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Digest of Education Statistics: 2019
Digest of Education Statistics: 2019

NCES 2021-009
February 2021

Chapter 4: Federal Funds for Education and Related Activities

This chapter provides information on federal support for education. The tables include detailed data on funding by specific federal agencies, funding for different levels of education and types of education-related activities, and funding for specific programs. Preceding the tables is a brief chronology of federal education legislation enacted since 1787, which provides historical context for the education funding data.

The data in this chapter primarily reflect outlays and appropriations of federal agencies. The data are compiled from budget information prepared by federal agencies. In contrast, most of the federal revenue data reported in other chapters are compiled by educational institutions or state education agencies and reported to the federal government through standardized survey forms. Tabulations based on institution- or state-reported revenue data differ substantially from federal budget reports because of numerous variations in methodology and definitions. Federal dollars are not necessarily spent by recipient institutions in the same year in which 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 (e.g., Department of Defense overseas and domestic schools, state education agencies, Head Start programs, and federal libraries) are not included in regular surveys, censuses, and administrative data collections 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 402.10 (web only) with the data on outlays and appropriations appearing in other tables in this chapter.

Federal Education Funding

Federal on-budget funding (federal funds for education programs tied to appropriations) for education increased by 77 percent from $138.1 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2000 to $244.4 billion in FY 2019, after adjustment for inflation (table D, table 401.10, and figure 20). Federal funds in FY 2019 were higher than in FY 2000 for all major program categories. Federal funds for elementary and secondary education in FY 2019 were 34 percent higher than in FY 2000; funds for postsecondary education were 219 percent higher; funds for other education were 16 percent higher; and funds for research at educational institutions were 30 percent higher. While funding levels were higher in FY 2019 than in FY 2000 for these major categories, changes were not consistent across the categories during this time period.

The overall increase in the federal funding level for education was smaller between FY 2010 and FY 2019 (18 percent) than between FY 2000 and FY 2010 (50 percent), after adjustment for inflation. Federal on-budget funding was higher in FY 2010 than in FY 2000 for each of the four major categories reported: postsecondary education (by 99 percent), elementary and secondary education (by 35 percent), research at educational institutions (by 34 percent), and other education (by 25 percent; table D, table 401.10, and figure 20). In contrast, federal on-budget funding was higher in FY 2019 than in FY 2010 for only one of the four categories: for postsecondary education, federal on-budget funding was 60 percent higher in FY 2019 than in FY 2010. Federal funding for the category of other education was 7 percent lower in FY 2019 than in FY 2010, after adjustment for inflation. Also, funding for research at educational institutions was 3 percent lower in FY 2019 than in FY 2010, and funding for elementary and secondary education was 1 percent lower.

   
Table D. Federal on-budget funding for education, by category: Selected fiscal years, 2000 through 2019
 
[In billions of constant fiscal year (FY) 2019 dollars]
Fiscal year Total Elementary/
secondary
Postsecondary Other
education
Research at
educational
institutions
2000 $138.1 $64.2 $33.7 $8.5 $31.7
2005 208.1 89.0 60.4 9.4 43.1
2010 206.7 86.5 67.0 10.6 42.6
2015 220.9 84.0 92.3 10.1 34.5
2016 211.6 86.8 79.2 10.2 35.5
20171 249.9 85.1 118.7 10.0 36.1
2018 219.9 86.5 85.0 9.7 38.7
2019 244.4 85.9 107.5 9.9 41.2
1 The increase in postsecondary expenditures in 2017 resulted primarily from an accounting adjustment.
NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Budget Service and National Center for Education Statistics, unpublished tabulations. U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the U.S. Government, Appendix, various FYs. National Science Foundation, Federal Funds for Research and Development, various FYs.

After adjustment for inflation, off-budget support and nonfederal funds generated by federal legislation (e.g., primarily loans for postsecondary students supported by federal appropriations) showed an increase of 135 percent between FY 2000 ($49.3 billion in FY 2019 dollars) and FY 2010 ($116.1 billion in FY 2019 dollars; table 401.10). In FY 2019, these same funds totaled $91.0 billion, reflecting a decrease of 22 percent from FY 2010. Note that total enrollment in degree-granting institutions decreased by 7 percent between fall 2010 and fall 2018 (table 303.10).

