The main thing on everybody’s mind right now is how they are going to afford the basic necessities they need to live. College students, who typically struggle with money due to being a full-time student, are no exception. As a student myself, this is something I can attest to and can confirm that it is difficult even filling up my car due to how hard inflation has hit our economy. 

In recent times, the rising cost of living has put an unprecedented strain on students, making it challenging to manage expenses beyond tuition and textbooks. Basic needs such as housing, groceries, transportation, and healthcare have become significant financial burdens for students. For many of us, managing these essential costs often feels like a juggling act, where the fear of unexpected expenses can create an atmosphere of constant stress and financial insecurity.

Transportation is a prime example of how economic challenges directly affect students. The increasing fuel prices, coupled with maintenance costs, have made commuting to campus an ordeal for many. As a result, some students have been forced to reconsider their educational choices, with the financial burden of driving or even using public transportation becoming overwhelming.

To get a better perspective on this issue, I interviewed some college students to get their perspective on how inflation is affecting them.

Spencer Jakobs, a marketing student, said, “I live in my fraternity house with all my brothers, and it is still tough to keep food in the house, even though there are a lot of us living there. I have to pay over $1,000 just to be in the frat so that does not really leave me much room to work with, unfortunately. It seems like most of us are living off the classic ramen noodles and frozen pizzas.” It seems like even if you live with roommates’ inflation still affects you in a big way. Having other people to help with groceries and bills is still an effective way to get past these tough times.

Spencer’s experience highlights the widespread impact of inflation on students, even when they have the advantage of living with roommates. In fact, living with roommates can be a helpful way to mitigate some of these challenges, as they can pool their resources to share the burden of groceries and

bills. It is a practical approach that not only eases the financial strain, but also fosters a sense of community and mutual support among students. These challenges underscore the need for increased awareness of the financial pressures that students face and the importance of finding solutions to alleviate their economic burdens. College should be a time of growth, learning, and exploration, but when students are preoccupied with basic survival concerns, it can detract from the overall educational experience.

While roommates can be a lifeline, it is also crucial for institutions and policymakers to consider measures that will support students during these demanding times. Initiatives such as affordable housing options, food assistance programs, and financial literacy resources can make a substantial difference in helping students navigate the financial challenges of higher education.

Chelsey Westerman, a computer science major, said, “I am currently a senior and looking for a place to live once I graduate. It is crazy seeing how expensive rent is for a single-bedroom apartment. It feels like I need to have a roommate or two just to afford rent and groceries. Luckily for me, my degree pays very well so I am hoping I will not have too much trouble affording a place to live, but the same cannot be said for everyone else.” The housing market and prices have also been severely impacted by inflation. Over the years, we have seen the price of rent steadily increase while the average income has barely moved, making it almost impossible to afford a place to live without a dual income.

This highlights the urgency for government, institutions, and communities to address the issue of affordable housing. Creating and implementing housing policies that cater to the needs of young professionals and recent graduates is essential. Additionally, encouraging economic initiatives to bolster average incomes and ensuring that they align with the increasing costs of living can help bridge this growing gap. The steep rise in rent prices is a matter of concern, and it is a trend that has been exacerbated by inflation. This phenomenon is a double-edged sword that impacts not only the recent graduates, but also those who have been in the workforce for some time. The struggle to find affordable housing has become an ever-present obstacle on the path to independence, especially when the average income has shown only minimal growth.

To address these challenges, a comprehensive approach is necessary. Policymakers should explore strategies to tackle housing affordability, including incentives for affordable housing development and measures to limit excessive rent hikes. It is equally important to work on initiatives that promote job growth and wage increases, ensuring that individuals have the means to support themselves in the face of rising living costs.

Jared Buntley, a programming student, said, “I commute to and from school and these gas prices are making my wallet cry. I would say that I must fill up at least once every 2 weeks, which is not horrible, but still sucks. Luckily, my car does rather good on gas and my tank is not very big, so I only spend like 80$ a month on gas. The thing is though I used to only spend like 50$ on gas before inflation hit and gas was near 2$. I hope these prices do not last long and I can go back to being under 40$ for a full tank.” The price of oil has skyrocketed ever since inflation hit and it only seems to be getting worse. It other places, such as California, the price of gas has gotten to be over 6$/gallon. 


