Skip to Content

Communities In Schools Provides Back-to-School Saving Tips for Parents

Aug. 21, 2019

ARLINGTON, Va. – Communities In Schools, a national nonprofit supporting at-risk students in K-12 schools, today released a list of money-saving tips for parents concerned about the rising cost of sending their children back to school. The tip list was created in connection with the Backpack Index which shows a significant increase in back-to-school costs for families with children attending elementary, middle and high school. The Index, a measure of household spending on school supplies and fees, is an annual collaboration of Huntington Bank and Communities In Schools.

For the upcoming year, according to the Backpack Index, parents can expect to pay per child: 

  • $1,017 for elementary school supplies, extracurricular fees and technology
  • $1,277 for middle school supplies, extracurricular fees and technology
  • $1,668 for high school supplies, extracurricular fees and technology

“Parents are rushing out to stores with school supply lists and in some cases overwhelmed by the costs,” said Communities In Schools President & CEO Dale Erquiaga. “This list is designed to help take the pressure off their wallets and ensure their kids have the tools they need to do their best work inside the classroom and at home.”

Communities In Schools offered the following tips for parents:

  • Reuse School Supplies:  Often, students end their previous school year with a few unused supplies in their backpacks such as gently used notebooks or rulers and scissors that are still in good shape. Encourage your child to save money and live sustainably by making use of items that can be reused.
  • Organize a Swap: As kids age, some school supply items like calculators, flash drives and combination locks can be passed down to younger siblings or swapped with neighbors and friends.
  • Shop Wisely: Utilize deep discount stores for small ticket items like pencils and sharpies that are frequently used throughout the year. Also take advantage of your state’s tax-free shopping days, if available.
  • Start Small: Purchase only the items on the list that you are sure your child will need within the first half of the school year. Often there may be other items, like index cards, dry-erase markers and storage bags that might not be needed immediately and can be purchased at a later date.  
  • Research Community Resources: Nonprofits, faith-based groups and even corporations often organize backpack drives or school supply giveaways to help families who are struggling to fill the school supply gap. Ask your school, local Communities In Schools affiliate or other community-based organization what resources are available. 

Some parents are also struggling this year to accommodate growing requests for their children to have access to technology at home.  According to a survey of Communities In Schools affiliates across 26 states and the District of Columbia, 62% of respondents reported that elementary school students are asked to submit assignments from home via a connected device at least sometimes. The same figure jumped to 88% for middle-school students and 94% for students attending high schools.

In response to that need, this year’s Backpack Index added the cost of a basic laptop and home internet to the usual collection of classroom supplies and extracurricular fees to help parents better approximate the cost of connectivity at home.  Additionally, Huntington Bank -- which regularly donates refurbished electronics to organizations in need -- has donated 1,000 refurbished devices, including tablets, desktops, laptops, routers, servers and wireless access points, to Communities In Schools affiliates located within Huntington’s Midwest footprint.

About Communities In Schools

Communities In Schools (CIS) is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to empowering at-risk students to stay in school and on a path to a brighter future. Working directly inside more than 2,300 schools across the country, we connect kids to caring adults and community resources designed to help them succeed. We do whatever it takes to ensure that all kids—regardless of the challenges they may face—have what they need to realize their potential.

About Huntington

Huntington Bancshares Incorporated is a regional bank holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, with $108 billion of assets and a network of 898 full-service branches, including 12 Private Client Group offices, and 1,727 ATMs across eight Midwestern states. Founded in 1866, The Huntington National Bank and its affiliates provide consumer, small business, commercial, treasury management, wealth management, brokerage, trust, and insurance services. Huntington also provides vehicle finance, equipment finance, national settlement, and capital market services that extend beyond its core states. Visit for more information.

Are You #AllinforKids?

Join our community of changemakers and stay connected with us! 

Learn more about the work Communities In Schools is doing and help us set students up for success in the classroom and beyond.