The Fiscal Year 2017 Budget: Promoting Greater Use of Evidence and Data as a Lever for Advancing Equity


Over the last seven years, the Obama Administration and the Department of Education have pioneered efforts that encourage grantees and practitioners to use evidence of what works in education in ways that can improve student outcomes. A focus on evidence and data also can be a powerful tool to advance equity.

For example, under our new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states will establish new accountability systems that will include indicators of success that reflect a broad picture of how schools are serving all children, and not just in academics. States could decide to look at information about students’ socioemotional growth, for instance, and whether schools are helping children develop skills like resilience and the ability to effectively collaborate with peers. States also could examine data and trends related to chronic absenteeism, and ensure schools are intervening when students are missing too much class time. Educators could analyze students’ academic achievement and better target supports that may help struggling students to master certain skills or become proficient in English. The use of robust information can be leveraged by teachers, local educational agencies, and states to advance equity and excellence throughout our education system.

Both the Administration and the Department have made evidence-based grant programs, such as Investing in Innovation (i3) and First in the World (FITW), a priority and have significantly scaled up the use of evidence-based grant-making. In close partnership with the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), grantees and researchers are working together to draw from—and expand—the body of high-quality research about promising practices and proven strategies in education so that schools, districts, and states can leverage this information in their decision making.

The 2017 budget would support states and local educational agencies both with their use of data and evidence on what works—from research studies and evaluations. For example, funds for IES would be used to improve data-informed decision making at all levels by increasing resources dedicated to research awards that build the evidence base for what works in education.

The priority projects outlined in the budget also would increase data transparency. A great example of this work is the College Scorecard, which was launched in September 2015. The College Scorecard provides students, parents, and the public with unprecedented amounts of information about college costs, financial aid, and graduation rates at colleges and universities—all in one place.

Finally, the budget would strengthen the ways in which the Department shares research and information so that everyone—from educators and students, to policymakers and administrators, to schools and communities—can have greater access to the data and research they need, in digestible formats, to inform everyday decisions.

Here is a quick snapshot of how the 2017 budget invests in evidence and data, across three priority areas:

Increasing Equity and Excellence in Education:

  • $180 million for the Education Innovation and Research program, an increase of $60 million, or 50 percent, for the successor to the Investing in Innovation (i3) program to expand support for evidence-based initiatives to develop, validate, and scale up effective education interventions that will help states and local educational agencies to meet requirements under federal law.
  • $44.3 million for IDEA Technical Assistance and Dissemination, an increase of $10 million, to substantially increase the Administration’s investment in model demonstration projects to build the evidence-base for promising practices in critical areas such as interventions for students with autism who require intensive services and support.

Providing Support for Teachers and School Leaders:

  • $100 million for the reauthorized Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program, an increase of $6 million over the comparable 2016 level, to expand support for state and local efforts to improve teacher and principal effectiveness and help ensure that all students have equitable access to effective teachers and principals. The program would make grants primarily to institutions of higher education and national nonprofit organizations for projects that provide evidence-based professional development activities and prepare teachers and principals from nontraditional preparation and certification routes to serve in high-need local educational agencies.

Expanding Access, Affordability, and Completion in Higher Education:

  • $100 million for the First in the World program for competitive awards to support the development, validation, and scale-up of innovative, promising, and evidence-based strategies to improve postsecondary completion rates for high-needs students, as well as rigorous evaluations to test the effectiveness of these strategies when implemented in varied settings and contexts. The Obama Administration plans to set aside up to $30 million to support the implementation of projects at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).
  • $30 million for the HBCU and MSI Innovation for Completion Fund, a new competitive grant program to foster innovative, evidence-based, student-centered strategies and interventions to increase the number of low-income students and students of color completing degree programs.
  • Of the $900 million included for TRIO in the budget, up to $20 million would be used to support a new TRIO Demonstration initiative designed to give existing grantees the opportunity to compete for increased funding to implement and evaluate additional, evidence‑based, college access and success strategies, and support dissemination of strategies that prove to be effective at scale to all TRIO grantees.

The budget also includes support for InformED, an initiative launched in 2016, that builds on the success of the new College Scorecard by making the Department’s data and research across the education spectrum more available—and actionable—for internal users and the public. The 2017 budget includes $15 million to support InformED to build new infrastructure to manage the collection, quality, release, and analysis of data in innovative and effective ways.

