This chapter provides a summary of federal legislation and funds for education to describe the scope and variety of federal education programs. Data in this chapter primarily reflect outlays and appropriations of federal agencies. These tabulations differ from federal receipts reported in other chapters because of numerous variations in the data collection systems. Federal dollars are not necessarily spent by recipient institutions in the same year they are appropriated. In some cases, institutions cannot identify the source of federal revenues because they flow through state agencies. Some types of revenues, such as tuition and fees, are reported as revenues from students even though they may be supported by federal student aid programs. Some institutions that receive federal education funds are not included in regular surveys conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Thus, the federal programs data tabulated in this chapter are not comparable with figures reported in other chapters. Readers should also be careful about comparing the data on obligations shown in table 380 with the data on outlays and appropriations appearing in other tables in this chapter.
Federal on-budget funding for education increased 342 percent from fiscal year (FY) 1965 to FY 2007, after adjustment for inflation (table 373). Between FY 1965 and FY 1975, federal on-budget funding for education increased 149 percent. After a decrease of less than 1 percent from FY 1975 to FY 1980, there was a further decrease of 16 percent from FY 1980 to FY 1985. Thereafter, federal on-budget funding for education generally increased. After adjustment for inflation, federal on-budget funding for education increased by 14 percent from FY 1985 to FY 1990, by 20 percent from FY 1990 to FY 1995, by 9 percent from FY 1995 to FY 2000, and by 42 percent from FY 2000 to FY 2007.
Between FY 1990 and FY 1995, after adjustment for inflation, federal on-budget funding increased for each of the four major categories reported: elementary and secondary education (by 32 percent), postsecondary education (by 12 percent), other education (by 21 percent), and research at educational institutions (by 7 percent) (table 373 and figure 18). During the FY 1995 to FY 2000 period, federal funding increased for three of these categories: elementary and secondary education (by 19 percent), other education (by 6 percent), and research at educational institutions (by 26 percent). During the same period, however, funding for postsecondary education decreased by 22 percent. For the categories for which FY 2008 data are available, funding was higher in FY 2008 than in FY 2000. Funds for elementary and secondary education were 34 percent higher in FY 2008 than in FY 2000, funds for postsecondary education were 104 percent higher, and funds for other education were 16 percent higher.1
Off-budget support (federal support for education not tied to appropriations) and nonfederal funds generated by federal legislation (e.g., private loans, grants, and aid) showed an increase of 47 percent in constant dollars between FY 1980 and FY 1990 (table 373). These same funds showed an increase of 137 percent between FY 1990 and FY 2000 and an increase of 63 percent between FY 2000 and FY 2008.
According to FY 2007 estimates, $71.8 billion (about 49 percent of the $147.5 billion spent by the federal government on education) came from the U.S. Department of Education (figure 19 and table 374). Large amounts of money also came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ($25.7 billion), the U.S. Department of Agriculture ($15.4 billion), the U.S. Department of Defense ($6.1 billion), the U.S. Department of Labor ($5.4 billion), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ($5.3 billion), the U.S. Department of Energy ($4.6 billion), the National Science Foundation ($4.4 billion), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ($3.0 billion).
For FY 2008, estimates of federal program funds are $72.8 billion for elementary and secondary education, $38.0 billion for postsecondary education, and $7.9 billion for other education programs (table 375). In FY 2007, $32.2 billion in federal funds were spent for research at universities and related institutions (FY 2008 data were not available at the time this publication was prepared).
In FY 2007, educational institutions (including local education agencies, state education agencies, and degree-granting institutions) received 66 percent of federal program funds for education (table 376). Another 15 percent was used for postsecondary student support. Other education organizations (including Head Start programs at child care centers, vocational education programs, and federal programs at libraries and museums) received 12 percent of federal program funds for education. Federal institutions received 3 percent, as did other recipients (including American Indian tribes, private nonprofit agencies, and banks).
Of the $73.8 billion spent by the U.S. Department of Education in FY 2008, about 40 percent ($29.7 billion) went to local education agencies (school districts) and 11 percent ($8.0 billion) to state education agencies (table 377 and figure 20). About 19 percent ($13.9 billion) went to postsecondary institutions and another 19 percent ($14.3 billion) to postsecondary students. Smaller percentages (totaling 11 percent) went to federal institutions, other education organizations, and other recipients.
Chronology of Federal Education Legislation
A capsule view of the history of federal education activities is provided in the following list of selected legislation:
Northwest Ordinance authorized land grants for the establishment of educational institutions.
An Act Fixing the Military Peace Establishment of the United States established the U.S. Military Academy. (The U.S. Naval Academy was established in 1845 by the Secretary of the Navy.)
First Morrill Act authorized public land grants to the states for the establishment and maintenance of agricultural and mechanical colleges.
Department of Education Act authorized the establishment of the U.S. Department of Education.2
Appropriation Act, U.S. Department of the Treasury, established the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
Second Morrill Act provided for money grants for support of instruction in the agricultural and mechanical colleges.
State Marine School Act authorized federal funds to be used for the benefit of any nautical school in any of 11 specified state seaport cities.
