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Digest of Education Statistics: 2004
Digest of Education Statistics: 2004

NCES 2006-005
October 2005

Chapter 4: Federal Programs for Education and Related Activities

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 reflect outlays and obligations 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 be careful about comparing data on obligations shown in some tables with data on outlays and appropriations appearing in others.

Federal on-budget funding for education showed sizable growth between fiscal years (FYs) 1965 and 2004, after adjustment for inflation. Large increases occurred between 1965 and 1975. After a slight decrease from 1975 to 1980, there was a further decrease from 1980 to 1985 (16 percent). Thereafter, federal on-budget funding for education generally increased, showing a rise of 112 percent from 1985 to 2004, after adjustment for inflation (table 364).

During the 1965 to 1975 period, after adjustment for inflation, federal funds for elementary and secondary education rose by 211 percent, postsecondary education by 264 percent, other education by 145 percent, and research at educational institutions by 7 percent. Between 1975 and 1980, federal funding for elementary and secondary education increased by 2 percent and research by 14 percent, but postsecondary education decreased slightly by 2 percent and other education decreased by 35 percent. After declining 22 percent between 1980 and 1985, federal funding for elementary and secondary education programs rose by 146 percent between 1985 and 2004. Postsecondary education decreased by 25 percent between 1980 and 1985 and then increased 61 percent between 1985 and 2004. Between 1985 and 2004, other education rose by 103 percent, and research rose by 114 percent, after adjustment for inflation (table 364 and figure 20).

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 in constant dollars between FY 1980 and FY 2004 (405 percent), but there were fluctuations throughout the period. These amounts tend to fluctuate because of changes in interest rates and program legislation which affect the number and volume of student loans. Between FY 1990 and FY 2004, these same funds showed an increase of 243 percent (table 364).

According to FY 2004 estimates, $62.9 billion or about 48 percent of the $132.0 billion spent by the federal government on education came from the U.S. Department of Education. Large amounts of money also came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ($26.0 billion), the U.S. Department of Agriculture ($13.1 billion), the U.S. Department of Labor ($5.6 billion), the U.S. Department of Defense ($5.6 billion), and the U.S. Department of Energy ($4.1 billion) (table 365).

Fiscal year 2004 estimates call for federal program funds for elementary and secondary education to be $66.2 billion; for postsecondary education, $28.7 billion; for other programs, $6.8 billion; and for research at universities and related institutions, $30.2 billion (table 366).

Over 63 percent of total federal education support, excluding estimated federal tax expenditures, went to educational institutions in FY 2004. Another 19 percent was used for student support. Banks and other lending agencies received 6 percent, and multiple recipients, including libraries, museums, and federal institutions, received 11 percent (table 367).

Of the $62.9 billion spent by the U.S. Department of Education in FY 2004, about $28.6 billion went to school districts, $10.4 billion to postsecondary institutions, $10.0 billion to postsecondary students, $6.9 billion to state education agencies, and 6.9 billion went to Federal agencies, multiple and other types of recipients (table 368 and figure 21).


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.*


  • 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.


  • An Act to Provide for Further Educational Facilities authorized the sale by the federal government of surplus machine tools to educational institutions at 15 percent of acquisition cost.



  • 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.
  • Agricultural Adjustment Act (Public Law 74-320) authorized 30 percent of the annual customs receipts to be used to encourage the exportation and domestic consumption of agricultural commodities. Commodities purchased under this authorization began to be used in school lunch programs in 1936. The National School Lunch Act of 1946 continued and expanded this assistance.


  • 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.
  • School Lunch Indemnity Plan (Public Law 78-129) provided funds for local lunch food purchases.


  • Servicemen's Readjustment Act (Public Law 78-346) known as the GI Bill, provided assistance for the education of veterans.
  • Surplus Property Act (Public Law 78-457) authorized transfer of surplus property to educational institutions.


  • 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.
  • George-Barden Act (Public Law 80-402) expanded federal support of vocational education.


  • United States Information and Educational Exchange Act (Public Law 80-402) provided for the interchange of persons, 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.
  • Housing Act (Public Law 81-475) authorized loans for construction of college housing facilities.


  • 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.
  • Educational Research Act (Public Law 83-531) authorized cooperative arrangements with universities, colleges, and state educational agencies for educational research.
  • School Milk Program Act (Public Law 83-597) provided funds for purchase of milk for school lunch programs.