For more information about the 2017 budget, visit our webpage.

Tiffany Taber is Chief of Staff for Communications Development in the Office of Communications and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education.

The FY 2017 Budget Request for Education Aims to Increase College Access, Affordability, and Completion


President Obama has made it clear that in the capstone year of his presidency, he’ll continue making education a top priority – including initiatives and investments that place a college degree within reach for millions more Americans.

As he noted in his final State of the Union address in January, as a nation, we’ve made important progress to ensure that more students graduate from high school with the skills they need to thrive in college, in their careers, and in their communities. But challenges remain, and we must be committed to bold solutions.

College still is the best investment that Americans can make in their future. And a great education is just as important for engaging in society and safeguarding our democracy. That’s why students from every background – including low-income, minority, and first-generation students, as well as adults with jobs and families – are seeking access to postsecondary education and training.

This Administration has made historic investments in financial aid for postsecondary students. And in 2014 – the most recent year for which we have data—our country saw the largest and most diverse class of students enrolling in higher education in our history. The numbers of African-American and Latino college students are up by more than a million since 2008.

But the odds are still too steep for too many. Many students hesitate to pursue higher education, concerned by rising costs and a college marketplace that can be confusing, especially for many first-generation students. Furthermore, only about 60 percent of those who do enroll in a bachelor’s degree program complete their education within six years. And at least a third of those who do graduate take longer than expected, potentially adding even greater costs for students and families.

Borrowers who drop out of college face a three times greater risk of defaulting on their student loans compared with those who graduate. As a result, the 2017 budget proposes key reforms and provides institutional and student supports and incentives for on-time and accelerated degree attainment, which are aimed at making college more affordable, student aid more accessible, and student loan repayment easier, as well as fostering innovation and protecting students and taxpayers. The proposals in the budget will:

Dramatically Reduce Costs for Students and Families

  • The budget renews the call for the America’s College Promise (ACP) initiative, a partnership with states designed to make two years of community college free for responsible students. Through an investment of $61 billion over the next decade, students would be able to earn the first half of a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree and earn the skills needed to succeed in the workforce – at no cost. ACP also would provide grants to schools that support new low-income students, including those transferring from a community college. Students would be able to receive up to two years of college at these institutions at zero or significantly reduced tuition.
  • The budget invests in current and future generations of U.S. students by providing maximum funding for Pell Grant awards, adjusted for inflation beyond 2017. This will ensure that the dollars are protected from eroding in value in the years ahead.
  • In addition to making the FAFSA available earlier, as announced by President Obama in September 2015, the budget also would simplify the FAFSA by eliminating burdensome and unnecessarily complex questions to make it easier for students and families to access federal student aid and afford a postsecondary education.
  • The budget also would create a competitive, $30 million Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) Innovation for Completion Fund to encourage innovative, evidence-based student success strategies to increase the number of low-income students and students of color completing their degrees.
  • And the President’s budget request focuses on streamlining income-driven repayment plans that cap loan payments at a reasonable price for borrowers, and helping borrowers to manage their debt more effectively, including strengthening and streamlining teacher loan forgiveness programs.

Encourage and Reward Better Student Outcomes

  • To support and incent students to complete their coursework on time or ahead of time, the budget includes a Pell for Accelerated Completion program, making year-round Pell Grant funds available to students who take a full course load and have used up their existing award.
  • The budget would provide an additional $300 On-Track Pell Bonus for students who stay on course to complete college on time by taking at least 15 credit hours per semester.
  • It also will meet the demand for a third round of the First in the World initiative, with $100 million to implement and evaluate innovative and evidence-based strategies that boost student success, including a $30 million set-aside for HBCUs and MSIs. In 2014 and 2015, the Department saw significant levels of interest in this program, and was able to fund less than 6 percent of all applications received.
  • The College Opportunity and Graduation Bonus program would reward colleges with strong records of enrolling and graduating significant numbers of low-income students on time, and encourage more colleges to improve their outcomes.
  • And, with plans to reform campus-based student aid programs, the budget focuses on funding schools that provide a quality education at a reasonable price, particularly for low-income students.

