How Much Does the Federal Government Spend on Education?

How much does the federal government spend on education? This blog will explore that question and provide some context.

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The federal government provides funding for education through a variety of programs and initiatives. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) budget was $71.6 billion. This spending supported a variety of programs, including elementary and secondary education, higher education, and research and development.

Federal spending on education has increased significantly over time. In FY 2020, total federal spending on education was more than five times what it was in FY 1960 (in constant FY 2020 dollars). However, as a share of the federal budget, ED’s budget has declined over time. In FY 1960, ED’s budget represented 3.1 percent of total federal spending; in FY 2020, it represented 1.9 percent.

In addition to direct spending by ED, the federal government provides funding for education through other agencies and programs. For example, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Head Start program provides early childhood education for low-income children. The Department of Defense’s Title I program provides funds to schools with high percentages of students from low-income families to help improve academic achievement.

How much does the federal government spend on education?

The federal government spends close to $700 billion on education every year. This includes spending on elementary and secondary education, as well as higher education. The majority of this spending goes to elementary and secondary education, which is around $500 billion.

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How is this money spent?

How is this money spent?
The majority of federal funding for education goes to elementary and secondary education, with a smaller but still significant portion going to post-secondary education. In recent years, the federal government has also started to invest more in early childhood education.

Federal funding for education comes from a number of different sources, the biggest of which is the US Department of Education. Other notable sources include the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Defense.

Most federal education spending goes towards financial aid for students, with about two-thirds of all aid coming in the form of grants. The rest goes towards loans, work-study programs, and other initiatives.

What are the benefits of this spending?

The federal government provides a significant amount of funding for education, which can have a positive impact on both individuals and society as a whole. This funding can provide opportunities for people to access quality education,which can lead to improved employment prospects and higher wages. In addition, it can also help to close the achievement gaps between different groups of students, leading to a more equitable society.


In conclusion, the federal government spends a significant amount of money on education, but the amount varies depending on the source of funding. The majority of funding comes from discretionary spending, which is determined by Congress each year. However, a small portion of funding also comes from mandatory spending, which is set by law and does not depend on Congress’s annual appropriation decisions.

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