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New 2018 Backpack Index Reveals Price Dip In School Supplies

By Communities In Schools July 31, 2018

COLUMBUS, OH, and ARLINGTON, VA – As families prepare to send their children back to school this summer, they can plan to spend a little less on classroom supplies than they did in 2017. The 2018 Huntington Backpack Index, released by Huntington Bank in cooperation with Communities In Schools, reveals a cost reduction in school supplies for the 2018-19 school year, the first year-over-year decreases for elementary and middle school supply costs in the past five years.

While school fees remained largely flat, and college preparatory materials were up 10 percent from the previous year, the costs of classroom supplies dropped across all grade levels. For the 2018-2019 school year, according to the Huntington Backpack Index, parents can expect to pay per child:

  • $637 for elementary school children, a 4 percent decrease compared to 2017.
  • $941 for middle school children, a 6 percent decrease compared to 2017.
  • $1,355 for high school students, 9 percent decrease compared to 2017.

Download the full school supply list here.

Since 2007, the Huntington Backpack Index has tracked classroom supply and school fee costs to highlight the burden of school expenses beyond assessed taxes. The Index is limited to required supplies and common fees.

“The annual Huntington Backpack Index serves as a useful tool for our clients and American families everywhere to budget their yearly expenditures,” said George Mokrzan, chief economist for Huntington Bank. “While the 2018 index found some good news for families, parents continue to pay significant sums to equip their children for a successful school year.”

For families living in poverty, addressing the cost demands of a K-12 education can be a challenge. Recognizing the burden, many teachers step in to support. A recent survey from the National Center for Education Statistics found that 94 percent of public school teachers pay for classroom supplies. Public school teachers spend on average $479 per year on classroom supplies, with some spending more than $1,000 out of their own pockets. Communities In Schools provides supplies to students in need as well as partnering public school systems so teachers don't have to pay out of pocket to equip their classrooms.

“We need to ensure that every child in America comes to school equipped for success,” said Dale Erquiaga, president and CEO of Communities In Schools. “Regardless of reduction in cost, the price of school supplies remains a challenge for low-income families and for teachers who often supplement supplies for their classrooms. That’s why we bring existing community resources inside schools to make sure that no student starts out behind.”

Huntington Backpack Index Methodology 

Huntington annually obtains classroom-supply lists from a cross-section of elementary, middle and high schools throughout the eight states it serves and compiles a representative list of required supplies and fees. Costs are determined by selecting moderately priced items at national online retailers.

About Huntington

Huntington Bancshares Incorporated is a regional bank holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, with $105 billion of assets and a network of 968 branches and 1,831 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 auto dealer, equipment finance, national settlement and capital market services that extend beyond its core states. Visit for more information.

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 2,500 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.

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