By Jo Carroll
For Holly Michaelson, a slice of pizza represents the struggle many students are experiencing with their finances and going to school.
“I wish I didn't feel conflicted over a $4 slice of cafeteria pizza when I haven’t made it to the store and run out of supplies to bag my lunch,” she said.
As students enter a new semester, the economy continues to see sharp price increases. Since March of 2022 the Federal Reserve has increased interest rates 5 times for an overall total of 3%.
With everything from food, housing, and tuition increasing – a survey of students shows that things are not as they once were.
When asked how the economy has been affecting her life, Michaelson said, “I’ve used the remainder of my savings to pay for school this year, and inflation hasn’t helped. I’ve cut everything out of my budget that isn’t strictly necessary.”
Her story isn’t an uncommon one, with many students across the country facing inflation’s impact on their lives.
Kenzie McCoy, a student at the University of Northern Colorado, said, “It’s hard to find a decent place to live, especially with how expensive utilities are,” saying that her grocery shopping is always on a budget.
Inflation in the United States 40–year record, with the rate of all goods seeing a rise of 8.26% since this time last year.
Food alone has contributed significantly to that number, with the Consumer Price Index showing an increase of 11.4% in just food prices, as reported by the USDA.
When asked how this was impacting her schooling, Michaelson works two jobs, donates plasma, and said she still worries about money. “How could this not impact my learning?”
Other students share similar stories. Jeni Sula, who attends FRCC, said, “I’ve personally had to pick up extra shifts just to make ends meet each month.” She said that this causes her to have less time to focus on her homework and studies.
Despite efforts by the Federal Reserve, the economy doesn’t appear to be cooling down any-time soon.
The Fed’s most recent projections show it anticipates interest rates reaching 5% by 2023.