Survey Looks at Educator Finances

A national survey by NEA conducted in November 2020 found that two of every three members (68 percent) reported that a staff member at their school or institution had a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. Nearly the same number, 66 percent knew of a confirmed student case.

Overall, 52 percent of educators have paid for all or part of the cost of personal protective equipment for use in school, and 24 percent have covered all or part of the cost of such equipment for student use.

The survey sought to gather data about educator financial circumstances and experiences and to inform economic programs and student debt relief initiatives.

The survey addressed educator pay and benefits, economic effects of the pandemic and student loan debt.

Respondents included pre-K-12 educators, higher education members and education support professionals.

The survey found:

  • Educators have spent an average of $251 on pandemic-related resources, with pre-K-12 educators spending an average of $291 and higher education members spending an average of $280.
  • More than a third (35 percent) of pre-K-12 educators said the pandemic has made them more likely to retire or leave education earlier than planned. One in four higher education professionals said the same.
  • Overall, 38 percent of educators reported working full-time from home. Higher education professionals (52 percent) and ESPs (55 percent) were most likely to be working from home.
  • Pre-K-12 ESPs were most likely to be working full-time in-person at 58 percent, followed by pre-K-12 teachers at 41 percent.
  • Pre-K-12 teachers were the least likely to have experienced a reduction in work hours, pay or benefits, a furlough or temporary layoff, or a permanent layoff. Overall, 29 percent of educators experienced at least one of these impacts.
  • The percentage of educators participating in at least one of 11 government and social safety net programs increased from 20 percent prior to the pandemic to 32 percent since March 2020.