2018 Teacher Survey on Classroom Spending

In April 2018, invited all teachers registered on our website to complete a survey about their spending on classroom supplies. Our intent was to better understand how much teachers are spending out of pocket on supplies for their classroom and students and if/how this has changed since our 2015 survey.

More than 4,400 teachers responded to the survey. The information that they provided paints a picture of an increasing need for funding to purchase classroom supplies that otherwise cannot be provided by students’ families or by the schools. We found that teachers are significantly increasing their personal expenditures to meet the needs of their students.

Here are some of the key findings from the survey:

  • Our 2018 survey revealed that out-of-pocket spending on classroom supplies by teachers had increased by more than 23% to $740 per year. When we last surveyed teachers in 2015, the average out-of-pocket spending was $600 per year.
  • Nearly 28% of teachers surveyed spent more than $1,000 of their own funds each year. This is an increase of more than 30% since 2015.
  • More than 92% of teachers surveyed reported that some of their students’ families could not afford to purchase any school supplies.
  • Nearly 96% of teachers surveyed purchased basic supplies for their classrooms (pencils, folders, paper) in the 2018-2019 school year.
  • Classroom budgets provided to teachers by their schools are small, not nearly enough to meet the yearly classroom needs for teachers. A majority of teachers surveyed expected their budgets to be an average of $212 per year. The same teachers told us that they typically spend that amount during the first several weeks of the school year.

At, we believe that every child should have access to the resources they need to be successful in school. These startling statistics from our 2018 teacher survey highlight the fact that the need for teachers to spend their own money to do their job is only increasing. This fact only underscores the importance of’s mission of powering today’s classrooms to prepare tomorrow’s graduates.

You can provide immediate relief to educators so they can purchase what they need to respond to dire situations like COVID-19. Please consider a gift to’s Disaster Relief Fund here. With your help we can support kids who need distance learning supplies during this difficult time.

Are you a teacher in need of supplies? Register your classroom on to crowdfund for supplies.

As of spring 2023, teacher out-of-pocket spending on supplies increased to an average of $860 a year.

Get the latest research from our 2023 survey here.