  • 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.
  • Education of Mentally Retarded Children Act (Public Law 85-926)authorized federal assistance for training teachers of the handicapped.
  • Captioned Films for the Deaf Act (Public Law 85-905) authorized a loan service of captioned films for the deaf.



  • Area Redevelopment Act (Public Law 87-27) included provisions for training or retraining of persons in redevelopment areas.


  • Manpower Development and Training Act (Public Law 87-415) provided training in new and improved skills for the unemployed and underemployed.
  • Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 (Public Law 87-510) authorized loans, advances, and grants for education and training of refugees.


  • 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.
  • Vocational Education Act of 1963 (Part of Public Law 88-210) increased federal support of vocational education schools; vocational work-study programs; and research, training, and demonstrations in vocational education.
  • Higher Education Facilities Act of 1963 (Public Law 88-204) authorized grants and loans for classrooms, libraries, and laboratories in public community colleges and technical institutes, as well as undergraduate and graduate facilities in other institutions of higher education.


  • 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.
  • Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (Public Law 88-452) authorized grants for college work-study programs for students from low-income families; established a Job Corps program and authorized support for work-training programs to provide education and vocational training and work experience opportunities in welfare programs; authorized support of education and training activities and of community action programs, including Head Start, Follow Through, and Upward Bound; and authorized the establishment of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA).


  • 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.
  • Health Professions Educational Assistance Amendments of 1965 (Public Law 89-290) authorized scholarships to aid needy students in the health professions.
  • Higher Education Act of 1965 (Public Law 89-329) provided grants for university community service programs, college library assistance, library training and research, strengthening developing institutions, teacher training programs, and undergraduate instructional equipment. Authorized insured student loans, established a National Teacher Corps, and provided for graduate teacher training fellowships.
  • National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act (Public Law 89-209) authorized grants and loans for projects in the creative and performing arts and for research, training, and scholarly publications in the humanities.
  • National Technical Institute for the Deaf Act (Public Law 89-36) provided for the establishment, construction, equipping, and operation of a residential school for postsecondary education and technical training of the deaf.
  • School Assistance in Disaster Areas Act (Public Law 89-313) provided for assistance to local education agencies to help meet exceptional costs resulting from a major disaster.


  • 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.
  • National Sea Grant College and Program Act (Public Law 89-688) authorized the establishment and operation of Sea Grant Colleges and programs by initiating and supporting programs of education and research in the various fields relating to the development of marine resources.
  • Adult Education Act (Public Law 89-750) authorized grants to states for the encouragement and expansion of educational programs for adults, including training of teachers of adults and demonstrations in adult education (previously part of Economic Opportunity Act of 1964).
  • Model Secondary School for the Deaf Act (Public Law 89-694) authorized the establishment and operation, by Gallaudet College, of a model secondary school for the deaf.


  • 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.
  • Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 (Public Law 90-129) established a Corporation for Public Broadcasting to assume major responsibility in channeling federal funds to noncommercial radio and television stations, program production groups, and ETV networks; conduct research, demonstration, or training in matters related to noncommercial broadcasting; and award grants for construction of educational radio and television facilities.


  • Elementary and Secondary Education Amendments of 1968 (Public Law 90-247) modified existing programs, authorized support of regional centers for education of handicapped children, model centers and services for deaf-blind children, recruitment of personnel and dissemination of information on education of the handicapped; technical assistance in education to rural areas; support of dropout prevention projects; and support of bilingual education programs.
  • Handicapped Children's Early Education Assistance Act (Public Law 90-538) authorized preschool and early education programs for handicapped children.
  • Vocational Education Amendments of 1968 (Public Law 90-576) modified existing programs and provided for a National Advisory Council on Vocational Education and collection and dissemination of information for programs administered by the Commissioner of Education.


  • 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.
  • National Commission on Libraries and Information Services Act (Public Law 91-345) established a National Commission on Libraries and Information Science to effectively utilize the nation's educational resources.
  • Office of Education Appropriation Act (Public Law 91-380) provided emergency school assistance to desegregating local education agencies.
  • Environmental Education Act (Public Law 91-516) established an Office of Environmental Education to develop curriculum and initiate and maintain environmental education programs at the elementary-secondary levels; disseminate information; provide training programs for teachers and other educational, public, community, labor, and industrial leaders and employees; provide community education programs; and distribute material dealing with the environment and ecology.
  • Drug Abuse Education Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-527) provided for development, demonstration, and evaluation of curricula on the problems of drug abuse.



