Being a college student is a full time job in itself, but add on the pressure of having to work an actual job and you have a whole other set of responsibilities. This has always been a common struggle for students who support themselves by paying rent, buying groceries, and especially the Texas State students who pay everything including college, themselves.
This is especially relevant in the year 2022, because a majority of the United States is currently experiences higher prices on many things. Prices have been rising on a lot of essential things needed to live . This effects everybody, but to the college students who are barely getting by as it is, this can add a lot of stress. Since a full-time student can not simultaneously work a full-time job while also being a student, when prices go up it is hard to be able to make enough money while still giving your full attention to schoolwork.
“There is definitely a problem of rising prices right now”, says Abel Eparza, a manager at one of our local grocery stores. Abel has worked at the San Marcos H-E-B for eight years and says he has seen a change in how students grocery shop for sure. “Not only have I seen prices rise, but it seems like the students I see shopping just seem very stressed about what and how much they are purchasing”, Eparza says. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor and Statistics, prices for groceries has shot up 13.5% in the past year. (https://abcnews.go.com) Worrying about what to eat is just another thing a college student shouldn’t have to worry about while trying to further their education.
Texas State University has some programs to help ease the problem of money for students, but is it enough? Obviously there is financial aide, but that doesn’t help with rent or food. Often times Texas State suggests to get an on-campus job. Which like most jobs, it does not pay enough hourly to be able to handle your expenses stress-free. Studies have shown that it would take around 28 hours of work a week to match the cost of annual tuition. (https://nces.ed.gov). That is not even including the price of food, rent, etc. These students are expected to pay things that would require a full-time job to succeed. Adding school to this not only adds an insane amount of stress, but there is simply no time in the day to accomplish all of this with no problems. Young employed college students have more on their plate than others with working, schoolwork, and also the social aspects of being in college. So, expecting them to pay prices that are meant to be paid by full-time workers many students are set up for failure. More Texas State programs are needed to relieve the stress of inflation
A big problem in the rising prices is that students tend to worry about the problems that are right in front of them first. Especially since student’s jobs have a schedule for the week there is no choice but to go, when doing well in school is a personal choice. “I feel like working drains you and makes you focus on just making it to work, and not school. Paying rent is just prioritized more which it shouldn’t be”, Charles Bicknell, a Texas State Junior says. If rent is due or a student is struggling with buying food, schoolwork will be put on the back-burner until that is dealt with. “The jobs just don’t cut it anymore. I feel like the prices are going up and the pay is staying the exact same”, Bicknell says.
The effect of these rising prices have a big effect on everyone. Bella Mandell, a Texas State junior, says she 110% believes that things are getting impossible to pay for. “I just cry”, Mandell says when asked how she handles the stress. Although college is a great opportunity, these money problems put a dark cloud over student’s heads.