Expand Postsecondary Options for Students

  • The President’s Second Chance Pell proposal will provide prisoners who have served their time and are about to re-enter society with support that can help them turn their lives around, offering them access to Pell funds to help pay for the college and training opportunities that lead to new skills and new opportunities.
  • And, to complement ACP, the budget will support a $75 million American Technical Training Fund, supporting the creation and expansion of tuition-free, short-term or accelerated job training programs to help more workers compete for high-demand fields like healthcare, manufacturing, and information technology. The Departments of Education and Labor will partner in launching this innovative effort.

In the 21st century, skills and education go a long way toward determining our success as individuals and as a nation. The FY 2017 budget is designed to increase equity and excellence in higher education, with ambitious proposals to reduce college costs, spark new approaches and scale up proven practices to serve students better, and create wider avenues for Americans – regardless of background or circumstance – to change their life chances and achieve their dreams.

Learn more about the full budget request for education.

Melissa Apostolides is a member of the Communications Development Team in the Office of Communications and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education.

Equity and Excellence in the President’s Budget for Education


Anyone in America can succeed, but success doesn’t arrive overnight. More often, it’s the result of countless hours spent studying, of supportive families and communities, of educators preparing inspiring lessons and staying late with students who are struggling. It was education that drew my parents here as students from India, seeking graduate degrees in science and engineering. And education was the greatest gift they would give my brother and me, always believing that if we worked hard, we could achieve even greater things.

I see my parents’ reflection in many of the parents I meet at the elementary school where my own two children now go. These are parents who may or may not have finished high school or college themselves, but who are going to make sure their own children complete their homework—and make it to college. These are the parents who take time out from their jobs working nights to sit in on PTA meetings, often listening intently through headphones to the Spanish-language translation. Education is the key to success, and these parents know it.

The problem is that too often, parents of children most at risk of falling behind face the highest obstacles to obtaining a quality education for their kids. For example, today, only 41 percent of children in low-income communities are enrolled in preschool, compared with 61 percent of children in wealthier communities. In high school, only 57 percent of black students and two-thirds of Hispanic students have access to the full range of courses necessary to succeed in college and careers, compared to 71 percent of white students. And American Indian and Native-Alaskan students are also disproportionately suspended and expelled, representing less than 1 percent of the student population but 2 percent of out-of-school suspensions and 3 percent of expulsions.

We can and we must do better, for all of our kids.

The President’s 2017 budget request recognizes the importance of this goal through significant new investments in three key areas: high-quality early learning; stronger and more diverse schools; and increased access to evidence and data to help all of us improve outcomes for students.

Boosting access to high-quality early learning:

The President’s budget request aims to ensure access to high-quality preschool programs for 4-year-olds with $1.3 billion in mandatory funding in 2017 and $75 billion over 10 years for the President’s landmark Preschool for All proposal. The budget also supports special education services and early intervention programs for our youngest learners.

The budget also supports local innovation to create stronger, more diverse schools, through:

  • $450 million in additional funding for Title I Grants, for a total of $15.4 billion to help local educational agencies ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared for college and careers, in part through locally developed efforts to turn around our lowest-performing schools.
  • $120 million in grants to launch Stronger Together, a voluntary program to support the development and expansion of new and existing, community-driven strategies to increase socioeconomic diversity in America’s schools.
  • Additional funding to support school choice through high-quality public charter and magnet schools. The budget includes an additional $17 million for Charter School Grants and an additional $18 million for magnet schools.
  • $4 billion over three years to launch Computer Science for All, supporting state efforts to expand access for all students to computer science instruction and programs of study. The budget also includes the $100 million discretionary Computer Science for All Development Grants program for school districts.
  • An increase of $55 million to support new Promise Neighborhoods in up to 15 distressed communities seeking to break the cycle of poverty through the development and implementation of comprehensive cradle-to-college supports for children and families.

Expanding access to evidence and data

Through InformED, the Department will provide the public with expanded, user-friendly access to data to drive decision-making and better outcomes for students.

In his final State of the Union address, President Obama challenged us to “face the future with confidence in who we are, what we stand for, and the incredible things we can do together.”

Central to this challenge is putting the American Dream within reach of every child and young person. The President’s 2017 budget request for education will help provide states, districts, and communities with the necessary resources to uphold excellence and equity in education, and to give all students opportunities and hope for the future, much like those that my parents gave me.

