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Education Statistics Quarterly
Vol 2, Issue 4, Topic: Crosscutting Statistics
Federal Support for Education: Fiscal Years 1980 to 2000
By: Charlene M. Hoffman
 
This article was excerpted from the Introduction and Highlights of the report of the same name. The data are primarily from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Department of Education's Budget Service, the National Science Foundation, and the budget offices of other federal agencies.
 
 

Introduction

This report attempts to provide a comprehensive picture of total federal financial support for education since fiscal year (FY) 1980.1 In addition to Department of Education programs, the many other federal programs that support education are included. The report also includes other types of federal support that are sometimes overlooked.

Categories of federal support

This report puts federal education funding into three categories: on-budget support, off-budget support, and nonfederal funds generated by federal programs.

On-budget funds are provided through programs funded by congressional appropriations. Although some consolidation of education programs in one federal agency was achieved with the establishment of the U.S. Department of Education in 1980, many large and significant federal education programs remain outside the Department. In addition, many federal programs involving education have other primary purposes. In order to account fully for all federal support for education, programs residing in other federal departments and agencies having significant educational components are included, even if they have additional purposes.

Off-budget support is federal money that has been excluded from the budget by law. Off-budget support in this report consists of the loan capital that is provided directly by the federal government under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan (FDSL) program.

Nonfederal funds generated by federal programs result from federal loan guarantees and interest subsidies to support loan capital raised through various private and public sources. Nonfederal funds are also made available for education purposes when federal programs require matching funds or offer incentives and subsidies. Almost all such nonfederal education funds go to postsecondary education.

Federal tax expenditures

Education programs can be supported either by direct funding or by indirect funding mechanisms such as tax expenditures. In this report, federal tax expenditures include only reductions in tax revenue received by the federal government due to deductions, exemptions, and credits allowable in the tax code. Unless otherwise noted, tables and discussions of federal support in this report do not include federal tax expenditures.

Outlays versus appropriations or obligations

To the extent possible, outlays were used in this report rather than appropriations or obligations, with the exception that obligations were used for academic research at institutions of higher education. Outlays are the actual amount of dollars spent. Appropriations are the amount of funds made available in legislation providing funds for federal programs. Obligations are spending commitments by the federal government that will require outlays either immediately or in the future.

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Highlights

The federal government provides support for education well beyond programs funded through the Department of Education. Federal support for education, excluding estimated federal tax expenditures, was an estimated $122.8 billion in FY 2000 (table A), an increase of $60.0 billion, or 95 percent, since FY 90. After adjustment for inflation, federal support for education increased 55 percent between FY 90 and FY 2000.

Table A.-Federal on-budget funds for education, by level or other educational purpose, and off-budget support and nonfederal funds generated by federal legislation: Fiscal years 1980, 1985, 1990, and 2000

Table A.-Federal on-budget funds for education, by level or other educational purpose, and off-budget support and nonfederal funds generated by federal legislation: Fiscal years 1980, 1985, 1990, and 2000

1Estimated.

2Off-budget support and nonfederal funds generated by federal legislation.

NOTE: Detail may not add to totals due to rounding.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education: Office of the Under Secretary, unpublished data, and National Center for Education Statistics, compiled from data appearing in U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the United States Government, fiscal years (FY) 1982-2001 (selected years); National Science Foundation, Federal Funds for Research and Development, FY 1980-2000 (selected years); and unpublished data obtained from various federal agencies. (Originally published as an untitled table on p. iv of the complete report from which this article is excerpted.)

For FY 2000, on-budget federal funds for education programs were estimated to be $90.7 billion, an increase of 76 percent since FY 90 in current dollars2 or an increase of 39 percent after being adjusted for inflation. Off-budget support and nonfederal funds generated by federal legislation (predominantly postsecondary education loans) were estimated at $32.1 billion, a rise of 187 percent in current dollars between FY 90 and FY 2000 and 127 percent in constant dollars.

Support from on-budget program funds

Between FY 80 and FY 2000, after being adjusted for inflation, federal on-budget program funds for elementary and secondary education3 increased 39 percent; postsecondary education funds declined 9 percent; other education funds (which include funds for libraries, museums, cultural activities, and miscellaneous research) increased 89 percent; and funds for research at universities and university-administered research and development centers increased 84 percent.

Between FY 90 and FY 2000, federal on-budget funds for elementary and secondary education increased 58 percent in constant dollars, postsecondary education funds increased 15 percent, other education funds increased 35 percent, and research funds at colleges and universities increased 32 percent.

In FY 2000, Department of Education outlays totaled an estimated $40.7 billion (table B), reflecting an increase of 57 percent after being adjusted for inflation from FY 80 and an increase of 39 percent between FY 90 and FY 2000. The Department of Education's share of total federal on-budget education funds rose from 38 percent in FY 80 to 45 percent in FY 90 and FY 2000 (figure A).