            As gas prices surge due to the broader issue of inflation, daily commuters are grappling with the financial implications of more frequent fill-ups. The need to refuel every two weeks or more often has become a financial burden that many hope will not persist in the long term. In the past, when gas prices were closer to $2 per gallon, the cost of filling up a tank was significantly lower, making it much more manageable for budget-conscious individuals. This situation underscores the need for a collective discussion on the effects of inflation on essential commodities like fuel. It is not limited to a single person’s experience but is part of a larger trend that impacts the financial well-being of families and individuals nationwide. In states like California, where gas prices have surpassed $6 per gallon, the problem is even more pronounced, affecting the daily lives of a sizable portion of the population.

The increasing gas prices driven by inflation are indeed having a far-reaching impact, especially on the daily lives of commuters and households across the nation. For those who rely on their vehicles to get to work, school, or any other daily activities, the financial implications of more frequent fill-ups are becoming increasingly burdensome. The need to refuel every two weeks or even more frequently disrupts personal budgets and leaves many individuals hoping for a future where fuel costs are more manageable.

Reflecting on the past when gas prices were closer to $2 per gallon, it is evident that filling up a tank was considerably more affordable for budget-conscious individuals. This historical perspective highlights just how significant the recent price hikes have been and underscores the challenges people face in managing their finances in the wake of this inflationary trend. The issue of rising gas prices goes beyond individual experiences and is indicative of a larger economic trend. It affects not only one’s daily commute, but also the broader financial well-being of families and individuals nationwide. The pressure of increased fuel expenses can be particularly challenging for low and middle-income households, for whom every dollar spent on gas represents a trade-off with other essential needs, such as groceries, healthcare, and education.

Katelyn Webley, a nursing major, said, “Inflation is hitting everything, even the medical industry. Of course, I am not saying the medical bills and all that used to be cheap or anything, but they have managed to get worse. I honestly do not think anyone without medical insurance can see a doctor anymore without having an astronomical bill they cannot pay. It is sad and I hope something changes, I believe everyone should have the ability to stay healthy without it costing them an arm and a leg.” It seems as if no industry is safe from the effects of inflation. That is because once the price of goods starts rising, companies will need to pay more to get those goods and increase their prices. This is the same thing that happens with hospitals; the tools they need increase in price and therefore they must counterbalance that by increasing their prices. 


This predicament underscores the growing concern that many share regarding the accessibility of healthcare. The increasing cost of medical services, medications, and treatments places a heavy financial burden on patients and their families. It often discourages individuals from seeking necessary medical attention, thereby compromising their health and overall well-being. Webley’s observations draw attention to a fundamental economic principle when the prices of goods and services rise, companies and institutions find themselves grappling with increased expenses, which, in turn, necessitates raising the prices they charge. This cycle applies universally across various industries, and healthcare is no exception. As the cost of medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare provision increase, healthcare providers may have no choice but to adjust their pricing.

The issue of soaring healthcare costs is a multifaceted challenge that calls for collective efforts involving healthcare providers, insurance companies, legislators, and the general public. The aim is to strike a balance where individuals can access essential medical care without the crippling burden of overwhelming medical expenses. Finding viable solutions to ensure affordable healthcare for all is essential to safeguard the health and financial well-being of the entire population.


            James Connor, a data science major, said, “It’s probably already been said, but it’s super hard to live by yourself with the way things are. I’m looking to graduate in 2025 and really hope things get better so I have a place to live. If it wasn’t for the school feeding us, I’m not entirely sure if I’d be able to eat dinner very night. I can’t imagine how people who live on their own manage.” As previously mentioned, the price of groceries has gotten out of hand. It seems like every time you go to the store, you walk out having spent 100$ for 10 items. This makes It hard for people who live alone to be able to afford feeding themselves and having their basic needs met.

Connor alluded to the critical role that educational institutions play in providing support to students. School-provided meal plans have become a lifeline for many, ensuring that they have access to regular meals. The challenge of affording food and maintaining a balanced diet is a reality faced by a growing number of individuals, and James’ perspective underscores the importance of such support systems. The issue of rising grocery costs is not limited to a single individual’s experience, but rather is part of a larger trend in the economy. These escalating prices put additional pressure on individuals, especially those who are early in their careers and education, to make difficult choices about their spending. It also raises questions about the accessibility of nutritious food and the importance of addressing food insecurity.

Everyone struggles when inflation hits, but it is particularly hard for those in college. This is because they are full-time students and have little time to work and make money to be able to afford the steep prices that inflation has caused. Everything from groceries and gas to medical bills has risen and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. To aid yourself in getting through these hard times, be sure to limit spending to necessities and save up. Inflation will eventually pass, but it is hard to say when that will be. 

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