  • 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 persons with drug-abuse problems, and, in December 1974, a National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  • Education Amendments of 1972 (Public Law 92-318) established the Education Division in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and the National Institute of Education; general aid for institutions of higher education; federal matching grants for state Student Incentive Grants; a National Commission on Financing Postsecondary Education; State Advisory Councils on Community Colleges; a Bureau of Occupational and Adult Education and State Grants for the design, establishment, and conduct of postsecondary occupational education; and a bureau-level Office of Indian Education. Amended current U.S. Department of Education programs to increase their effectiveness and better meet special needs. Prohibited sex bias in admission to vocational, professional, and graduate schools, and public institutions of undergraduate higher education.


  • Older Americans Comprehensive Services Amendment of 1973 (Public Law 93-29) made available to older citizens comprehensive programs of health, education, and social services.
  • Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-203) provided for opportunities for employment and training to unemployed and underemployed persons. Extended and expanded provisions in the Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962, Title I of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1962, Title I of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, and the Emergency Employment Act of 1971 as in effect prior to June 30, 1973.


  • Education Amendments of 1974 (Public Law 93-380) provided for the consolidation of certain programs; and established a National Center for Education Statistics.
  • Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-415) provided for technical assistance, staff training, centralized research, and resources to develop and implement programs to keep students in elementary and secondary schools; and established, in the U.S. Department of Justice, a National Institute for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.


  • 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.
  • Harry S Truman Memorial Scholarship Act (Public Law 93-642) established the Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation and created a perpetual education scholarship fund for young Americans to prepare and pursue careers in public service.
  • Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1975 (Public Law 94-23) authorized funds to be used for education and training of aliens who have fled from Cambodia or Vietnam.
  • Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142) provided that all handicapped children have available to them a free appropriate education designed to meet their unique needs.


  • 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.
  • Career Education Incentive Act (Public Law 95-207) authorized the establishment of a career education program for elementary and secondary schools.


  • 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.
  • Education Amendments of 1978 (Public Law 95-561) established a comprehensive basic skills program aimed at improving pupil achievement (replaced the existing National Reading Improvement program); and established a community schools program to provide for the use of public buildings.
  • Middle Income Student Assistance Act (Public Law 95-566) modified the provisions for student financial assistance programs to allow middle-income as well as low-income students attending college or other postsecondary institutions to qualify for federal education assistance.


  • 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 Law4 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.
  • Challenge Grant Amendments of 1983 (Public Law 98-95) amended Title III, Higher Education Act, and added authorization of Challenge Grant program. The Challenge Grant program provides funds to eligible institutions on a matching basis as an incentive to seek alternative sources of funding.
  • Education of the Handicapped Act Amendments of 1983 (Public Law 98-199) added the Architectural Barrier amendment and clarified participation of handicapped children in private schools.


  • 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.
  • Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Act (Public Law 98-524) continued federal assistance for vocational education through FY 1989. The act replaced the Vocational Education Act of 1963. It provided aid to the states to make vocational education programs accessible to all persons, including handicapped and disadvantaged, single parents and homemakers, and the incarcerated.
  • Human Services Reauthorization Act (Public Law 98-558) created a Carl D. Perkins scholarship program, a National Talented Teachers Fellowship program, a Federal Merit Scholarships program, and a Leadership in Educational Administration program.


  • 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.
  • Montgomery GI Bill--Selected Reserve (Public Law 98-525), established an education program for members of the Selected Reserve (which includes the National Guard) who enlist, reenlist, or extend an enlistment after June 30, 1985, for a 6-year period.


  • Handicapped Children's Protection Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-372) allowed parents of handicapped children 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.
  • Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1986 (Part of Public Law 99-570), part of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, authorized funding for FYs 1987-89. Established programs for drug abuse education and prevention, coordinated with related community efforts and resources, through the use of federal financial assistance.


  • Higher Education Act Amendments of 1987 (Public Law 100-50) made technical corrections, clarifications, or conforming amendments related to the enactment of the Higher Education Amendments of 1986.


  • 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.
  • Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-407) provided financial assistance to states to develop and implement consumer-responsive statewide programs of technology-related assistance for persons of all ages with disabilities.
  • Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Amendments Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-628) extended for two additional years programs providing assistance to the homeless, including literacy training for homeless adults and education for homeless youths.
  • Tax Reform Technical Amendments (Public Law 100-647) authorized an Education Savings Bond for the purpose of postsecondary educational expenses. The bill grants tax exclusion for interest earned on regular series EE savings bonds.