Aparna Kumar is a member of the Communications Development Team in the Office of Communications and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education.

The President’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request: Supporting Teachers and School Leaders for Student Success


“So much of the change ahead rests on the leadership of educators in classrooms and schools. Indeed, it is what happens in classrooms that make the difference for our students in education—particularly those who have the odds most stacked against them.” – Acting Secretary John B. King, January 21, 2016

It’s a time of great opportunity to be an educator in America. Teachers are leading through a period of immense change – with a transition to higher standards and better assessments, increased use of technology to support and enhance student learning, and a renewed understanding of the importance of a well-rounded education to every student’s success. Additionally, with the passage of the new Every Student Succeeds Act, which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, we have an opportunity to continue the law’s civil rights legacy by ensuring equity and positive outcomes for all students are emphasized in important ways. The law also upholds protections for high-needs students, requires that all students be taught to high academic standards, and supports and grows local innovations. Indeed, teachers have the opportunity to shape the implementation of a new law in America.

What’s more, research proves – and every parent understands – that the most important school-based factor impacting a child’s academic success is the quality of the classroom teacher. As a result, working in our highest-needs schools should be a reward for excellence for teachers, and a path to continued career success.

That’s why the 2017 budget includes several investments to recruit, develop, support, and retain the outstanding teachers and leaders that our students – and especially our most disadvantaged students – need to be successful.

Transforming Teaching

The 2017 budget invests in educators with $1 billion to ensure that teaching in high-needs schools is a step into a great job and a step up in an educator’s career. The new RESPECT: Best Job in the World program would provide compensation and support for effective teachers in high-need schools. This funding would support the implementation of teacher-led development opportunities that improve instruction and would help high-needs schools and districts foster positive school climates that encourage success for students and teachers alike. Finally, through leveraging teacher leadership to improve working conditions in high-needs schools, this program would help make the schools with the greatest needs the best places to work and learn. This proposal will allow districts to transform working with the most vulnerable students into the most attractive job for effective educators.

Teachers see the challenges that their students and schools face, but they also develop solutions that fit the unique needs of their communities. Teachers are best positioned to develop innovative solutions and to lead reforms. Across the country, we need teachers to use their insights and expertise to help us solve the most pressing challenges in education, or we will not live up to our promise as a country.

The Obama Administration strongly supports efforts to encourage more authentic opportunities for teachers to lead from the classroom. That’s why the 2017 budget includes $10 million for Teach to Lead grants, which will provide direct support to teachers who develop innovative reforms with the potential for wider impact on improving student outcomes. This effort builds on the promising work begun through the Department’s Teach to Lead convenings, held throughout 2015, during which time teachers identified problems of practice impacting their schools and communities and developed outcomes-based action plans they are now implementing to solve these problems.

Preparing Teachers for the Classroom

To help teachers achieve success in the classroom, we must strengthen teacher preparation. High-quality programs must not only equip teachers with the skills they need to be ready to succeed in a real-world classroom, but they also must train teachers to be culturally competent and connect with the students and families they serve.

With the proposed Teacher and Principal Pathways program, teachers will get that opportunity to learn and prepare for the classroom. The Pathways program supports colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations – in partnership with schools – to create or expand pathways into the teaching profession. This program focuses on high-need schools and subjects, especially science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Students who make the life-changing decision to become a teacher – and enroll in a high-quality teacher preparation program – shouldn’t be bankrupted by their choice. The 2017 budget includes a new initiative that will provide up to $25,000 in student loan forgiveness for teachers graduating from an effective preparation program who serve in low-income schools, starting in 2021. This program streamlines current postsecondary assistance options – like TEACH grants and the teacher loan forgiveness program – into a single program, where the benefit increases over time, as teachers stay in high-needs schools.

Advancing Educators’ Careers

The 2017 budget also recognizes that teachers should have the opportunity to advance their careers – whether through higher pay in recognition for outstanding performance, professional development, or other leadership opportunities.

The reauthorized Teacher and School Leader Incentive Grants program will support efforts to develop, implement, or expand human capital management systems or performance-based compensation systems in schools. This $250 million program focuses on ways to attract, develop, and retain talented, committed, and accomplished teachers in high-need areas.

