Skip to Content
Icon LockIcon Lockicon-branch-logo-marinericon-branch-logo-pccicon-branch-logo-pfcIcon BullseyeIcon Credit CardIcon HouseIcon LockIcon LockIcon Lockicon-logo-whiteMagnifying GlassMagnifying GlassMagnifying Glassicon-pfc-logo-whiteicon-pioneer-logo-whiteIcon Wheel
New Mariner Finance web experience coming soon... Through valuable customer feedback the new site will make it easier to apply for a loan, make a payment, check your offers and search for your closest branch. Click for more info...

Back to school during covid-19

This year’s back-to-school experience may be significantly different from anything you’ve experienced in the past. The COVID-19 crisis is not only affecting how schools work, but how children learn – and you need to know how to deal with all the possible changes.

Why Back to School is Different This Year

This is the time of year when parents start preparing to send their kids back to school. That typically meant buying all sorts of school supplies, from notebooks and markers to backpacks and computers. Going back to school during COVID-19, however, is proving to be quite different.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, schools around the country are preparing for a variety of learning models. Some schools are opening fully for in-person learning, others are embracing full-time distance learning, and many more are adopting some sort of hybrid model with a mix of in-school and distance learning.

Whatever model your children’s schools are embracing, you need to start preparing for the new school year.

Preparing for Physical Schooling

Many school districts across the country are opening their school buildings for the first time since March. If your children are heading back to school in person, they’re going to need all the typical supplies plus a few additions.

Traditional School Supplies

No matter how your children are doing school this fall – at home or in-class – they are going to need the usual school supplies for their grade level. These supplies typically include:

  • Notebooks
  • Folders
  • Binders
  • Index cards
  • Pencils, pens, crayons, markers, and highlighters
  • Erasers
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Calculator

Crayola offers an Elementary Back to School Essentials pack that includes most of these supplies, available for less than $30 from Amazon.

Clothing and Backpacks

There are other traditional items you may need if your kids are physically attending school full- or part-time. These may include:

  • School clothes
  • Gym clothes and gym shoes
  • Backpacks (Target and Walmart both offer a good selection of backpacks by grade level and budget)

This is one instance where distance learning can save you money. Your children don’t need new clothes if they’re not leaving home, and probably don’t need backpacks, either. If your children are going back for in-person learning, however, you may need to head to your favorite discount or department store (or shop online) to pick out some new clothes.

Embracing Safety in the Classroom

Whether your school is offering full-time in-class education or a hybrid part-time model, your children will need some safety-related items for protection against the coronavirus. Make sure you purchase plenty of the following:

  • Face masks (at least two – check out the selection from Face Masks for Kids, most priced at $13.99)
  • Hand sanitizer (60% or higher, alcohol-based)
  • Tissues

Preparing for Distance Learning

Given the risk involved with opening school buildings, many school districts are offering the option of either part-time or full-time distance learning. When your kids are doing school from home, they need a good learning environment, supportive technology, and perhaps learning assistance in the form of tutoring. That could mean more things to purchase before school starts.

Work Environment

Whether your kids are in elementary school or college, they need someplace to do their schoolwork. When all they had was an hour or two of homework, the kitchen table might have sufficed, but with all-day distance learning, they may need a dedicated workspace.

If you have the room, purchasing a decent desk makes all the difference in the world. A big executive-type desk is probably a bit overkill. Instead, look for a lower-cost student desk or computer desk. Both Ikea and Target have a good variety of student desks under $100.

Naturally, your child will need a chair for that desk. You don’t have to buy an uber-expensive ergonomic chair, but you still need something that will be comfortable and supportive for several hours at a time. Amazon and Office Depot both offer a wide selection of office chairs that should do the trick, many priced under $100.


Chances are your children’s school supplied them with an iPad or laptop computer to use at home. If not, you’ll need to either share your home computer or purchase a new device just for schoolwork. Best Buy has a Student Hub with links to technology for students of various levels and needs. It’s a good place to start.

Whether your children have school-supplied tech, or you buy your own, they may need a printer. There will always be schoolwork and forms that need printing. Look for a color inkjet and maybe even a multi-function or all-in-one model that also offers copying and scanning. Best Buy has printers as low as $60 – make sure you also stock up on paper and ink cartridges!

If your children are using iPads for school, consider purchasing an iPad keyboard. It’s tough to type with your fingers on the iPad screen; an external Bluetooth keyboard, like those sold by Logitech, may help your children be more productive.

