Price of being a K-State student continues to rise

Average cost of SPI categories annually (>$100) according to the Kansas State University Economics Club. (Emily DeShazer | The Collegian)

The cost of being a K-State student is once again more expensive than it is for the average American, according to the 2014 Student Price Index. Compiled by the K-State Economics Club, the SPI measures prices of goods and services commonly used by college students, such as tuition, textbooks and housing.

Prices increased by 4.7 percent from last year, compared to the national average of 1.7 percent calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index. Housing and tuition are responsible for roughly two-thirds of an average student’s budget, according to Christa Deneault, senior in mathematics and vice president of the economics club.

“The increases in tuition and textbook prices are not surprising,” Deneault said. “Those have always been increasing.”

While tuition prices rose by 5 percent, textbook prices increased by 15 percent over the last year.

“It’s disheartening how much the price of tuition and textbooks are up,” said Hannah Jones, senior in economics and president of the club.

Although the 2014 increase was less than the 6.4 percent increase in 2013, the SPI has almost doubled since the club first began calculating it in 2002. Its adviser Dan Kuester, director of undergraduate studies in economics, wrote in a press release that it may be alarming for people to see the increases.

“It certainly has become relatively more expensive to attend college than to purchase other goods in the past 12 years, but the overall value of a K-State degree continues to be a relative bargain in my opinion,” Kuester said in the release. “There continues to be a significant wage and employment premium associated with earning a college degree at K-State.”

Beer prices rose the most out of all the categories, jumping up 20 percent. Close behind were textbooks and non-greek housing, both at 15 percent increases respectively.

Isa Cricco, senior in economics, said that the news was not all bad.

Average cost of SPI categories annually (<100) according to the Kansas State University Economics Club. (Emily DeShazer | The Collegian)

“I think it’s surprising that housing increased,” Cricco said. “However, Internet (prices) was down by 12 percent and gas decreased by 11 percent.”

The club gathered price information during the third week of September. In order to ensure consistent scientific data, club members record prices of the same products at the same locations every year.

“It’s important we get the same prices at the same places,” Deneault said. “We want to make sure there are no discrepancies.”

Jones said not every university produces an SPI.

“We’re one of the few colleges that does it (calculates SPI),” Jones said. “The SPI has always been higher than the CPI. The inflation rate is always higher for students.”

According to Deneault, the SPI should be used as a tool by students to become better informed.

“It’s one of those things people should be aware of,” she said. “We’re really proud of it (the SPI). What I hope people take away from it is that they know where they stand on prices. This information is about our students and our community.”