Once in the classroom, teachers share that they can sometimes feel underwhelmed by one-shot workshops that don’t provide effective opportunities to improve skills, collaborate with colleagues, or hone their craft. That’s why the 2017 budget includes $100 million for Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED), so that nonprofits can provide evidence-based professional development activities, as well as prepare teachers and principals to serve in traditionally underserved school districts.

Budget Instrumental to Future Success

We know that teachers are fundamentally important to the success of our schools, classrooms, and students. We also know that we can – and must – get better at recruiting, attracting, retaining, supporting, and rewarding America’s best and brightest educators. The 2017 budget acts on that belief, putting key programs and new initiatives in place that support and elevate the teaching profession.

If our teachers and leaders are supported, there’s no limit to what our students can do.

Meredith Linnehan is a member of the Communications Development Team in the Office of Communications and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education.

Tell Us How The Budget Affects You

“Budgets aren’t just about numbers, they reflect our values.”
– Secretary Arne Duncan

Earlier this week, President Obama sent his Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget proposal to Congress. We know that you’re busy, and you may not have had the chance to dig through the details of the budget. For us, the big takeaway is that the budget request demonstrates the Obama Administration’s commitment to education as a means to strengthen America’s middle class, help hard-working families, and ensure that every child has the opportunity to fulfill his or her greatest potential.

Why Budgets Matter

This week’s budget announcement is a big deal for teachers, parents, and students. In fact, if you’re like the President and our team at the Department of Education, you probably believe that education is at the core of a successful and economically competitive America.

Find out what the President’s budget means for education.

Tell Us Your Story

In the coming weeks, Secretary Duncan will testify before Congress on the President’s budget proposal, but before he goes, he wants to hear from you. In the form below, tell us what the budget means for you, so he can share that message when he testifies before Congress.

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We know that at schools around the country, dollars are stretched thin, and that every penny in education makes a difference. That’s why budgets are important. They reflect our belief that education is at the core of what makes our country great.


2015 Education Budget: What You Need to Know

President Obama’s 2015 budget request reflects his belief not only that education is a top priority, but that America’s public schools offer the clearest path to the middle class. Investing in education now will make us more competitive in the global economy tomorrow, and will help ensure equity of opportunity for every child.

Budget Proposal GraphicThe administration’s request for about $69 billion in discretionary appropriations represents an increase of nearly 2 percent over the previous year and slightly more than the 2012 discretionary level for education before the sequester.

Three-quarters of that $69 billion goes to financial aid to students in college, special education, and high-poverty schools (Title I). The remaining 23 percent targets specific areas designed to leverage major changes in the educational opportunity and excellence for all students, including expansion of access to high-quality preschool, data-driven instruction based on college- and career-ready standards, making college more affordable, and mitigating the effects of poverty on educational outcomes.

Education priorities for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015:

Increasing Equity and Opportunity for All Students

Despite major progress for America’s students, deep gaps of opportunity and achievement endure. The Obama administration is committed to driving new energy to solving those problems. Nearly every element of the federal education budget aims to ensure equity of opportunity, and a new proposed fund, Race to the Top-Equity and Opportunity would complement existing efforts by further supporting strong state and local efforts to improve equity.

Learn more about Race to the Top-Equity and Opportunity.

Making Quality Preschool Available for All 4-Year-Olds

In one of the boldest efforts to expand educational opportunity in the last 50 years, President Obama has committed to a historic new investment in preschool education that supports universal access to high-quality preschool for all 4-year olds from low- and moderate-income families and creates an incentive for states to serve additional middle-class children.

Learn more about support for early learning.

Strengthening Support for Teachers and School Leaders

All educators should have the resources and support they need to provide effective instruction and to personalize learning to students’ needs. Technology can help teachers do this. Teachers and school leaders must know how to make the best use of technology. The new ConnectEDucators proposal would provide funding to help educators leverage technology and data to provide high-quality college- and career-ready instruction that meets the needs of all students.

Learn more about the new ConnectEDucators proposal.

Improving Affordability, Quality, and Success in Postsecondary Education

Improving college access and completion is an economic necessity and a moral imperative. Few good career options exist for those whose education ends with high school. College has long represented the surest route to the middle class—but the middle class is increasingly being priced out of college. America once ranked first in the college completion rate of its young people; we now rank twelfth. Reclaiming the top spot in college completion is essential for maximizing both individual opportunity and our economic prosperity, which is why the President has made increasing college affordability and improving college completion a major focus of his 2015 budget.

