# How Much Would It Cost to Put “Free” Tampons and Pads in All School Bathrooms in the US? \$60 Million a Year

I have previously blogged here, here, and here with speculation about how much it costs for schools to provide “free” menstrual products in bathrooms.

Based on actual data from the Cambridge (MA) Public Schools, the figure appears to be approximately \$2.48 per menstruating student (see here). If that number is correct, I ask myself, how much would it cost to provide menstrual products to all public school students nation-wide? My rough (and admittedly inaccurate) estimate is approximately \$60 million.  States like Texas would have a big bill (about \$6.4 million per year); states like Wyoming would be paying about \$117,00 per year.

While these seem like big dollar amounts, in most jurisdictions, the outlay would represent an extremely small share (less than two one-hundreths of one percent) of total current spending on students and likely would boost student attendance numbers.

My back-of-the-envelope calculations (extremely rough) on a per state basis appear after the fold.

The US Census and the 2020 Annual Survey of School System Finances provides data about public elementary-school systems by state, including current spending and enrollment. I assumed the need to provide half of all students with menstrual products.  Admittedly, this likely is an overestimate. School population totals include many students who are too young to menstruate, and not all students who menstruate will obtain their menstrual products at school. (I told you this was a back-of-the-envelope calculation.)

Here are the results:

 Table 6, Current Spending of Public Elementary-School Systems by State: Fiscal Year 2020 (Thousands of Dollars) Table 19, Elementary-secondary enrollment Cost of Providing Half of All Students With Menstrual Products (\$2.48 Per Student) Total 2020 United States………………………………………………………. 667,873,207 48,008,047 59,529,978 Alabama……………………………………………………………… 7,688,186 743,012 921,335 Alaska………………………………………………………………… 2,424,845 132,017 163,701 Arizona………………………………………………………………… 8,393,708 936,332 1,161,052 Arkansas……………………………………………………………… 4,959,030 476,465 590,817 California……………………………………………………………… 80,805,980 5,641,492 6,995,450 Colorado………………………………………………………………. 10,436,591 891,187 1,105,072 Connecticut………………………………………………………….. 10,704,888 483,151 599,107 Delaware……………………………………………………………… 2,137,101 123,566 153,222 District of Columbia…………………………………………………. 1,237,845 50,971 63,204 Florida…………………………………………………………………. 28,711,259 2,838,569 3,519,826 Georgia……………………………………………………………….. 20,367,163 1,735,585 2,152,125 Hawaii………………………………………………………………… 3,017,244 181,088 224,549 Idaho…………………………………………………………………… 2,398,979 289,262 358,685 Illinois…………………………………………………………………. 33,854,627 1,924,972 2,386,965 Indiana………………………………………………………………… 11,046,851 997,869 1,237,358 Iowa…………………………………………………………………… 6,219,192 517,324 641,482 Kansas……………………………………………………………….. 6,322,176 497,255 616,596 Kentucky……………………………………………………………… 7,959,031 691,816 857,852 Louisiana……………………………………………………………… 7,563,708 637,629 790,660 Maine………………………………………………………………….. 2,763,462 177,350 219,914 Maryland……………………………………………………………… 14,103,200 909,003 1,127,164 Massachusetts………………………………………………………. 18,243,103 897,905 1,113,402 Michigan……………………………………………………………… 17,281,291 1,299,608 1,611,514 Minnesota……………………………………………………………. 11,755,456 823,690 1,021,376 Mississippi…………………………………………………………… 4,486,791 463,305 574,498 Missouri……………………………………………………………… 10,170,641 885,375 1,097,865 Montana……………………………………………………………… 1,807,369 148,547 184,198 Nebraska…………………………………………………………….. 4,264,210 329,290 408,320 Nevada………………………………………………………………… 4,413,855 447,293 554,643 New Hampshire……………………………………………………… 3,032,868 168,325 208,723 New Jersey…………………………………………………………… 29,931,633 1,350,553 1,674,686 New Mexico…………………………………………………………. 3,576,522 315,372 391,061 New York…………………………………………………………….. 69,427,223 2,531,420 3,138,961 North Carolina……………………………………………………….. 14,424,165 1,441,549 1,787,521 North Dakota…………………………………………………………. 1,672,503 116,129 144,000 Ohio……………………………………………………………………. 23,037,175 1,576,931 1,955,394 Oklahoma…………………………………………………………….. 6,300,047 657,468 815,260 Oregon………………………………………………………………… 7,787,111 580,545 719,876 Pennsylvania………………………………………………………… 30,013,698 1,566,855 1,942,900 Rhode Island…………………………………………………………. 2,412,351 132,629 164,460 South Carolina……………………………………………………….. 8,832,599 754,652 935,768 South Dakota………………………………………………………… 1,446,693 139,685 173,209 Tennessee…………………………………………………………….. 10,110,389 1,013,083 1,256,223 Texas………………………………………………………………….. 53,835,506 5,162,293 6,401,243 Utah…………………………………………………………………….. 5,145,857 606,880 752,531 Vermont……………………………………………………………….. 1,903,437 86,095 106,758 Virginia………………………………………………………………… 16,814,230 1,296,817 1,608,053 Washington…………………………………………………………… 16,763,634 1,136,285 1,408,993 West Virginia…………………………………………………………. 3,303,075 263,486 326,723 Wisconsin…………………………………………………………….. 10,986,972 845,833 1,048,833 Wyoming………………………………………………………………. 1,577,737 94,234 116,850 SOURCES 2020 Annual Survey of School System Finances, Table 6 (Current Spending of Public Elementary-Secondary School Systems by State: Fiscal Year 2020), U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2020/econ/school-finances/secondary-education-finance.html Id. at Table 8 (Per Pupil Amounts for Current Spending of Public Elementary-Secondary School Systems by State: Fiscal Year 2020) Id. at Table 19 (Population, Enrollment, and Personal Income by State: Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020) How Much Does It Cost to Put “Free” Tampons and Pads in School Bathrooms? About \$2.48 Per Year, Faculty Lounge (May 10, 2020), https://www.thefacultylounge.org/2020/05/how-much-does-it-cost-to-put-free-tampons-and-pads-in-school-bathrooms-about-750-.html
This entry was posted in Primary and Secondary Education, Women and Economics, Women's Health. Bookmark the permalink.