DeKALB — Inflation affects everything from food to homes to retail. For students, especially commuting students, gas, food, and tuition are the biggest issues. What does this mean for the future?
Professor Carl Campbell III, head of the economics department, explains that inflation tells us how much prices vary on average from year to year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics samples certain goods and services that are part of our economy and observes how prices change. From this, the Bureau can find an average inflation rate.
What happened to tuition fees?
Tuition has risen in price, according to College Councilwith the public school average up 1.6% and the private school average up 2.1% in fall 2021. Students are wondering how to survive while keeping up with the inconsistent prices.
“It’s going to make things more expensive for students with higher gas prices and higher food prices,” Campbell said. “For working students, wages have gone up, not as much as inflation. This would help pay the higher prices, having more income.
If you’re worried or stressed about your tuition, there are two places on campus to talk to. There is the Financial advice service for students where an advisor will help you set up a multi-year plan to cover the cost of being a student. If you already have a plan, you can always talk to a advise to the Campus Life Building for mental health support.
What causes inflation?
According PA Newsconsumer inflation jumped to 8.5% in July 2022 from a year ago.
A number of things are causing the current price fluctuation. First, the war between Russia and Ukraine has driven up oil and wheat prices. With the war showing no signs of abating, gas prices in the United States will continue to fluctuate quite wildly.
“The price of oil is going up and gasoline is being made from crude oil,” Campbell said. “So when there’s a rise in crude oil prices, that means (gas will have the) highest prices.”
Gasoline prices fell in the United States, with Illinois posting about a 70 cent drop from last month to now. But Illinois is still in the top 10 highest prices in the country, according to AAA.
The government is unable to control prices, but there are bills and laws that need to be passed, including the Inflation Reduction Act which President Biden adopted on August 16. This will target health care, energy and taxes to help families and students save more.
COVID-19 is another major cause of inflation. During the shutdowns, COVID cut 22 million jobs, families got stimulus checks and demand was down. After the shutdowns, businesses struggled to replace those jobs and meet the demand of families spending more than their usual income.
“There’s a lot of high demand due to stimulus payments during COVID,” Campbell said. “(A) typical family of four got maybe $10,000 in extra income, which resulted in expenses. This drives up prices; this creates more demand for goods and services.
These goods and services include food, clothing and travel. The Washington Post reported that grocery prices are 12.2% higher than last summer. This is the highest spike in 43 years, according to federal data from the Washington Post article.
To combat these prices, a multitude of options are available to students.
- For commuters, NIU still offers many on line courses and degrees.
- For food, students can buy a meal plan whether they live in the dorms or off campus.
- For clothes, Closet Huskies is a great way to save, and it’s available not just to students, but to the community as a whole.
- For tuition, there is financial aid and scholarships Applying for.