In current dollars (not adjusted for inflation), federal on-budget funds for education in FY 2018 totaled $216.1 billion (figure 21 and table 401.20). The U.S. Department of Education provided 45 percent ($96.4 billion) of this total. Funds exceeding $2.5 billion also came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ($45.0 billion), the U.S. Department of Agriculture ($26.8 billion), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ($14.5 billion), the U.S. Department of Defense ($7.9 billion), the National Science Foundation ($6.1 billion), the U.S. Department of Labor ($5.0 billion), the U.S. Department of Energy ($4.4 billion), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ($2.9 billion).

The largest program areas for elementary and secondary education in FY 2019 were Child nutrition programs (U.S. Department of Agriculture, $23.1 billion), Education for the disadvantaged (U.S. Department of Education, $16.5 billion), Special education (U.S. Department of Education, $13.5 billion), and Head Start (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, $10.1 billion; table 401.30). The largest postsecondary programs were the Direct Loan Program (U.S. Department of Education, $36.5 billion), Student financial assistance (U.S. Department of Education, $31.6 billion), Medicare medical education benefits (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, $14.1 billion), and the Post-9/11 GI Bill (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, $10.7 billion). Another program area exceeding $10 billion in FY 2019 was U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funds for research at universities and related institutions ($20.9 billion).

Chronology of Federal Education Legislation

A capsule view of the history of federal education activities is provided in the following list of selected legislation:

1787   Northwest Ordinance authorized land grants for the establishment of educational institutions.

1802   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.)

1862   First Morrill Act authorized public land grants to the states for the establishment and maintenance of agricultural and mechanical colleges.

1867   Department of Education Act authorized the establishment of the U.S. Department of Education.1

1876   Appropriation Act, U.S. Department of the Treasury, established the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

1890   Second Morrill Act provided for monetary grants for support of instruction in the agricultural and mechanical colleges.

1911   State Marine School Act authorized federal funds to be used for the benefit of any nautical school in any of 11 specified seaport cities.

1917   Smith-Hughes Act provided for grants to states for support of vocational education.

1918   Vocational Rehabilitation Act provided for grants for rehabilitation through training of World War I veterans.

1920   Smith-Bankhead Act authorized grants to states for vocational rehabilitation programs.

1935   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.

1936   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.

1937   National Cancer Institute Act (Public Law 75-244) established the Public Health Service fellowship program.

1941   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.

1943   Vocational Rehabilitation Act (Public Law 78-16) provided assistance to veterans with disabilities.

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

1944   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.

1946   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.

1948   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.

1949   Federal Property and Administrative Services Act (Public Law 81-152) provided for donation of surplus property to educational institutions and for other public purposes.

1950   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.

1954   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.

1956   Library Services Act (Public Law 84-597) provided grants to states for extension and improvement of rural public library services.

1957   Practical Nurse Training Act (Public Law 84-911) provided grants to states for practical nurse training.

1958   National Defense Education Act (Public Law 85-864) provided assistance to state and local school systems for instruction in science, mathematics, modern foreign languages, and other critical subjects; state statistical services; guidance, counseling, and testing services and training institutes; higher education student loans and fellowships as well as foreign language study and training; experimentation and dissemination of information on more effective use 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 disabled.

Captioned Films for the Deaf Act (Public Law 85-905) authorized a loan service of captioned films for the deaf.

1961   Area Redevelopment Act (Public Law 87-27) included provisions for training or retraining of people in redevelopment areas.

1962   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.

1963   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 (Public Law 88-210, Part A) 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 higher education institutions.

1964   Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Public Law 88-352) authorized the Commissioner of Education to arrange for support for higher education institutions 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).

1965   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.

1966   International Education Act (Public Law 89-698) provided grants to higher education institutions 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.

1967   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 educational television networks; conduct research, demonstration, or training in matters related to noncommercial broadcasting; and award grants for construction of educational radio and television facilities.

