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Regional Cost Differences in Education

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Per-pupil expenditures (PPEs) are frequently reported school finance statistics. However, the cost of delivering a public education varies widely across regions and states due to such factors as differences in local labor markets. In Quality Counts 2008, the EPE Research Center adjusted PPEs using the Cost of Education Index from the National Center for Education Statistics to provide a better sense of how far educational dollars go. Compared to unadjusted PPEs, the Research Center found that in the 2004-05 school year, the difference between cost-adjusted and unadjusted PPEs was more than $1,000 in 12 states. Alaska shows the largest change, with the adjusted expenditures $2,285 lower than the unadjusted figure ($10,847). For more state-by-state data, explore our Education Counts database.

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