Learn more about improving college affordability.

Making Schools Safer and Creating Positive Learning Environments

The President’s plan to increase school safety and to decrease gun violence includes investments not only to prepare schools for emergencies, but also to create positive school climates and help children recover from the effects of living in communities plagued by persistent violence.

Learn more about the fiscal year 2015 budget request.

Cameron Brenchley is director of digital strategy at the U.S. Department of Education

Obama Administration Budget Makes Major Investment in Early Learning

Early Learning Spending GraphicStudies prove that children who have rich early learning experiences are better prepared to thrive in school. Yet the United States ranks 28th in the world for the enrollment of 4-year-olds in early learning, and 25th in public investment in preschool. Only 3 in 10 children attend a quality preschool program. Doing better is more than just a moral and educational imperative; it’s smart government: a public dollar spent on high-quality preschool returns $7 through increased productivity and savings on public assistance and criminal justice. From a growing number of voices, including from the recently concluded work of the Equity and Excellence Commission, the call has been clear to expand quality early learning in the United States.

To help all children begin school on a level playing field, the President has put forward in his 2014 budget request an historic new investment in early learning that would make preschool available to all 4-year olds from low-income families. The core elements of this proposal are:

  • Preschool for All ($75 billion over 10 years). This investment would support grants to States for the implementation of high-quality preschool programs that are aligned with elementary and secondary education systems. The Department would share costs with States to provide universal access to high-quality preschool for children from low- and moderate-income families and provide incentives for States to serve additional middle-class families.
  • Preschool Development Grants ($750 million). This program would provide grants to States to carry out activities that would build state capacity for implementing high-quality preschool programs, and expand model programs at the local level. The Department would provide competitive grants to States with preschool systems at various stages of development that are planning to provide universal access to high-quality preschool for four-year-old children from low-and moderate-income families to carry out the activities needed to successfully serve four-year-old children in high-quality programs.

The administration also requests funding to increase or maintain key investments in a number of programs that seek to improve outcomes for young children, especially for those with high needs:

  • Early Intervention Programs for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities ($463 million, $20 million more than the fiscal year 2013 amount). These formula grants help States implement statewide systems of early intervention services for all eligible children with disabilities and developmental delays from birth through age two and their families.
  • Preschool Grants for Children with Disabilities ($373 million). These formula grants help States make a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment available to all children with disabilities ages three through five to help ensure that young children with disabilities succeed in school.

The Department of Health and Human Services is also investing in young children by requesting significant increases in funding for programs that include Head Start, Early Head Start and the Child Care and Development fund.

Secretary Duncan talks with teacher and Teaching Ambassador Fellow Dan Brown about the importance of high quality preschool for all children. Watch:

Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.

To read more details on the Obama Administration’s budget request for investing in early learning, visit

Read more about the 2014 Education Budget and the bottom line.

2014 Education Budget: What’s the Bottom Line?

Budget LogoAs Education Secretary Arne Duncan often says, budgets aren’t just numbers in a ledger – they are a reflection of our values. President Obama’s 2014 budget proposal, released today, demonstrates his belief in education as the engine that will keep America competitive in a global innovation economy and grow a thriving middle class.

The proposal builds on momentum for reform and protects the most vulnerable.  Nowhere is this more true than in the president’s historic proposal to make high-quality preschool available to all four-year-olds.

The administration’s request for $71 billion in discretionary appropriations for education represents an increase of more than 4 percent over the previous year. Nearly three-quarters of that funding goes to financial aid for students in college, special education, and aid to schools with high numbers of children in poverty (Title I).

The remaining 28 percent of the budget invests in specific areas that can move major change – particularly through making preschool accessible for all students; funding a set of strategic reforms at the K-12 level; ensuring that college is affordable; and coordinating services that help students living in poverty.

What’s the bottom line?:

Early learning: Making quality preschool available for all 4-year-olds

President Obama has committed to a historic new investment in preschool education that supports universal access to high-quality preschool for all 4-year olds from low- and moderate-income families and creates an incentive for states to serve additional middle-class children.

