Parental Anxiety Plummets Amid Reduced 2021 COVID Risks

College Back-to-School Spending Increases

According to the 2021 Deloitte back-to-college survey, parental anxiety over sending their college students back to school was cut in half since 2020. This is largely thought to be due to more and more colleges requiring student vaccinations.

The boost in confidence in attending in-person classes led to a boost in spending. The average parent spent over $1,400 on back-to-college supplies.

Curious how your spending habits compare to those in the survey?

Checkout these key findings:

  • The average spending of $1,459 on back-to-college supplies is up 8 percent from last year. 
  • Tech is a mainstay. Ironically, as students go back to in-person classes, technology spending is expected to rise almost 20 percent. Families prepare for anything from courses going partially digital to increased tech use in classroom assignments.
  • 35 percent of purchases are online. However, social media is much of less of an influence than it is for high schoolers. For the most part, this is a good trend for both parents and college students. After all, you want to make purchases because of careful thought and lists of needed items. Clicking on social media posts for purchases often increases impulse spending. 
  • Social media is a good source of reviews for eventual product purchases. Families are looking everywhere from Amazon to blog posts for products reviews.
  • Dorm and apartment furniture are the biggest expenditures for middle-income families. Common purchases include desks, bedding, and lamps. Microwaves or a small fridge, when allowed in the dorm, are solid purchases for reducing spending on dining out or purchase a smaller meal plan. 
  • A third of parents will visit a home electronics store like Best Buy or the Apple Store to buy items they need for their student’s education. The in-store element increases the need to come in with a list of items that are required. After all, seeing all sorts of cool gadgets in one place can lead any of us to overspend.
  • 75 percent of college parents are in the same or better financial position than last year. Half of parents have more confidence in the economy overall.


It’s a big year for spending on back-to-college. Whether you spend upwards of $1,500 or not, it’s good news that parents are feeling confident in both the economy and in the health safety of their college-aged students.