Table B.-Funds provided by fiscal year 2000's largest providers of federal on-budget funds for education, by agency: Fiscal years 1980, 1985, 1990, and 2000

Table B.-Funds provided by fiscal year 2000’s largest providers of federal on-budget funds for education, by agency: Fiscal years 1980, 1985, 1990, and 2000

*Estimated.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education: Office of the Under Secretary, unpublished data, and National Center for Education Statistics, compiled from data appearing in U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the United States Government, fiscal years (FY) 1982-2001 (selected years); National Science Foundation, Federal Funds for Research and Development, FY 1980-2000 (selected years); and unpublished data obtained from various federal agencies. (Originally published as an untitled table on p. iv of the complete report from which this article is excerpted.)

Figure A.-Percentage distribution of federal on-budget funds for education, by agency: Fiscal year 2000

Figure A.-Percentage distribution of federal on-budget funds for education, by agency: Fiscal year 2000

NOTE: Detail may not add to totals due to rounding.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, compiled from data appearing in U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the United States Government, fiscal year (FY) 2001; National Science Foundation, Federal Funds for Research and Development, FY 98, 99, and 2000; and unpublished data obtained from various federal agencies. (Originally published as figure 2 on p. 7 of the complete report from which this article is excerpted.)

Estimates of federal tax expenditures

Between FY 80 and FY 2000, estimated federal tax expenditures, after being adjusted for inflation, increased 50 percent. Between FY 90 and FY 2000, they went up 64 percent. Estimated federal tax expenditures' share of total federal support in education was 24 percent in FY 2000.

Recipients of federal education support

Almost 60 percent of federal education support, excluding estimated federal tax expenditures, went to educational institutions in FY 2000. Another 19 percent was used for student support. The remaining 21 percent went to banks and other lending agencies, libraries, museums, and federal institutions.

Schools and colleges derived 11 percent of their FY 2000 revenues from the federal government, with the remaining revenues coming from state and local governments, individuals, and private organizations. Of the estimated $650.2 billion in direct expenditures by schools and colleges in FY 2000, revenues from federal sources amounted to $73.3 billion and revenues from other sources amounted to $576.9 billion.

The estimated federal share of expenditures of educational institutions declined from 14 percent in FY 80 to 10 percent in FY 90 and then increased to 11 percent in FY 2000. Among elementary and secondary educational institutions, the federal share declined from 12 percent in FY 80 to 7 percent in FY 90 and then increased to almost 9 percent in FY 2000. Among institutions of higher education, the federal share declined from 18 percent in FY 80 to 14 percent in FY 90 and then rose to 15 percent in FY 2000.

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Footnotes

1 Some data have been revised from Federal Support for Education: Fiscal Years 1980 to 1999 (Hoffman 2000) and Digest of Education Statistics: 1999 (Snyder and Hoffman 2000). In addition to the data covering FY 80 to FY 2000, appendix tables in the full report include historical data from FY 65, FY 70, and FY 75.

2 Current dollars are amounts that have not been adjusted for inflation. Constant dollars are amounts that have been adjusted by means of price indexes to eliminate inflationary factors and allow direct comparison across years. In this report, constant dollars were computed based on the federal funds composite deflator from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB 2000). The inflation index rose 97.2 percent between FY 80 and FY 2000.

3 In this report, elementary and secondary education programs include adult and vocational education programs in the U.S. Department of Education as well as other training programs, such as those in the U.S. Department of Labor (the Job Corps and other job training programs) and those in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.


References

Hoffman, C.M. (2000). Federal Support for Education: Fiscal Years 1980 to 1999 (NCES 2000-019). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Snyder, T.D., and Hoffman, C.M. (2000). Digest of Education Statistics: 1999 (NCES 2000-031). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

U.S. Office of Management and Budget. (2000). Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2001. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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Data sources:

NCES: Common Core of Data (CCD); 1987 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, "Finance Survey" (IPEDS-F:FY 1987-98) (selected years); and unpublished tabulations.

Other: U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the United States Government, FY 1967-2001 editions (selected years); U.S. Department of Education, Office of the Under Secretary, Budget Service, unpublished data; National Science Foundation, Federal Funds for Research and Development, FY 1965-2000 editions (selected years); and various federal agencies, unpublished data.

For technical information, see the complete report:

Hoffman, C.M. (2000). Federal Support for Education: Fiscal Years 1980 to 2000 (NCES 2000-068).

Author affiliation: C.M. Hoffman, NCES.

For questions about content, contact Thomas D. Snyder.

To obtain the complete report (NCES 2000-068), visit the NCES Web Site (http://nces.ed.gov).

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