BULLS EYEInflation is on the rise in Europe. This is now starting to pose a serious problem for our society, but especially one group is more exposed than others, that is us that are currently studying for our higher education. The increased cost of living makes being a full time student even more challenging.
Eurostat reports that Euro area annual inflation was 8.6% in January 2023. This is more than four times higher than the European Central Bank’s traditional inflation target of 2% annual inflation. Battling inflation and going back on track to the 2% inflation target is paramount for a stable Europe.
Inflation is hurting European consumers, and no one is more exposed to the dangers of rampant inflation than us, students. Many students rely on student loans and/or governmental study grants. With rampant inflation, many students face higher consumer prices but, unlike many workers that also get increased wages, students reliant on loans and grants usually get a real decrease in their income.
Europe needs an educated workforce, and higher education is one of our most important competitive advantages. That is why inflation and harder times for students also is a major problem for Europe as a whole. If this rampant inflation continues, we may see a situation where fewer young people are able to start higher education.
So what is the solution? Firstly we need to combat inflation. However, combating inflation is no easy task. That is why we also need to implement measures to ensure that higher education still is available for as many as possible. Europe is a diverse continent and how each country meets these challenges is of course different. In the Nordic countries public grants are the most important source of income for students. One solution is to in a bigger degree adjust the grants against the rising cost of living.
It is clear that students are a vulnerable group. But yet we are the key to solve the challenges ahead. We not only need the national governments of Europe to act to ensure our ability to keep studying for our education. We also need the European Union as a whole to secure that no matter where in Europe you are studying, you have the support necessary to weather this inflation crisis.
There is no clear solution to this issue. My goal with this article is to put a spotlight on the dangers of inflation, especially for young people in Europe. Inflation is a problem and challenge for everyone, but as students, we are especially exposed. My hope is that the current economic situation in Europe is soon improving, but in the meanwhile we need to act.