# What is the purchasing power of the student?

Every day we deal with many problems and struggle for life. But it would not be wrong to say that the issue that is most on our agenda is the changing purchasing power due to inflation. Because despite all our work and efforts, our purchasing power is constantly decreasing and we are becoming poorer. Of course, we can address this issue from many different angles. But in this article, we will examine how rising inflation affects students.

TUIK announced the inflation rates for October. It is necessary to include these data before starting the analysis. According to TUIK’s data:

- Consumer price index (CPI) increased by 19.89% annually and 2.39% monthly
- Domestic producer price index (D-PPI) increased by 46.31% annually and 5.24% monthly

Let’s look at the data from the Higher Education Council (YÖK). In the 2020-2021 academic year, there are 8 million 240 thousand 997 students enrolled in higher education. Of these students, 1 million 900 thousand 647 are enrolled in first or second education. When we look at the statistics of students in first and second education receiving KYK loans or scholarships, the situation is as follows: 969,237 students receive loans and 447,554 students receive scholarships. In simpler terms, 5 out of 10 students receive loans and 2 out of 10 students receive scholarships. (Alemdar, 2021)

2021 Loans and Dormitories Institution (KYK) scholarship / loan amount was determined as 650 TL. In the near future, it is expected to be announced how much the scholarship / loan amount will be increased in 2022. Now let’s compare the value of 650 TL a year ago with the value of 650 TL now and the things that can be bought with these amounts.

## Changing Purchasing Power in One Year

- When we want to buy a product that we can buy with 650 TL in October 2020, we have to pay 779.29 TL in October 2021.
- In 2020, 1.7 g of gold can be bought with a KYK scholarship/loan of 550 TL, while 1.2 g of gold can be bought with a KYK scholarship/loan of 650 TL in 2021.
- Again, while 93 Dollars can be bought for 550 TL in 2020, 78 Dollars can be bought for 650 TL in 2021.

(Alemdar, 2021)

When we look at this data, we can clearly see how much the Turkish Lira has depreciated and therefore how the purchasing power has decreased. To give another concrete example, let’s look at the data in our Student Economy Report, which we published in 2020 as the Arayuz Campaign. Erzincan Binali Yıldırım University Faculty of Law 4th grade student had to pay 524 TL in order to buy the books required for his education. In 2021, the student needs to pay 928 TL to buy the same books. In this case, the KYK scholarship/loan received by the student is not even enough for the books he needs for his education.

Unfortunately, it is possible to extend this list. Considering that many students live on KYK scholarship/loan, it is of great importance for students that the new increase is proportional to inflation. When we look at the statistics on this issue, we cannot be very hopeful. Let’s take a look at the amounts of KYK scholarships/loans given according to the last 5 years and the adaptation of these amounts to today’s inflation:

- The equivalent of a 425 TL KYK scholarship/loan in 2017 is 768.09 TL today
- The equivalent of the KYK scholarship/loan of 470 TL in 2018 is 720.48 TL today
- The equivalent of the KYK scholarship/loan of 500 TL in 2019 is 666.09 TL today
- The equivalent of a 550 TL KYK scholarship/loan in 2020 is 655.89 TL today
- And in 2021, students received a scholarship/credit of 650 TL.

As can be seen, the amount of KYK scholarships and loans given according to the inflation rate in the country has constantly decreased. Therefore, the purchasing power of the student has also decreased significantly. However, there is no such decrease in repayment. Despite the decrease in purchasing power, the debt to be paid by the student is increasing day by day. Because the debt calculation is based on D-PPI. At the beginning of the article, I gave the rates announced by TUIK. This means that a student whose debt is calculated today will be asked to repay 146.31 TL for every 100 TL he received. Young people who already have difficulty finding a job start life with a huge debt.

### And where are these problems in students’ lives being discussed?

More importantly, what is being done to solve it. Let’s look first from the perspective of decision-makers. When it is time (!), it enters the agenda of decision-makers and becomes the subject of discourse. When we look at it from the point of view of the addressees of the problem, i.e. the students, they mostly talk about their experiences through social media and express their demands for a solution.

Decision-makers who look from the outside are insufficient to understand the problem. This causes them to fail to produce solutions. For these reasons, it is clearly seen that there is a problem of representation in the problems that cannot be solved. There is also a problem of representation behind the fact that the KYK scholarship/loan amount or repayment problems for loans cannot be solved in any way, on the contrary, it continues to increase its impact. In order for these problems to be solved, young people, who are the addressees of the problem, must also have a say at the decision-making tables. Otherwise, we cannot and will not go beyond producing popular discourses as in the past.