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Going back to school with new technology? Survey says a majority of students are

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A new survey by American Express finds the cost of going back to school is taking a big jump this year – with parents planning to spend an average of one-third more than they did last year.

What's pushing up spending?

You're looking at it.

Whether it's a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone, nearly 60 percent of parents with kids from kindergarten through college said they will send their student off to school with a new tech gadget this fall.

The 59 percent who plan to spring for new technology are up from 46 percent a year ago. And their average spending on those gizmos will be $505, American Express says.

So while the expense of going back to school is rising, it seems to have more to do with the evolution of the shopping list than with climbing costs.

American Express Senior Vice President of Consumer Lending Jed Scala says it shows that consumers seem to be more ready to spend, especially when it comes to education.

'Stocking up' instead of 'making do'

Retailers, of course, are psyched up for back-to-school season.

The Omaha World-Herald reports the December holidays are the only busier time of year in the retail world.

The National Retail Federation did not forecast the huge spending spike that American Express suggests, but they do anticipate spending growth of nearly 10 percent this year.

They say that will bring total national spending (including college students) to more than $75 billion, up from $68 billion last year.

The Retail Federation says when it comes to buying school supplies, families tend to cycle between "make do" and "stock up." This year's survey (done for them by Prosper Insight and Analytics) suggests parents are in a buying mode rather than trying to wring more life out of last year's supplies.

“Families are still looking for bargains, but there are signs that they are less worried about the economy than in the past,” says the Federation's president and CEO, Matthew Shay.

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