EPI's weekly illustration of education data trends — October 5, 2017

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Historic and Projected Expenditures for Public School Students

1989-90 to 2025-26 (2014-15 Constant Dollars)


In 2015-16, the average expenditure for public school students in the United States was projected at $10,870, based on 2015-16 constant dollar inflationary calculations. As can be seen in the graphic, after a long series of rises in the average per pupil expenditure starting in late 1990s, this trend topped out in 2008-09 at $11,621 and has been in a decline since. The inflation-adjusted increase between 1989-90 and 2008-09 was 23 percent. The decline between 2008-09 and 2013-14 was 8 percent in real dollars.

The graphic also projects that this amount will increase on an average of about 1.5 percent per year until reachingn approximately $12,490 in 2025-26. Over the course of this graphic, the per pupil expenditures will have increased 44 percent above inflation by 2025-26, averaging 1.2 percent above inflation per year.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Com- mon Core of Data (CCD), “National Public Education Financial Survey,” 1989–90 through 2012–13; National Elementary and Secondary Enrollment Projection Model, 1972 through 2025;  and  Public  Elementary  and  Secondary  Education  Current  Expenditure  Projection Model, 1973–74 through 2025–26. Retrieved from the web on October 5, 2017.

NOTE: These data are based on fall enrollment counts in public schools.