Smith-Hughes Act provided for grants to states for support of vocational education.
Vocational Rehabilitation Act provided for grants for rehabilitation through training of World War I veterans.
Smith-Bankhead Act authorized grants to states for vocational rehabilitation programs.
Bankhead-Jones Act (Public Law 74-182) authorized grants to states for agricultural experiment stations.
An Act to Further the Development and Maintenance of an Adequate and Well-Balanced American Merchant Marine (Public Law 74-415) established the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
National Cancer Institute Act established the Public Health Service fellowship program.
Amendment to Lanham Act of 1940 authorized federal aid for construction, maintenance, and operation of schools in federally impacted areas. Such assistance was continued under Public Law 815 and Public Law 874, 81st Congress, in 1950.
Vocational Rehabilitation Act (Public Law 78-16) provided assistance to disabled veterans.
Servicemen's Readjustment Act (Public Law 78-346), known as the GI Bill, provided assistance for the education of veterans.
National School Lunch Act (Public Law 79-396) authorized assistance through grants-in-aid and other means to states to assist in providing adequate foods and facilities for the establishment, maintenance, operation, and expansion of nonprofit school lunch programs.
United States Information and Educational Exchange Act (Public Law 80-402) provided for the interchange of people, knowledge, and skills between the United States and other countries.
Federal Property and Administrative Services Act (Public Law 81-152) provided for donation of surplus property to educational institutions and for other public purposes.
Financial Assistance for Local Educational Agencies Affected by Federal Activities (Public Law 81-815 and Public Law 81-874) provided assistance for construction (Public Law 815) and operation (Public Law 874) of schools in federally affected areas.
An Act for the Establishment of the United States Air Force Academy and Other Purposes (Public Law 83-325) established the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Library Services Act (Public Law 84-597) provided grants to states for extension and improvement of rural public library services.
Practical Nurse Training Act (Public Law 84-911) provided grants to states for practical nurse training.
National Defense Education Act (Public Law 85-864) provided assistance to state and local school systems for strengthening instruction in science, mathematics, modern foreign languages, and other critical subjects; improvement of state statistical services; guidance, counseling, and testing services and training institutes; higher education student loans and fellowships; foreign language study and training provided by colleges and universities; experimentation and dissemination of information on more effective utilization of television, motion pictures, and related media for educational purposes; and vocational education for technical occupations necessary to the national defense.
Area Redevelopment Act (Public Law 87-27) included provisions for training or retraining of people in redevelopment areas.
Manpower Development and Training Act (Public Law 87-415) provided training in new and improved skills for the unemployed and underemployed.
Health Professions Educational Assistance Act of 1963 (Public Law 88-129) provided funds to expand teaching facilities and for loans to students in the health professions.
Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Public Law 88-352) authorized the Commissioner of Education to arrange for support for institutions of higher education and school districts to provide inservice programs for assisting instructional staff in dealing with problems caused by desegregation.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (Public Law 89-10) authorized grants for elementary and secondary school programs for children of low-income families; school library resources, textbooks, and other instructional materials for school children; supplementary educational centers and services; strengthening state education agencies; and educational research and research training.
International Education Act (Public Law 89-698) provided grants to institutions of higher education for the establishment, strengthening, and operation of centers for research and training in international studies and the international aspects of other fields of study.
Education Professions Development Act (Public Law 90-35) amended the Higher Education Act of 1965 for the purpose of improving the quality of teaching and to help meet critical shortages of adequately trained educational personnel.
Elementary and Secondary Education Amendments of 1968 (Public Law 90-247) modified existing programs, authorized support of regional centers for education of children with disabilities, model centers and services for deaf-blind children, recruitment of personnel and dissemination of information on education of the disabled; technical assistance in education to rural areas; support of dropout prevention projects; and support of bilingual education programs.
Elementary and Secondary Education Assistance Programs, Extension (Public Law 91-230) authorized comprehensive planning and evaluation grants to state and local education agencies; provided for the establishment of a National Commission on School Finance.
Comprehensive Health Manpower Training Act of 1971 (Public Law 92-257) amended Title VII of the Public Health Service Act, increasing and expanding provisions for health manpower training and training facilities.
Drug Abuse Office and Treatment Act of 1972 (Public Law 92-255) established a Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention to provide overall planning and policy for all federal drug-abuse prevention functions; a National Advisory Council for Drug Abuse Prevention; community assistance grants for community mental health centers for treatment and rehabilitation of people with drug-abuse problems; and, in December 1974, a National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Older Americans Comprehensive Services Amendment of 1973 (Public Law 93-29) made available to older citizens comprehensive programs of health, education, and social services.
Education Amendments of 1974 (Public Law 93-380) provided for the consolidation of certain programs; and established a National Center for Education Statistics.
Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (Public Law 93-638) provided for increased participation of Indians in the establishment and conduct of their education programs and services.
Educational Broadcasting Facilities and Telecommunications Demonstration Act of 1976 (Public Law 94-309) established a telecommunications demonstration program to promote the development of nonbroadcast telecommunications facilities and services for the transmission, distribution, and delivery of health, education, and public or social service information.
