Back-to-school, how much does it cost?

With the arrival of September, many families have to make great efforts to be able to afford the high costs of back-to-school expenses. We analyse the cost of it, making a comparison between community school “pública“, semi-private  “concertada” and public “privada” schools.


According to a study by the Organización de Consumidores (OCU), carried out in September 2020 among 1,495 consumers with school-age children, the approximate cost of back-to-school for each pupil is 1,937 euros per year. But how much does it cost by type of school?

The OCU survey compares the cost of a community school, which has an average annual cost of 1,071 euros per pupil, with a cost of 2,633 euros per year if we are talking about a semi-private school and a cost of 6,123 euros per year if we are talking about a public school. If we compare it according to stages of study, the average annual expenditure in Pre-school is 1,837 euros, followed by 2,079 euros in Primary Education, 1,920 euros in Secondary Education and 2,061 euros on average for College.


What expenses should be taken into account?

When it comes to buying smocks, tracksuits and uniforms, the survey states that the average expenditure per pupil is around 170 euros, in this case, with no difference between community, semi-private and public schools. For school materials, spending rises to an average of 115 euros. And with regard to textbooks, there is a big difference in prices depending on the school stage and whether it is a community, semi-private or public school.

Spending on textbooks ranges from 125 euros in the infant stage to an average of 230 euros for college, although it can be much higher depending on the type of school. We must not forget that within the fixed costs we also have to add excursions, insurance, annual fees such as those of parents’ associations, or the purchase of computer equipment that some schools ask students to buy.


Catalonia, the most expensive autonomous community

As monthly expenses, it is necessary to take into account the monthly fees of each centre, in the event that the pupil attends a semi-private or community centre, where the amount can range from 167 euros in semi-private centres, to more than 600 euros in public schools. To this expense extracurricular activities must be added, whether they are sports activities, language or music classes, where the average cost per pupil is around 68 euros depending on the activity. And not forgetting the cost of transport if necessary, adding the cost of the canteen for all those pupils who eat at the school. The OCU study reveals an even more significant economic fact for us: Catalonia is one of the areas of Spain with the highest back-to-school cost, with an average of 2,385 euros per pupil per year.

Each household prepares for the back-to-school period within its financial means, and the cost will be higher if there is more than one child. But it is important to bear in mind that, if you need financial support, you can apply for aid at the school itself, at the town hall, at the Regional Council, in the aid and subsidies section of the website of the Ministerio de Educación y Formación Profesional or on the website of the Departament d’Educació de la Generalitat de Catalunya. With the numbers done for the return to school, it only remains for us to wish you all a good start to the school year in 2021.


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  1. EduMC

    Nosaltres tenim tres fills a escola… una bogeria….

  2. Laura CarlúsLaura Carlús says:

    Ja no parlem si l’alumne amb dificultats d’aprenentatge necessita reeducació especial fora de l’escola.

    • Mireia Cano says:

      Doncs sí Laura, a nivell econòmic suposa un problema afegit per a moltes famílies, també cal recordar-ho.

      3 years ago
  3. Joan Santacruz CarlúsJoan Santacruz Carlús says:
  4. alicia Coiduras Charlesalicia Coiduras Charles says:

    Així que ho anaba llegint pensava que l’educació hauria de ser gratuïta a més d’obligatoria

    • Francesc Serra Carrera says:

      Bon dia Alícia! Són debats permanents i molt interessants. Gràcies!

      3 years ago
  5. Francesc Estafanell PujolFrancesc Estafanell Pujol says:
    Francesc de Borja

    Em pregunto:
    Com cal interpretar que el començament del curs i entenc per extensió tot el curs sigui més car a Catalunya?

    • Jordi CollJordi Coll Planas says:

      Hola, Francesc! Una molt bona pregunta… De totes maneres això sòl anar força lligat al diferent nivell de vida que hi ha a cada regió / autonomia / país… Moltes gràcies pel teu comentari.

      3 years ago
  6. Josep RuaixJosep Ruaix says:

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