  • 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.
  • Childhood Education and Development Act of 1989 (Part of Public Law 101-239) authorized the appropriations to expand Head Start Programs and programs carried out under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to include child care services.



  • 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.
  • Student Right-To-Know and Campus Security Act (Public Law 101-542) required institutions of higher education receiving federal financial assistance to provide certain information with respect to the graduation rates of student-athletes at such institutions. The act also requires the institution to certify that it has a campus security policy and will annually submit a uniform crime report to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-336) prohibited discrimination against persons with disabilities.
  • National and Community Service Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-610) increased school and college-based community service opportunities and authorized the President's Points of Light Foundation.
  • School Dropout Prevention and Basic Skills Improvement Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-600) was established to improve secondary school programs for basic skills improvements and dropout reduction.
  • Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Reauthorization Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-637) reauthorized the Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Act of 1984, which provided financial support to elementary and secondary schools to inspect for asbestos and to develop and implement an asbestos management plan.
  • Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-454) provided a permanent endowment for the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship Program.
  • Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-508) included a set of student aid provisions that were estimated to yield a savings of $2 billion over 5 years. These provisions included delayed Guaranteed Student Loan disbursements, tightened ability-to-benefit eligibility, expanded pro rata refund policy and the elimination of student aid eligibility at high default schools.


  • 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.
  • High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-194) directed the President to implement a National High-Performance Computing Program. Provided for: (1) establishment of a National Research and Education Network; (2) standards and guidelines for high performance networks; and (3) the responsibility of certain federal departments and agencies with regard to the Network.
  • Veterans' Educational Assistance Amendments of 1991 (Public Law 102-127) restored certain educational benefits available to reserve and active-duty personnel under the Montgomery GI Bill to students whose course of studies were interrupted by the Persian Gulf War.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-166) amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, with regard to employment discrimination. Established the Technical Assistance Training Institute.


  • 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.
  • National Commission on Time and Learning, Extension (Public Law 102-359) amended the National Education Commission on Time and Learning Act to extend the authorization of appropriations for such Commission, amended the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to revise provisions for (1) a specified civic education program; and (2) schoolwide projects for educationally disadvantaged children, and provided for additional Assistant Secretaries of Education.


  • 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.
  • National Service Trust Act (Public Law 103-82) amended the National and Community Service Act of 1990 to establish a Corporation for National Service and enhance opportunities for national service. In addition, the Act provided education grants up to $4,725 per year for 2 years to people age 17 years or older who perform community service before, during, or after postsecondary education.
  • NAEP Assessment Authorization (Public Law 103-33) authorizes the use of NAEP for state-by-state comparisons.


  • 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. It also created a National Education Standards and Improvement Council (NESIC) to provide voluntary national certification of state and local education standards and assessments and established the National Skill Standards Board to develop voluntary national skill standards.
  • School-To-Work Opportunities Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-239) established a national framework within which states and communities can develop School-To-Work Opportunities systems to prepare young people for first jobs and continuing education. The Act also provided money to states and communities to develop a system of programs that include work-based learning, school-based learning, and connecting activities components. School-To-Work programs will provide students with a high school diploma (or its equivalent), a nationally recognized skill certificate, or an associate degree (if appropriate) and may lead to a first job or further education.
  • Safe Schools Act of 1994 (Part of Public Law 103-227) authorized the award of competitive grants to local educational agencies with serious crime to implement violence prevention activities such as conflict resolution and peer mediation.
  • Educational Research, Development, Dissemination, and Improvement Act of 1994 (Part of Public Law 103-227) authorized the educational research and dissemination activities of the Office of Educational Research and Improvement. The regional educational laboratories and university-based research and development centers are authorized under this act.
  • Student Loan Default Exemption Extension (Public Law 103-235) amended the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend until July 1, 1998, the effective date for cohort default rate extension for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, tribally controlled community colleges, and Navajo community colleges.
  • Improving America's Schools Act (Public Law 103-382) reauthorized and revamped the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The legislation includes Title I, the federal government's largest program providing educational assistance to disadvantaged children; professional development and technical assistance programs; a safe and drug-free schools and communities provision; and provisions promoting school equity.


  • Amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (Public Law 104-5) amended a provision of Part A of Title IX of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 relating to Indian education, to provide a technical amendment and for other purposes.


