Student Price Index shows increases in housing costs, decreases in all other categories

(Infographic by Bailey Britton | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State Economics Club’s annual Student Price Index shows a 1.5 percent decrease in student’s cost of living in Manhattan compared to 2019. The SPI uses textbook prices, housing costs, the price of leisure items such as beer and pizza, among other things, as data.

In 2019, the SPI increased by 0.4 percent.

The club said COVID-19 and the slowed economic activity in the United States contributed to the decrease in prices.

“I was surprised to discover that the SPI had fallen from last year, even considering the current economic situation,” Brock O’Brien, senior in economics and club president, said in a press release.

The largest increase was in Greek housing at 6.4 percent. Non-greek housing increased by 2.8 percent.

“Housing prices were down overall a year ago, so even in a deflationary environment, it is not surprising to see an increase in housing prices this year,” Suzanne Roggenkamp, sophomore in economics and club vice president, said. “Generally, someone in Manhattan has discovered that their dollar has more value than it did in previous years.”

The price of gasoline decreased by 20.1 percent, the largest of the categories the economics club tracks.

“I enjoyed working on the SPI this year and the steep drop in fuel prices was something that was not surprising to see,” Cody Murphy, sophomore in engineering, said. “Across the board, travel has been down since March which has massively reduced demand for gas. This drop is also despite a recovery in oil and gas prices since April of this year.”

For the second year, tuition remains steady.

The National Consumer Price Index increased by 1.4 percent from 2019, the club reports.

“The last time we had a lower SPI was 2009 and that was a year, similar to 2020, which was very challenging for our students and our nation at large,” Dan Kuester, club adviser and director of economics undergraduate studies, said.

Since 2002, when the club began tracking the SPI, the index increased by approximately 130 percent.

My name is Bailey Britton and I am the former editor-in-chief of the Collegian. Previously, I have been the assistant news editor and the managing editor. I have also interned for the Manhattan Mercury and the Colby Free Press. I grew up in Colby, Kansas, and I am a junior in journalism and English. Through the Collegian, I aim to provide the K-State community with quality news coverage while we learn to serve our campus.