1968   Elementary and Secondary Education Amendments of 1968 (Public Law 90-247) modified existing programs and 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 children with disabilities; 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 children with disabilities.

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.

1970   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 Science 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.

1971   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.

1972   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.

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 higher education institutions; 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.

1973   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 employment and training opportunities for unemployed and underemployed people. 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.

1974   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.

1975   Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (Public Law 93-638) provided for increased participation of American Indian/Alaska Native populations 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 for and pursue careers in public service.

Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142) provided that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate education designed to meet their unique needs.

1976   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.

1977   Youth Employment and Demonstration Projects Act of 1977 (Public Law 95-93) established a youth employment training program including, among other activities, promotion of 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.

1978   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 American Indian/Alaska Native students.

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.

1979   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 (HEW) along with other selected education programs from HEW, the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Labor, and the National Science Foundation.

1980   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.

1981   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.

1983   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 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and added authorization of the 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 (providing funds for altering existing buildings and equipment to make them accessible to those with physical disabilities) and clarified participation of children with disabilities in private schools.

1984   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 people, including disabled 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.

1985   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.

1986   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.

Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1986 (Part of Public Law 99-570) established programs for drug abuse education and prevention, coordinated with related community efforts and resources, through the use of federal financial assistance.

1988   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.

Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Amendments Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-628) extended for 2 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.

1989   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.

1990   Excellence in Mathematics, Science and Engineering Education Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-589) created a national mathematics and science clearinghouse and created several other mathematics, science, and engineering education programs.

Student Right-To-Know and Campus Security Act (Public Law 101-542) required higher education institutions receiving federal financial assistance to provide certain information about graduation rates of student-athletes and about campus crime statistics and security policies. (The 1990 campus crime and security legislation, along with later acts that amended it, is generally referred to as “the Clery Act.”)

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-336) prohibited discrimination against people 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.

1991   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 courses 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.

1992   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 related materials for preschool and elementary school children and their parents, child care providers, and educators.

1993   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. In addition, provided education grants up to $4,725 per year for 2 years to people age 17 or older who perform community service before, during, or after postsecondary education.

1994   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.

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.

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.

1996   Contract With America: Unfunded Mandates (Public Law 104-4) 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.

1997   The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-34) enacted the Hope Scholarship and Life-Long Learning Tax Credit provisions into law.

Emergency Student Loan Consolidation Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-78) amended the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide for improved student loan consolidation services.

1998   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.

Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Public Law 105-244) expanded crime categories that must be reported by postsecondary institutions.

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 third grade, and 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 FY 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 FY 2004, to address the assistive-technology needs of individuals with disabilities.

1999   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.

2000   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.

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.

2001   50th Anniversary of Brown v. 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.

2002   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.

Education Sciences Reform Act (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 Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2001 (Public Law 107-122) provided the Secretary of Education with waiver authority over 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.

Public Law 107-139 amended Title IV of the Higher Education Act to establish fixed interest rates for student and parent borrowers.

2003   The Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-76) provided the Secretary of Education with waiver authority over 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.

2004   Assistive Technology Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-364) reauthorized the Assistive Technology program, administered by the Department of Education.

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 increased the amount of loans that can be forgiven for certain borrowers who are highly qualified in mathematics, science, and special education teachers who serve in high-poverty schools for 5 years.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-446) provided a comprehensive reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

2005   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.

Natural Disaster Student Aid Fairness Act (Public Law 109-86) authorized the Secretary of Education during FY 2006 to reallocate campus-based student aid funds to institutions of higher learning in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas, or institutions that had accepted students displaced by Hurricane Katrina or Rita. The law also waived requirements for matching funds that are normally imposed on institutions and students.

Hurricane Education Recovery Act (Public Law 109-148, provision in the Defense Department Appropriations Act for FY 2006) provided funds for states affected by Hurricane Katrina to restart school operations, provide temporary emergency aid for displaced students, and assist homeless youth. The law also permitted the Secretary of Education to extend deadlines under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for those affected by Katrina or Rita.