  • Contract With America: Unfunded Mandates (Public Law 104-4) curbed the practice of imposing unfunded federal mandates on states and local governments; to 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.
  • Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act Amendments of 1996 (Public Law 104-1834) amended the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act to extend the act, and for other purposes.
  • Remove Grant Limits on Historically Black Colleges (Public Law 104-141) amended section 326 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to permit continued participation by historically black graduate and professional schools in the grant program authorized by that section.
  • Correct Impact-Aid Payments (Public Law 104-195) amended the Impact Aid Program to provide for a hold-harmless with respect to amounts for payments relating to the federal acquisition of real property, and for other purposes.
  • Human Rights, Refugee, and Other Foreign Relations Provisions Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-319) made certain provisions with respect to internationally recognized human rights, refugees, and foreign relations to revise U.S. human rights policy.


  • Need-Based Educational Aid Antitrust Protection Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-43) amended the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 to clarify the financial information exchanged between institutions of higher education.
  • The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-34) enacted the Hope Scholarship and Life-Long Learning Tax Credit provisions into law.
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 (Public Law 105-17) amended the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to revise its provisions and extend through fiscal year 2002 the authorization of appropriations for IDEA programs.
  • Emergency Student Loan Consolidation Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-78) amended the Higher Education Act to provide for improved student loan consolidation services.


  • Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-220) enacted the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, and substantially revised and extended, through fiscal year 2003, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
  • Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999 (Public Law 105-277) enacted the Reading Excellence Act, to promote the ability of children to read independently by the 3rd grade; earmarked funds to help states and school districts reduce class sizes in the early grades.
  • Charter School Expansion Act (Public Law 105-278) amended the charter school program, enacted in 1994 as Title X, Part C of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
  • Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Amendments of 1998 (Public Law 105-332) revised, in its entirety, the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act, and reauthorized the Act through fiscal year 2003.
  • Assistive Technology Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-394) replaced the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 with a new Act, authorized through fiscal year 2004, to address the assistive-technology needs of individuals with disabilities.


  • 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.
  • District of Columbia College Access Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-98) established a program to afford high school graduates from the District of Columbia the benefits of in-state tuition at state colleges and universities outside the District of Columbia.
  • Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-170) amended the Social Security Act to expand the availability of health care coverage for working individuals with disabilities and establishes a Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program in the Social Security Administration to provide such individuals with meaningful opportunities to work.



  • 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 extends the Impact Aid programs through fiscal year 2003.
  • College Scholarship Fraud Prevention Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-420) enhanced federal penalties for offenses involving scholarship fraud, required an annual scholarship fraud report by the Attorney General, the Secretary of Education, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and required the Secretary of Education, in conjunction with the FTC, to maintain a scholarship fraud awareness website.
  • Consolidated Appropriations Act 2001 (Public Law 106-554) created a new program of assistance for school repair and renovation, and amended the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to authorize credit enhancement initiatives to help charter schools obtain, construct, or repair facilities; reauthorized the Even Start program; and enacted the ~~"Children's Internet Protection Act."


  • 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 Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-116) provided fiscal year 2002 funds for Department of Education programs.
  • Reauthorization of the National Center for Education Statistics and the Creating of the Institute of Education Sciences of 2002 (Public Law 107-279) established the Institute of Education Sciences within the U.S. Department of Education to carry out a coordinated, focused agenda of high-quality research, statistics, and evaluation that is relevant to the educational challenges of the nation. The Institute is administered by a Director, appointed by the President, and is comprised of three National Education Centers, each headed by a Commissioner.
  • The Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2001 (Public Law 107-122) 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 the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
  • Established fixed interest rates for student and parent borrowers (Public Law 107-139) under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.


  • Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003 (Public Law 108-7) provided fiscal year 2003 funds for the Department of Education (and other agencies).
  • 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.
  • Higher Education Extension Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-366), provided a 1-year extension of the Higher Education Act of 1965.
  • Taxpayer-Teacher Protection Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-409), temporarily stopped excessive special allowance payments to certain lenders under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and increases the amount of loans that can be forgiven for certain borrowers who are highly qualified mathematics, science, and special education teachers who serve in high-poverty schools for five years.
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-446), provided a comprehensive reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  • District of Columbia College Access Act of 1999 (Public Law 108-457), extended the authorization of the District of Columbia College Access Act of 1999 through fiscal year 2007.

* The U.S. Department of Education as established in 1867 was later known as the Office of Education. In 1980, under Public Law 96-88, it became a cabinet-level department. Therefore, for purposes of consistency, it is referred to as the "U.S. Department of Education" even in those tables covering years when it was officially the Office of Education.