Inflation is affecting parents’ ability to pay for education: survey

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Amid economic uncertainty, the back-to-school season could have a significant impact on the wallets of American families with children, according to a survey by ScoreSense, a product of One Technologies.

More than half (67%) of parents said inflation is affecting their ability to pay for their children’s education, school supplies and extracurricular activities, the survey said. 

Despite record-high household debt, many American parents expect to take on new debt to cover back-to-school expenses such as supplies, clothing and uniforms. Forty-one percent think they’ll add $100 to $399 in additional debt, according to the survey. And 23% said they expect to carry $400 to $699. On the high end of the spectrum, 4% said they expect to spend $1,000 or more. 

And many Americans could be putting this debt on their credit cards. Thirty-eight percent of parents plan to use credit cards to pay for back-to-school supplies and clothing.

“Regardless of the daily economic headlines, the reality is that inflation continues to challenge many U.S. households,” One Technologies Senior Vice President Carlos Medina said in a statement. 

Parents could also be facing stiff school-related expenses outside the classroom. Many parents said they’d struggle to pay for their kids’ private tutoring and extracurricular activities such as sports, music programs and clubs. In fact, 36% of grade school parents said they are tapping into their savings, and 25% said they’re taking on a second job to help fund these costs.

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Inflation is taking a toll on homeschooling

For parents who provide their children with an education at home, the costs could be troublesome. In particular, 75% of homeschooling parents said inflation is impacting their ability to fund their kids’ education, supplies and extracurricular activities, according to the survey. 

In addition, 60% of these parents are significantly more likely to limit their children’s extracurricular activities as opposed to those in public or private schools, One Technologies reported. And almost 48% of homeschool parents say they’re tapping into their savings to help fund their children’s extracurricular activities.

But the costs of homeschooling can vary widely. The average cost to homeschool can range from $500 to $2,500 per child, per year, according to a post by Tutors.com. Here’s how these costs could break down based on specific factors. 

  • Curriculum and testing fees: $200 – $700
  • Books and supplies: $100 – $600
  • Field trips: $100 – $250
  • Extracurricular activities and sports: $100 – $1,000
  • Part-time tutor (optional): $700 – $4,500
  • Shared private teacher (optional): $12,000 – $35,000
  • Full-time private teacher (optional): $35,000 – $70,000

“Homeschool parents are significantly more affected by inflation,” One Technologies said in its report. 

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Back-to-school spending to reach record high

Parents could find themselves spending more on back-to-school spending than ever before amid ongoing economic turmoil, according to a survey.

Back-to-school spending is expected to reach a record $41.5 billion in 2023, up from $36.9 billion the previous year, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. 

This spike in projected expenses is primarily driven by a rise in demand for electronics and related equipment, according to the survey’s authors. Total spending on electronics is expected to reach a record $15.2 billion. And 69% of respondents said they expect to purchase electronics or other computer-related accessories this year – the highest in the survey’s record. But many parents still have their eyes on savings. 

“Even though consumers plan to spend more on school and college-related items this year, they are still looking to find the best value and deals,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Consumers are stretching their dollars by comparing prices, considering off-brand or store-brand items, and are more likely to shop at discount stores than last year.”

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