2006   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 109-211 reauthorized the “ED-FLEX” program (under the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999), under which the Secretary of Education permits states to waive certain requirements of federal statutes and regulations if they meet certain conditions.

Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-270) reauthorized the vocational and technical education programs under the Perkins Act through 2012.

2007   America COMPETES Act (or “America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act”) (Public Law 110-69) created new STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education programs in various agencies, including the Department of Education.

College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-84) reduced interest rates on student loans and made other amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 to make college more accessible and affordable.

Public Law 110-93 made permanent the waiver authority of the Secretary of Education with respect to student financial assistance during a war or other military operation or national emergency.

2008   Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-227) provided 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.

Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) provided a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

2009    American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5) provided about $100 billion to state education systems and supplemental appropriations for several Department of Education programs.

Public Law 111-39 made miscellaneous and technical amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965.

2010   Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-152) included, as Title II, the “SAFRA Act” (also known as the “Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act”). The SAFRA Act ended the federal government’s role in subsidizing financial institutions that make student loans through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program under Part B of Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), and correspondingly expanded the Federal Direct Student Loan Program administered by the Department of Education under Part D of Title IV of the HEA.

Public Law 111-226 provided an additional $10 billion to states and school districts, through an “Education Jobs Fund” modeled closely on the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund created by the 2009 Recovery Act, to hire (or avoid laying off) teachers and other educators.

2013   The Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013 (Public Law 113-28) amended the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) to govern the interest rates on the various categories of student loans under Title IV of the HEA.

Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (Public Law 113-4) amended the Clery Act, increasing the responsibility of postsecondary institutions to prevent, address, and report crimes on campus.

2014   Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (Public Law 113-128) amended the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to strengthen the U.S. workforce development system through innovation in, and alignment and improvement of, employment, training, and education programs in the United States, and to promote individual and national economic growth, and for other purposes.

Public Law 113-174 extended the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity and the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance for 1 year.

2015   Need-Based Educational Aid Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-44) amended the Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994 to extend through FY 2022 the antitrust exemption that allows higher education institutions that admit all students on a need-blind basis to enter or attempt to enter into agreements among themselves regarding the administration of need-based financial aid.

STEM Education Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-59) defined STEM education to include computer science and provided for continued support for existing STEM education programs at the National Science Foundation.

Every Student Succeeds Act (Public Law 114-95) reauthorized and amended the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, incorporating provisions to expand state responsibility over schools, provide grants to charter schools, and reduce the federal test-based accountability system of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Federal Perkins Loan Program Extension Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-105) temporarily extended the Federal Perkins Loan program, allowing continued disbursement of loans to current undergraduate borrowers through September 30, 2017.

2016   National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114-328) authorizes appropriations to continue assistance to local educational agencies that benefit dependents of members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense civilian employees, including assistance to schools with significant numbers of military dependents as well as impact aid for children with severe disabilities.

2017   Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria Education Relief Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-64) provides educational relief in areas for which the President has declared a major disaster or an emergency as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, or Maria or Tropical Storms Harvey, Irma, or Maria.

2018   National Historic Site Boundary Modification Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-117) adjusts the boundary of the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site in Arkansas.

Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-123) provides disaster-relief funds for education.

National Memorial to Fallen Educators Act (Public Law 115-169) designates a National Memorial to Fallen Educators at the National Teachers Hall of Fame in Emporia, Kansas.

Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Public Law 115-224) brings changes to the $1.2 billion annual federal investment in career and technical education (CTE).

Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-435) establishes an Interagency Council on Evaluation Policy to assist the OMB in supporting government-wide evaluation activities and policies.

2019   Recognizing Achievement in Classified School Employees Act (Public Law 116-13) establishes the Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award Program recognizing excellence exhibited by school employees providing services to students in prekindergarten through high school.

Building Blocks of STEM Act (Public Law 116-102) modifies grant programs of the National Science Foundation that support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, including computer science (STEM) education, particularly for underrepresented groups.

2020   Never Again Education Act (Public Law 116-141) authorizes the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to support Holocaust education programs.


1 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.

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