Education

The American education system is a patchwork of public and private programs spanning preschool to colleges and universities, serving millions of students in urban and rural settings.

Data Updated January 23, 2023
Table of Contents

What are the basic facts?

Get data on how students are faring by grade and subject, college graduation rates, and what federal, state, and local governments spending per student. The information comes from various government agencies including the National Center for Education Statistics and Census Bureau.

What is the role of the government in education?

Government spending

In fiscal year 2020, governments spent a combined total of $1.3 trillion on education.

That’s $3,995 per person.

USAFacts categorizes government budget data to allocate spending appropriately, and to arrive at the estimate presented here. Most government spending on education occurs at the state and local levels rather than federal.

Government revenue and expenditures are based on data from the Office of Management and Budget, the Census Bureau, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Each is published annually, although due to collection times, state and local government data are not as current as federal data. Thus, when combining federal, state, and local revenues and expenditures, the most recent year for a combined number may be delayed.

Key government actors

Focus
Key actors
Responsibilities

Early childhood education

Department of Education

Partially fund preschools

K-12 education

Department of Education

Partially fund K-12 schools

Higher education

Department of Education

Partially fund institutes of higher education

Aid for education

Department of Education

Establish policies and distribute aid (to states and individuals) including Title I funding for low-income K-12 schools, Pell Grants, federal work-study, and student loans

Researches and regulates schools

Department of Education

Enforce Title IX and other anti-discrimination policies; set rules for data collection and analysis

Focus

Early childhood education

K-12 education

Higher education

Aid for education

Researches and regulates schools

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