The President’s budget request includes $1.3 billion in 2014 and $75 billion over 10 years in mandatory funding, along with $750 million for competitively awarded Preschool Development Grants and other funds.

Learn more about Preschool for All.

K-12: Deepening reform in key strategic areas

President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget proposes significant new investments in areas where states and school districts face key implementation challenges from earlier investments such as Race to the Top and the Race to the Top-District competition, as well as continuing substantial investments in critical formula programs that support state and local reform efforts.

Learn more about the K-12 reforms.

The 2014 budget proposal also includes:

High School Redesign and Career Readiness

President Obama has called on all Americans to commit to at least one year of postsecondary education. Yet, for too many American students, high school is a time of disengagement that fails to put them on a path to college and career success. That’s why the Obama administration has laid out plans to redesign high schools and career and technical education (CTE).

Learn more about high school redesign and career readiness.

Strengthening Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education

Economists project strong growth in careers related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), but far too few American students are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career. The Obama administration proposes an aggressive STEM push that will improve the delivery and impact of STEM education.

Learn more about STEM.

Teachers and Leaders

The Obama administration has laid out a plan to strengthen teaching and school leadership, building on significant investments in the first term.

Learn more about the teachers and leaders plan.

School Safety

The President’s plan to increase school safety and to decrease gun violence includes investments not only to prepare schools for emergencies, but also to create nurturing school climates and help children recover from the effects of living in communities plagued by persistent violence.

Learn more about school safety.

Making College Affordability

The Obama administration has taken major steps to help students afford college, and proposes to build on that momentum with programs that will drive major reforms to reduce the escalating costs of higher education.

Learn more about making college affordable.

Ladders of Opportunity

Through “Ladders of Opportunity,” the Obama administration will establish comprehensive, coordinated approaches to improving support for America’s most vulnerable students.

Learn more about ladders of opportunity.

Additional Budget Resources:

Secretary Duncan Testifies on Across-the-Board Budget Cuts

U.S. Capitol Building

Secretary Arne Duncan testified before Congress today on the impact of across-the-board cuts. Photo courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol.

Earlier today Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified on Capitol Hill about the impact of budget cuts called sequestration. Sequestration would mandate across-the-board cuts to the federal budget that will go into effect in January if Congress doesn’t act. While a lot of attention has been given to impeding cuts to defense, Secretary Duncan testified about the impact the cuts would on all government services and programs.

“Education, defense, public safety and all other federal agencies would indiscriminately cut services that are essential to every state and community,” Duncan said.

The Secretary said that education is the cornerstone of our country’s economy and essential for our military preparedness. Duncan noted that 75 percent of young Americans are unable to enlist in the military because they have either failed to graduate from high school, have a criminal record, or are physically unfit.

While most schools won’t feel the impact of across-the-board cuts until the fall of 2013, the lack of federal funds would be felt deep throughout the country.

    • Title I funding would be cut by $1.1 billion, cutting off funding to more than 4,000 schools serving an estimated 1.8 million disadvantaged students. The jobs of more than 15,000 teachers and aides would be at risk.
    • Funding for special education would be reduced by $900 million. That could translate into the layoffs of more than 10,000 teachers, aides, and other staff who provide essential instruction and other support to 6.6 million children with disabilities.
    • Up to almost 100,000 low-income children would be denied access to the Head Start program, which is critical to preparing them for success in kindergarten and beyond.

Duncan noted that the Obama Administration stands ready to work with Congress on preventing sequestration with a balanced approach to deficit reduction. The President’s plan includes more than $4 trillion in deficit reduction. It maintains the Budget Control Act caps, and calls for significant, yet targeted, cuts in discretionary spending.

Click here to read Secretary Duncan’s testimony.

Duncan Heads to Capitol Hill for Budget Hearings

“We must come together as a country to make sound, bipartisan investments in education,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said earlier today at a budget hearing on Capitol Hill. “It is unconscionable for us to ask a generation of students to pay the price for adult political dysfunction.”

Secretary Duncan Testifies on Capitol Hill

Archive photo of Secretary Duncan testifying on Capitol Hill. Official Department of Education Photo by Paul Wood

Duncan testified before the House Committee on Appropriations as part of the annual federal budget process. In the early months of each year, the President submits his budget request to Congress. Congress can then choose to accept the President’s request or develop its own budget, deciding which programs to authorize and fund before the new fiscal year starts on October 1.