When the big kids are doing school online, you’re doing Zoom meetings from home, and the younger kids are likely streaming video, your home Wi-Fi network can quickly get overloaded. If your Internet starts to slow down, it’s time to upgrade to a more powerful Wi-Fi router. Amazon offers a good selection of Wi-Fi routers for under $100, although if you have a lot of people connecting at once, you may want to go with something even more powerful. If your Internet is still slow, you may also want to upgrade to a faster plan from your Internet service provider.


Last spring, many parents discovered that their children couldn’t do distance learning on their own. If you don’t have the time or expertise to be their at-home teacher, consider hiring an online or in-person tutor to supplement their school’s distance learning.

Many companies are offering online tutoring. You typically sign up for a specified number of hours per week or per month and choose the topics of focus. Pricing is all over the board, however. For example, Chegg charges $6.95/lesson, eTutorWorld starts at $21/lesson, and starts at $40 for one hour of tutoring per month.

Many students prefer in-person tutors. You can check with your school or other community resources for tutors near you, or use or Club Z to find in-person tutors online.

Let Mariner Finance Help You Pay for Back to School This Year

As you can see, all these back to school supplies – especially those needed for distance learning – can quickly add up to big bucks. You may want to consider taking out a personal loan to finance your back to school purchases. With more than 470 branches in 24 states, Mariner Finance may be able to help you choose the right personal loan for your situation. We offer personal loans from $1,000 to $25,000, depending on income and credit history.

Are you looking for a way to pay for all those back to school expenses? Mariner Finance may be able help with a personal loan that fits your needs.

Blog posts are for informational purposes only.

†We offer personal loans from $1,000 to $25,000, with loans terms from 12 to 60 months. Minimum and maximum amounts dependent on an applicant’s state of residence and the underwriting of the loan. Loans between $1,500 and $15,000 may be funded online. Loans greater than $15,000 or less than $1,500 are funded through our branch network. Specific interest rates and fees are determined as permitted under applicable state law and depend upon loan amount, term, and the applicant’s ability to meet our credit criteria, including, but not limited to, credit history, income, debt payment obligations, and other factors such as availability of collateral. Not all rates and loan amounts are available in all states. Additional fees may apply to some loan offers; some state required and/or permitted fees may be treated as prepaid finance charges. Any such charges shall be in addition to the loan amount requested and/or approved and shall be fully disclosed to the applicant on his/her loan agreement. Not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rates or larger loan amounts, which may require a first lien on a motor vehicle not more than ten years old titled in the applicant’s name with valid insurance. Our loan by phone and online closing process requires a compatible mobile or computer device on which you can access your email and electronic documents. Not all loan types are eligible for loan by phone or online loan closing.


To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. As a result, under our customer identification program, we must ask for your name, street address, mailing address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver's license or other identifying documents.


For any stated annual percentage rate (“APR”), the APR represents the cost of credit as a yearly rate and will be determined based upon an applicant’s credit at the time of application, subject to state law limits. A range of APR’s may be applicable, subject to state law limits and individual underwriting. Not all applicants will qualify for a lower rate. APR’s are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle, and the lowest rates typically apply to the most creditworthy borrowers. All terms and conditions of a loan offer, including the APR, will be disclosed during the application process. As an example, with an amount financed of $5,000.00 the borrower receives $5,000.00 at an APR of 29.99% and an interest rate of 28.77% which includes a finance charge of $3,640.96. Under these terms, the borrower would make 48 monthly payments of $180.02, for a total of payments of $8,640.96. The amount financed may not be the net proceeds paid if charges other than interest are included in the loan.


*The process uses a “soft” credit inquiry to determine whether a loan offer is available, which does not impact your credit score. If you continue with the application process online and accept a loan offer, or are referred to a branch and continue your application there, we will pull your credit report and credit score again using a “hard” credit inquiry. This “hard” credit inquiry may impact your credit score.



California Residents: Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Financing Law license.

VA Residents – Mariner Finance of Virginia, LLC, Licensed by the Virginia State Corporation Commission, Consumer Finance Company License No. CFI-114.


Mariner Finance, LLC, NMLS No. 166564 (
8211 Town Center Drive, Nottingham, MD 21236. Telephone Number 877-310-2373.

Equal Housing Lender

Mariner Finance provides this link for your convenience and is not responsible for and makes no claims or representations regarding the content, terms of use, or privacy policies of third party websites.