re looking at $500 a month,” Dasnbrock said. “Sometimes it might just end up being as much as tuition.”
Other increases in the student price index include a 2 percent rise in grocery prices, a 4 percent increase in textbook prices, a 10.5 percent rise in pizza prices and a 6 percent price increase in Internet. However, the price of ICAT tickets has not changed from 2012.
According to Kuester, the only statistics that were not localized were the textbook prices. Kuester said he and his team looked instead at national prices of textbooks compared to prices from last year.
“We’ve had some problems with textbooks because the medium has changed,” Kuester said. “But other than textbooks, everything else is local. We based our textbook data off the CPI and it’s pretty accurate.”
The price increases in the student price index were not across the board. The price of movies has decreased by 14 percent and gas prices have decreased by 7 percent, by a yearly comparison. Both Kuester and Terlip said they found this to be a welcome surprise.
“People think gas prices will just go up,” Terlip said. “But it was nice to see that they’re actually going down.”