Secretary Duncan testified that the Obama Administration’s fiscal year 2013 education budget reflects the Obama Administrations commitment to reduce spending, make government more efficient and invest to secure our future. “We must educate our way to a better economy,” Duncan said.

Key areas of the budget that the Secretary highlighted include:

  • Making college affordable and the middle-class dream alive for Americans by providing new incentives for states and institutions to keep college costs from escalating;
  • Providing billions of dollars a year in aid to college students through Pell grants;
  • Prevent student loan interest rates from doubling this summer;
  • Double the number of work-study jobs within five years;
  • Make the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent;
  • And dedicating significant resources to transforming the teaching profession through a new program called RESPECT.

Read more about 2013 budget and what it means for you.

Budget Questions? Join Asst. Secretary Carmel Martin for #AskED Twitter Q&A


Yesterday, the Obama Administration released its 2013 budget request, which included new investments in education. The budget seeks to make college more affordable, align job training and education with the demands of the workforce, and elevate the teaching profession. Click here to find out what this means for you.

On Friday at 1 p.m. ET, join ED’s Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Carmel Martin for a Twitter Q&A on the 2013 budget.

Ask your questions at any time before or during the Twitter Q&A using the hashtag #AskED. Asst. Secretary Martin will answer your questions live through the @usedgov Twitter account. Following the event, you can find a summary of the Q&A session at

2013 Education Budget: What it Means For You

Continuing its commitment to education and an America built to last, the Obama Administration released its 2013 budget proposal to Congress today. It includes new education investments that will give U.S. students and workers the education and training they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Budget ImageThe Department of Education is requesting $69.8 billion in discretionary funding for Fiscal Year 2013, an increase of $1.7 billion, or 2.5 percent, from 2012. The critical investments in education are part of an overall federal budget that abides by very tight spending caps that reduce discretionary spending by $1 trillion over 10 years and, including that amount, has more than $4 trillion of balanced deficit reduction.

But what, exactly, does this mean for you?

Job Training to Meet the Demands of the Workforce
Helping students, employers and communities.

Two million jobs are waiting to be filled in the United States, yet many Americans seeking work don’t have the necessary skills to fill those jobs. To close that skills gap and deliver employers the kinds of workers they want to hire, the Administration is proposing $8 billion for a new Community College to Career Fund.

These funds would help community colleges become community career centers where individuals can learn the skills that local businesses need. Additionally, employers would offer paid internships for low-income students to help them learn skills on the job and gain experience.

ED is also proposing to invest $1.1 billion to support the reauthorization and reform of the Career and Technical Education program to ensure that the training and education our students receive are in line with the demands of the workforce.

Boosting the Teaching Profession
Giving teachers the respect and support they deserve.

ED is proposing $5 billion in competitive funding to support states and districts as they pursue bold reforms that can help better prepare, support and compensate America’s teachers.

The Department would also invest $190 million for a new Presidential Teaching Fellows program that would provide scholarships to talented students who attend top-tier teacher prep programs and commit to working in high-need schools.

The budget also creates $620 million in new grants for states that would reward and support highly effective teacher preparation programs, help decrease STEM teacher shortages, and invest in efforts to enhance the teaching profession.

Making College Affordable
Ensuring that everyone gets a shot at higher education.

The 2013 budget seeks to make college more affordable and to help achieve President Obama’s goal of the U.S. leading the world in college graduates by 2020.  The budget proposes to sustain the maximum Pell Grant and increase the maximum award amount to $5,635, supporting nearly 10 million students across the country.

The Department is proposing to freeze the interest rate on subsidized student loans at 3.4 percent. Currently the rate is scheduled to double to 6.8 percent this summer if Congress doesn’t act.

The budget seeks to tackle college costs and quality by encouraging shared responsibility among states, colleges, families and the federal government. ED would invest $1 billion for a new Race to the Top focusing on college affordability and completion to drive reform at the state level and help students finish faster. This new Race to the Top would provide incentives for colleges to keep costs under control, it would double the number of work-study jobs, and it would increase by nearly $7.5 billion the amount available for Perkins loans.

Additional Budget Information: