A recent report by the National Center for Education Statistics reveals that the US spends more on education than any other country in the world.
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In the United States, education is a constitutional right. Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes this right, and it has been reaffirmed in multiple international treaties and agreements. However, the education provided in the United States is not free. In fact, US spending on education ranks near the bottom of developed nations.
According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the US spends about $10,700 per student on elementary and secondary education. This is significantly less than what other developed countries are spending. For example, Norway spends about $14,700 per student, while Switzerland spends around $12,000. When it comes to tertiary education (i.e., colleges and universities), the US again ranks near the bottom of developed nations in terms of spending. The OECD reports that the US spends about $17,000 per student on tertiary education. By comparison, Norway spends about $20,700 per student and Switzerland spends around $19,100.
The US does not have a centralized system of funding for elementary and secondary education. Instead, funding comes from a variety of sources, including local property taxes, state income taxes, and federal grants. In 2013, local sources accounted for 45% of funding for elementary and secondary education, while state sources accounted for 39%. Federal sources made up just 16% of funding.
The majority of funding for higher education comes from two sources: tuition fees and federal grants. In 2012-2013, tuition fees accounted for 59% of funding for higher education in the US. Federal grants made up 20% of funding, while state and local sources contributed just 14% and 7%, respectively.
Despite being one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in, the US ranks near the bottom when it comes to spending on education. This is a cause for concern among many Americans who believe that investment in education is vital to maintaining a strong economy and ensuring opportunity for all citizens.
How Much Does the US Spend on Education?
The United States spends more on education than any other country in the world. In 2017, the US spent $1.3 trillion on education, which is more than China and India combined. This is an increase of $100 billion from 2016. The US spends more per student than any other country in the world. In 2016, the US spent $12,240 per student, which is more than double the OECD average of $5,453.
In 2016, the federal government spent $68.6 billion on elementary and secondary education, which is a little more than 2 percent of all federal spending and less than 10 percent of all spending on education in the United States.
The majority of federal spending on education goes to programs that provide financial aid to students and families, such as grants and loans. The largest program, the Pell Grant program, provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain postgraduate students to cover costs associated with attending college. In 2016, the Pell Grant program provided $28.6 billion in grant aid to more than 7 million students.
Other major programs include the Federal Direct Loan program, which provides low-interest loans to undergraduate and graduate students, and the Supplementary Educational Opportunity Grant program, which provides need-based grants to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need.
In the 2016-2017 school year, U.S. states spent an average of $11,762 per student on Elementary and Secondary Education (K-12). This was an increase of 2.4% from the previous school year. The State of New York had the highest per-student spending at $24,215 while Utah had the lowest at $6,575.
While state spending on education has been increasing in recent years, it is still below the level it was at before the 2008 recession. In 2008, states spent an average of $12,509 per student. In 2017, they spent $11,762 per student, a decrease of 6%.
The majority of state education spending goes towards salaries and benefits for teachers and other school staff. In the 2016-2017 school year, salaries and benefits made up 58% of total spending on K-12 education.
In the United States, education spending is primarily a responsibility of state and local government. In 2017, state and local governments are projected to spend $620 billion, or about $10,291 per student on elementary and secondary education. This is compared to the $590 billion, or about $9,100 per student, spent in 2016. The federal government is projected to spend $69 billion on elementary and secondary education in 2017, which is about 11 percent of all education spending.
Total US spending on elementary and secondary education has increased steadily over the past decade. In inflation-adjusted terms, spending increased from $518 billion in 2007 to $590 billion in 2016. This represents an increase of about 13 percent. However, per-pupil spending has not kept pace with this overall growth. In 2007, per-pupil spending was $9,266 when adjusted for inflation. In 2016, it was $9,100—a decline of about 2 percent.
How Does the US Spend Its Education Budget?
The United States spends more money on education than any other country in the world. In 2017, the US spent $620 billion on education, which is more than double the amount spent by the second-highest country, China. So, where does all this money go? Let’s take a look.
Elementary and Secondary Education
In the United States, the federal government provides about 7 percent of funding for elementary and secondary education, while state and local governments provide the remaining 93 percent. The country spent a total of $634 billion on elementary and secondary education in the 2017-2018 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
The vast majority of funding for elementary and secondary education comes from state and local sources. In the 2017-2018 school year, 89 percent of funding came from these sources, while just 11 percent came from the federal government.
The largest share of funding comes from property taxes, which account for 45 percent of all funding. Other major sources include state general revenue (28 percent), local general revenue (11 percent), federal grants (7 percent), and other sources (9 percent).
Federal and state government spending on higher education totaled $93.9 billion in fiscal year 2017, or about 0.44 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Approximately 60 percent of this spending came from state and local sources, with the remaining 40 percent coming from the federal government.
In terms of federal spending, the largest share—60 percent—goes to student financial aid programs, such as grants and loans. The second-largest share is spent on research and development (27 percent), followed by institutional support (8 percent) and other initiatives (5 percent).
State government spending on higher education totaled $73.8 billion in fiscal year 2017, or 0.57 percent of state GDP. The largest share of state funding for higher education goes to public institutions (68 percent), followed by student financial aid programs (18 percent) and research and development (10 percent).
Local government spending on higher education totaled $13.4 billion in fiscal year 2017, or 0.26 percent of local GDP. The majority of local funding for higher education goes to public institutions (73 percent), with the remaining 27 percent going to student financial aid programs.
Other Education Spending
In addition to the $590 billion that states and localities are estimated to spend on elementary and secondary education in 2013-14, they are projected to invest an additional $87 billion in preschool programs and other educational services. Federal spending on preschool programs totaled $37 billion in 2012, while federal expenditures on postsecondary education totaled an estimated $62 billion in 2013-14. When all levels of government are considered, the United States is projected to spend a total of $1.3 trillion on elementary and secondary education, preschool, and postsecondary education in 2013-14.
How much does the US spend on Education? In 2012, the most recent year for which data are available, the US devoted a little more than 5 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to education at all levels—postsecondary, primary, and secondary. This equates to $1.3 trillion spent on education in 2012 or an average of $10,440 per student enrolled in school that year.
In conclusion, the United States spends more money on education than any other country in the world. However, it is important to note that this money is not always spent efficiently or effectively. There are a number of factors that contribute to this problem, including the high cost of living in the US, the large number of students enrolled in private schools, and the unequal distribution of resources between public and private schools.