Students paying slightly more for goods, services than last year

Graphic by Emily Starkey

Students at Kansas State are paying more for goods and services than they did last year, according to the Student Price Index. The Student Price Index, which was calculated by the Economics Club, shows the cost of living for students at K-State experienced 2 percent inflation from last year.

The SPI has been calculated by the Economics Club since 2002 and is similar to the Consumer Price Index, which is calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Both indexes are tools that measure yearly inflation.

Comparatively, inflation for students at K-State was higher than inflation for the country. The Student Price Index was 2 percent while the Consumer Price Index was 1.5 percent.

The 2 percent inflation for students was not as high as it has been in previous years. Since 2002, 7 percent has been the average rate of increase.

“Overall, I’d have to say it was kind of anticlimactic,” Paige Porter, junior in economics and vice president of the Economics Club, said. “The prices have stayed the same, which is good for us. Not too much changed, and there’s not too much harm either. So that’s good to hear as a student in college, definitely.”

The Student Price Index was calculated using data collected by the students in the Economics Club, who checked prices at various locations in Manhattan. Included in the data are prices for gas, groceries, tuition, beer, housing, textbooks, pizza and movies, not including tax.

“It’s where we have to spend our money … it’s all needed necessities,” Porter said.

Matthew Zuiss, senior in finance and member of the Economics Club, collected price information and also did calculations with the data. He said he was surprised when he first saw the Student Price Index for this year.

“I was kind of surprised,” Zuiss said. “It was mostly flat — it hasn’t really changed that much.”

That lack of high inflation, Zuiss said, means student buying power did not decrease. In fact, there were a few areas where students actually saw cheaper prices for goods. For example, the average cost of non-greek housing decreased by $5.50.

Porter said it was “shocking” that gas saw no inflation from last year.

Students saw increased costs in groceries by 1.9 percent, tuition by 5.8 percent and movies by 8 percent. Costs decreased for non-greek housing by 0.5 percent and textbooks by 0.7 percent. All other categories remained unchanged.

Porter said the work involved in calculating the Student Price Index involved what is covered in her classes.

“It’s basically just going down to reality, what you talk about in class all day,” Porter said.

Jason Tidd graduated from Kansas State University's Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communication in May 2017. He was the spring 2017 editor-in-chief, fall 2016 news editor and spring 2016 assistant news editor. While at K-State, Jason played baritone in the Pride of Wildcat Land marching band.