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Back-to-school Costs For Classroom And Extracurricular School Supplies Continue To Climb At All Grade Levels This Year, According To The 2013 Huntington Backpack Index Issued By Huntington Bank. (Graphic: Business Wire)

The increasing costs of school supplies and extracurricular activities for students in grades K-12 will dramatically outpace broader consumer price index (CPI) inflation this year, according to Huntington Bank’s eighth annual Backpack Index (NASDAQ: HBAN; Relative to 2012, costs will grow an average of 7.3% for K-12 school supplies compared to 1.39% as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI during the same time period. For the many high school students that will add a mid-priced $300 tablet computer to their back to school list, the Index increases 36%.

In 2013 parents are expected to pay:
  • $577 for elementary school students, a 5.3% increase compared to 2012
  • $763 for middle school students, a 5.3% increase compared to 2012
  • $1,223 for high school students, a 9.5% increase compared to 2012

As with most years, the Index prices backpacks from Big Lots. It also includes traditional school supplies such as paper, pencils and erasers. And it lists the price of renting musical instruments as well as playing sports. No one particular item spiked in price this year. Small increases across the board account for the rising costs.

Since the Backpack Index was first introduced, costs have increased 22% for elementary school students, 43% for middle school students and 23% for high school students. The most dramatic jump occurred in 2011 when pay-for-play fees were either imposed or hiked.

“Huntington launched the Backpack Index in 2007 to help families plan their finances for the school year,” said George Mokrzan, director of economics for Huntington’s wealth management group. “We also recommend that parents use the Index to teach their children how to budget, save and comparison shop. These financial education tips will help prepare them for college and give them a strong foundation for making wise decisions about money throughout their lives.”

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