Huntington's 13th Annual Backpack Index Spotlights the Role of Technology in Rising Back-to-School Costs

Huntington donates 1,000 tablets, computers and other connected devices to K-12 students

COLUMBUS, Ohio, and ARLINGTON, Va., July 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The 13th annual Huntington (Nasdaq: HBAN; Backpack Index, a barometer for household spending on school supplies and related fees, reports a significant increase in costs for American families with children attending elementary, middle and high school. Developed in collaboration with Communities In Schools, a national nonprofit supporting at-risk students in K-12 public schools, the 2019 Huntington Backpack Index features an updated methodology reflecting the increased reliance on connected devices for completing school work.

According to a survey of Communities In Schools affiliates across 26 states and the District of Columbia, 62% of respondents reported that elementary school students are at least sometimes asked to submit assignments from home via connected devices. The same figure jumped to 88% for middle school students and 94% for students attending high schools.

Since 2007, the Huntington Backpack Index has tracked classroom supply and school fee costs to highlight the burden of school expenses beyond assessed taxes. Addressing the need for access to connected devices at home, the 2019 index added the cost of a basic laptop and home internet to the usual collection of classroom supplies and extracurricular fees. For the upcoming year, according to the Huntington Backpack Index, parents can expect to pay per child: 

  • $1,017 for elementary school supplies, extracurricular fees and technology
  • $1,277 for middle school supplies, extracurricular fees and technology
  • $1,668 for high school supplies, extracurricular fees and technology

"For 13 years, the Huntington Backpack Index has provided a benchmark for American families to prepare for the real financial impact of sending their children to school," said Andy Harmening, Huntington senior executive vice president and head of consumer and business banking. "With changing demands on students to complete daily assignments on connected devices, we not only felt it important to revisit our methodology, but also to do our part in setting up our communities' students for success in the classroom."

Huntington Bank regularly donates refurbished electronics to organizations in need. This year, the Columbus-based bank will donate 1,000 refurbished devices, including tablets, desktops, laptops, routers, servers and wireless access points, to Communities In Schools affiliates located within Huntington's Midwest footprint.

"All students, regardless of their family's income, should have the tools required to do their best work inside the classroom and at home," said Communities In Schools Chief Program and Innovation Officer, Heather Clawson, Ph.D. "With resources stretched inside schools, teachers need nonprofits, members of the community and corporate partners to help bridge the school supply and technology gap."    

Huntington Backpack Index Methodology 

Huntington collaborated with Communities In Schools to survey affiliates across 26 states plus the District of Columbia. Affiliates were asked to identify items typically on supply lists for elementary, middle and high school students. Classroom supplies receiving at least 30% of the votes were included in the 2019 Huntington Backpack Index. Affiliates were also asked to estimate extracurricular fees and the use of technology to complete classroom assignments. Costs of supplies and technology equipment 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 $108 billion of assets and a network of 898 full-service branches, including 12 Private Client Group offices, and 1,727 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 vehicle finance, 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 2,300 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. Join our community at

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