UTC students concerned for future due to rising inflation

Rising costs in gas, food leave some Mocs anxious for entering the workforce

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — Graduating college is a massive accomplishment and is often met with optimism about the future.

However, with rampant inflation, some students at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga are concerned about what’s next once their time at school is done.

“It’s crazy,” said junior political science student DaVeon Hall. “Two years ago, gas was $1.89 and now it’s $4.09.”

Hall has one year left at UTC and says that the already tight college budget has become that much tighter over the past few weeks.

“Some of us don’t even have jobs to pay for gas to get home,” Hall said. “You have to fill up your tank and it’s $50, where [is] the $50 coming from? Most of our parents don’t support us all the way. It’s hard to get through and try to figure things out.

Spring break officially begins Monday, March 14, at UTC but due to recent price hikes, some students can no longer afford to go back home.

Even though home is only a two-hour drive away, sophomore theater student Courtney Parrish will stay on campus rather than leave.

“Every time I go home, it’s going to be $50 just to drive there and back,” Parrish said. “I was driving to one of my friend’s houses about ten miles away last night and I saw the gas price was $4.09. That just sent alarm bells going off in my brain.”

The school’s next batch of graduates will receive their diplomas in just a matter of months.

With gas, food, and other necessities of living on the rise, senior communications student Zac Gafford says he’s feeling more anxious about leaving UTC and beginning his career.

“When you see the prices increase, it’s got me nervous because the real world, as they call it, is a bit scary to begin with,” Gafford said. “But when you see the prices of everything almost essentially doubling overnight, that’s kind of nerve-racking — how I’m going to pay for that and balance a full-time career, potentially a family [in] years to come.”

Despite rising prices, Hall said he’s optimistic about the city’s and country’s economic future, saying what goes up must always come down.

Parrish, on the other hand, was far less optimistic and fully expects gas to eventually reach $7 a gallon.

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