Whether you have fond memories of a favorite teacher growing up or you've had the opportunity to watch your own child learn and grow before your eyes, there's no doubt that teachers at every level work hard to support their students. In many cases, this even includes teachers buying school supplies with their own money, so every student has what they need to succeed. In fact, survey data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) estimates that 94 percent of K-12 teachers spend some amount of money on supplies without any form of reimbursement.
How Much Do Teachers Spend Out of Pocket?
According to the most recent release of the National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS), the average teacher spends $547 each year on school supplies with no reimbursement (inflation adjusted to 2022 dollars). This average includes the roughly six percent of teachers who don't pay anything out of pocket, so the true average for those who do is likely closer to $582 per year.
To view this trend in more detail, we accessed the most recent release of the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), which collected data on teacher spending at the state level. The map above paints a picture of how much teachers pay out of pocket for supplies every year across each state, including Washington, DC (inflation adjusted to 2022 dollars). Averages by state range from a low of $374 in North Dakota to a high of $760 in California. There are several factors likely impacting the variance in spending, including cost of living, but our biggest takeaway is the widespread generosity of teachers across the country. Below is a detailed list of spending by state.
A Great Way to Say Thank You
Given how much is spent by teachers buying school supplies, it's clear how dedicated they are to helping their students move forward in their educational journey. If you want to say thanks to the educator in your life, we've curated a collection of thoughtful teacher appreciation gifts. From mugs and candles to pieces with inspirational messages, there's sure to be a gift that conveys how much they mean to you.
- National Center for Education Statistics. "Public School Teacher Spending on Classroom Supplies." https://nces.ed.gov. 28 April 2022.
- National Center for Education Statistics. "National Teacher and Principal Survey." https://nces.ed.gov. 28 April 2022.
- National Center for Education Statistics. "Schools and Staffing Survey." https://nces.ed.gov. 28 April 2022.
- US Inflation Calculator. "Inflation Calculator." https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/. 28 April 2022.