(WWLP) – In preparation for the start of the new academic year, consumers normally spend a lot of money on essentials. How much money is invested in electronics, clothing, shoes, and supplies before college starts?
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), students and their families plan to spend $1,199 on average. Total spending for university students was estimated at $74 billion. This is an increase of $19.5 billion since 2019.
In Western Massachusetts, more than 730 students have already moved to Western New England University, hundreds more have also arrived at American International College. While those of Amherst College students move in this weekend.
As students settled into their new dorms this week, dorm/apartment furniture was a big expense item. NRF says $10 billion should have been spent on dorm/apartment furnishings. However, the amount of money spent on electronics exceeds $18 billion. While $10 billion is also to be spent on clothing, electronics, dorm/apartment furnishings, and clothing, American families will invest in college.
College costs this year have been covered by consumers borrowing money/going into debt, taking out additional credit cards, using buy now/pay later, working overtime or taking overtime or reducing in other areas.
The following chart shows these categories broken down into percentages. Each percentage represents the number of people represented for each category.
Due to the state of the economy, consumers are shopping on sale more often, doing more comparison shopping online, buying more store brand/generic products, and sticking with last year’s school items, according to NRF. Their next expense will be books, if not already purchased.
According to an Education Data 2022 report, the average college textbook costs around $105.37. The average full-time in-state undergraduate student at a public four-year university pays $1,226 in an academic year for books and supplies due to a 43.6% drop in spending on course material over ten years. However, the report indicated that 25% of students worked overtime to pay for their books and materials. In order to afford books and course materials, 11% skipped meals.
Education data offers students the following tips for saving on books:
- Apply for book scholarships
- Use your tax credit
- Search open educational resources
- Looking for discounts or access programs
- Buy past editions
- Looking for Global or International Editions
- Buy used or rental books
- Share books
- Ask ahead or wait to buy
These essential items represent only a fraction of the total expenses incurred by students. Other expenses include tuition and fees. According to a White House statement/release, further actions are to be announced by the Department of Education in the coming weeks to seek relief, following President Biden’s announcement of relief from the student debt for low to middle income borrowers. Also, to keep college costs under control for new students and current students.