Department of Education

The Federal Budget


Media contact: 202-401-1576
FY2012 Request: $77.4 billion
FY2011 Request: $72.9billion
FY2010 Enacted: $ 64.1billion

In its first two years, the Administration has achieved extraordinary, fundamental reforms that will benefit students of all ages and their families and help create a workforce that can compete with any in the world economy for decades to come.  The President’s Budget builds upon this success and strives to make a high-quality education accessible to all – a key driver of America’s future economic prosperity and global competitiveness. 

Accordingly, the President’s Budget provides $77.4 billion for the Department of Education. This includes new investments in innovative, outcome-oriented programs that build on the “Race to the Top” model, and preserves the recent increase in the maximum Pell Grant to $5,550.  At the same time, the Budget makes hard choices as part of a government-wide effort to reduce spending.  To put Pell Grants on firm financial footing, the Budget eliminates the ineffective in-school interest subsidy for graduate students and eliminates the costly new “year-round” Pell Grant Program which provides two grants in a single award year.  To support reform in K-12 education, the Budget consolidates 38 K-12 programs into 11 more flexible programs, and it cuts or eliminates funding for programs without proven outcomes.  Excluding Pell Grants, the Budget provides $48.8 billion, a significant increase that is nonetheless smaller than last year’s due to the fiscal environment.

Invests in an Educated, Competitive America

  • Provides $1.4 billion for new competitions, modeled on the successful and cost effective Race to the Top, to strengthen and reform early childhood education, improve district performance in elementary and secondary education, and improve outcomes in higher education. This includes:
    • a new, competitive Early Learning Challenge Fund for States that are ready to take dramatic steps to improve the quality of their early childhood programs;
    • a new K-12 Race to the Top that will bring to school districts the same “Race to the Top” reform approach that has already brought so much change at the State level; 
    • and a new “First in the World” competition to test, validate, and scale up effective approaches to improving college access and completion and generating better outcomes for every dollar of investment.
  • Sustains maximum Pell Grant awards at $5,550, $819 above the level in 2008, providing access to postsecondary education for over 9.6 million students to attend college and provides new College Completion Incentive rewards for colleges and universities that achieve outcomes for disadvantaged students.
  • Strengthens the effectiveness of America’s teachers with $975 million in reform-oriented initiatives to recruit, prepare, reward, and retain great teachers.
  • Invests in improving outcomes for individuals with disabilities through a $200 million increase for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) state grants, a $50 million increase for IDEA grants for infants and toddlers, and $70 million for three new collaborative initiatives to support innovation in the areas of workforce development, accessibility, and Supplemental Security Income.
  • Strengthens the effectiveness of America’s teachers with $975 million in competitive initiatives to recruit, prepare, reward, and retain great teachers.

Uses Resources More Effectively for Better Results

  • To protect the maximum Pell Grant award, the Budget makes tough choices—like eliminating the costly new “year-round Pell Grant” which provides two grants in a single award year, and creates a long-term funding stream for the Pell Grant program by eliminating ineffective in-school interest subsidy for graduate students.
  • The Budget eliminates 13 discretionary programs and consolidates 38 K-12 programs into 11 new programs that emphasize using competition to allocate funds, giving communities more choices around activities, and using rigorous evidence to fund what works.  The Administration's proposal also includes provisions to ensure that new grant competitions result in an equitable geographic distribution of funds nationwide, including to rural communities.
  • Invests $26.8 billion, an increase of 6.9 percent, in a reformed Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) focused on reform-oriented competitive initiatives that increase flexibility for states, while consolidating dozens of programs, and cutting those that do not demand results.  This includes:
    • $600 million for School Turnaround Grants to support the Administration’s commitment to helping States and districts turn around our nation’s lowest performing schools.
    • $300 million in new Title I funding to reward schools that show the most progress in improving the achievement of at-risk students.
    • $300 million to continue the Investing in Innovation program to test, validate, and scale up effective approaches to student learning.
    • $150 million in Promise Neighborhoods, an initiative that integrates a rigorous K-12 education with a full network of support services across an entire neighborhood, so that youth successfully complete high school and continue on to college.
    • $372 million to expand educational options by helping grow effective charter schools and other autonomous public schools that achieve positive results and give parents more choices. 
    • $835 million to support a well-rounded education, including reading; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); and the humanities; and $365 million for efforts to promote school safety, health, and well-being.
    • $750 million to strengthen and reform education for English learners and to support innovations that will improve learning outcomes.