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Digest of Education Statistics: 2011
Digest of Education Statistics: 2011

NCES 2012-001
May 2012

Appendix A.2. Federal Support for Education

NCES prepares an annual compilation of federal funds for education for the Digest. Data for U.S. Department of Education programs come from the Budget of the United States Government. Budget offices of other federal agencies provide information for all other federal program support except for research funds, which are obligations reported by the National Science Foundation in Federal Funds for Research and Development. Some data are estimated, based on reports from the federal agencies contacted and the Budget of the United States Government.

Except for money spent on research, outlays are used to report program funds to the extent possible. Some Digest tables report program funds as obligations, as noted in the title of the table. Some federal program funds not commonly recognized as education assistance are also included in the totals reported. For example, portions of federal funds paid to some states and counties as shared revenues resulting from the sale of timber and minerals from public lands have been estimated as funds used for education purposes. Parts of the funds received by states (in 1980) and localities (in all years) under the General Revenue Sharing Program are also included, as are portions of federal funds received by the District of Columbia. The share of these funds allocated to education is assumed to be equal to the share of general funds expended for elementary and secondary education by states and localities in the same year, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau in its annual publication, Government Finances.

The share of federal funds assigned to education for the District of Columbia is assumed to be equal to the share of the city's general fund expenditures for each level of education.

For the job training programs conducted by the Department of Labor, only estimated sums spent on classroom training have been reported as educational program support.

During the 1970s, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) prepared an annual analysis of federal education program support. These were published in the Budget of the United States Government, Special Analyses. The information presented in this report is not, however, a continuation of the OMB series. A number of differences in the two series should be noted. OMB required all federal agencies to report outlays for education-related programs using a standardized form, thereby assuring agency compliance in reporting. The scope of education programs reported in the Digest differs from the scope of programs reported in the OMB reports. Off-budget items such as the annual volume of guaranteed student loans were not included in OMB's reports. Finally, while some mention is made of an annual estimate of federal tax expenditures, OMB did not include them in its annual analysis of federal education support. Estimated federal tax expenditures for education are the difference between current federal tax receipts and what these receipts would be without existing education deductions to income allowed by federal tax provisions.

Recipients' data are estimated based on Estimating Federal Funds for Education: A New Approach Applied to Fiscal Year 1980 (Miller, V., and Noell, J., 1982, Journal of Education Finance); Federal Support for Education, various years; and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (cfda.gov). The recipients' data are estimated and tend to undercount institutions of higher education, students, and local education agencies. This is because some of the federal programs have more than one recipient receiving funds. In these cases, the recipients were put into a "mixed recipients" category, because there was no way to disaggregate the amount each recipient received.

Further information on federal support for education may be obtained from

Tom Snyder
Early Childhood, International, and Crosscutting Studies Division
Annual Reports Program
National Center for Education Statistics
1990 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
/surveys/AnnualReports/federal.asp


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