Youth Employment and Demonstration Projects Act of 1977 (Public Law 95-93) established a youth employment training program that includes, among other activities, promoting education-to-work transition, literacy training and bilingual training, and attainment of certificates of high school equivalency.
Tribally Controlled Community College Assistance Act of 1978 (Public Law 95-471) provided federal funds for the operation and improvement of tribally controlled community colleges for Indian students.
Department of Education Organization Act (Public Law 96-88) established a U.S. Department of Education containing functions from the Education Division of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare along with other selected education programs from HEW, the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Labor, and the National Science Foundation.
Asbestos School Hazard Detection and Control Act of 1980 (Public Law 96-270) established a program for inspection of schools for detection of hazardous asbestos materials and provided loans to assist educational agencies to contain or remove and replace such materials.
Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981 (Part of Public Law 97-35) consolidated 42 programs into 7 programs to be funded under the elementary and secondary block grant authority.
Student Loan Consolidation and Technical Amendments Act of 1983 (Public Law 98-79) established an 8 percent interest rate for Guaranteed Student Loans and an extended Family Contribution Schedule.
Education for Economic Security Act (Public Law 98-377) added new science and mathematics programs for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education. The new programs included magnet schools, excellence in education, and equal access.
Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (Public Law 98-525), brought about a new GI Bill for individuals who initially entered active military duty on or after July 1, 1985.
Handicapped Children's Protection Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-372) allowed parents of children with disabilities to collect attorneys' fees in cases brought under the Education of the Handicapped Act and provided that the Education of the Handicapped Act does not preempt other laws, such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Augustus F. Hawkins-Robert T. Stafford Elementary and Secondary School Improvement Amendments of 1988 (Public Law 100-297) reauthorized through 1993 major elementary and secondary education programs including: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Bilingual Education, Math-Science Education, Magnet Schools, Impact Aid, Indian Education, Adult Education, and other smaller education programs.
Children with Disabilities Temporary Care Reauthorization Act of 1989 (Public Law 101-127) revised and extended the programs established in the Temporary Child Care for Handicapped Children and Crises Nurseries Act of 1986.
Excellence in Mathematics, Science and Engineering Education Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-589) was established to promote excellence in American mathematics, science, and engineering education by creating a national mathematics and science clearinghouse, and creating several other mathematics, science, and engineering education programs.
National Literacy Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-73) established the National Institute for Literacy, the National Institute Board, and the Interagency Task Force on Literacy. Amended various federal laws to establish and extend various literacy programs.
Ready-To-Learn Act (Public Law 102-545) amended the General Education Provisions Act to establish Ready-To-Learn Television programs to support educational programming and support materials for preschool and elementary school children and their parents, child care providers, and educators.
Student Loan Reform Act (Public Law 103-66) reformed the student aid process by phasing in a system of direct lending designed to provide savings for taxpayers and students. Allows students to choose among a variety of repayment options, including income contingency.
Goals 2000: Educate America Act (Public Law 103-227) established a new federal partnership through a system of grants to states and local communities to reform the nation's education system. The Act formalized the national education goals and established the National Education Goals Panel.
Contract With America: Unfunded Mandates (Public Law 104-4) curbed the practice of imposing unfunded federal mandates on states and local governments; strengthened the partnership between the federal government and state, local, and tribal governments; ended the imposition, in the absence of full consideration by Congress, of federal mandates on state, local, and tribal governments without adequate funding, in a manner that may displace other essential governmental priorities; and ensured that the federal government pays the costs incurred by those governments in complying with certain requirements under federal statutes and regulations.
The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-34) enacted the Hope Scholarship and Life-Long Learning Tax Credit provisions into law.
Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-220) enacted the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, and substantially revised and extended, through FY 2003, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-25) authorized the Secretary of Education to allow all states to participate in the Education Flexibility Partnership program.
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Public Law 106-398) included, as Title XVIII, the Impact Aid Reauthorization Act of 2000, which extended the Impact Aid programs through FY 2003.
50th Anniversary of Brown v. the Board of Education (Public Law 107-41) established a commission for the purpose of encouraging and providing for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education.
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Public Law 107-110) provided for the comprehensive reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, incorporating specific proposals in such areas as testing, accountability, parental choice, and early reading.
The Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-76) provided the Secretary of Education with waiver authority under student financial aid programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, to deal with student and family situations resulting from wars or national emergencies.
Assistive Technology Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-364) reauthorized the Assistive Technology program, administered by the Department of Education.
Student Grant Hurricane and Disaster Relief Act (Public Law 109-67) authorized the Secretary of Education to waive certain repayment requirements for students receiving campus-based federal grant assistance if they were residing in, employed in, or attending an institution of higher education located in a major disaster area, or their attendance was interrupted because of the disaster.
Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-171) made various amendments to programs of student financial assistance under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.
Public Law 110-15 designated the Department of Education Headquarters Building as the "Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building."
Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of
2008 Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of
2008 (Public Law 110-227) provides various authorities
to the Department of Education, among other
provisions, to help ensure that college students and
their parents continue to have access to loans in the
tight credit market.