Education is a vital investment that shapes the future of a nation, empowering its citizens and driving economic growth.
In the United States, the commitment to education has always been paramount, reflecting a deep-rooted belief in the transformative power of knowledge.
However, the question that often arises is, “How much does the US spend on education?”
Understanding the financial resources dedicated to education provides valuable insights into the nation’s priorities and the efforts made to nurture a well-educated populace.
This article aims to delve into the intricacies of education expenditure in the United States, unraveling the complex tapestry of funding sources, distribution mechanisms, and the resulting impact on the educational landscape.
Let’s quickly explore the amount spent by the US on education.
How Much Does The US Spend On Education: General Statistics
The US spends a substantial amount on education, but the specific figure varies annually and across different levels of education.
- The average amount spent by K-12 schools in the United States is $612.7 billion ( $12,612 per student).
- In 2021, the amount spent by the United States Department of Education was $260.45 billion.
- The total spending was $800 billion on public secondary and elementary schools for the academic year 2018-19.
- In 2020, the U.S. spent 12.65%, demonstrating a 0.73% decline from the previous year, which was 13.38%.
- In 2018-19, the total expenditure for public elementary and secondary schools in the United States was $800 billion.
- State, federal, and local governments spend around $764.7 billion, or $15,120 per student, to fund K-12 public education.
- The state government provides 46.7% of the funding, the federal provides 7.7%, and local governments provide 45.6% of the funding.
- 7.9% of the funding for public K-12 education is provided by the federal government.
- Public postsecondary spend around $28,980 per pupil.
- For post-secondary education, the U.S. spends around $15.908 per student.
- The amount spent by the U.S. on graduate and post-graduate education is $33,063 per pupil.
- The U.S stands fifth in spending the highest amount per student on education as compared to the other 37 OECD countries.
Public Educational Spending Per Student
U.S. Public Education spends around 50.58 million K-12 students and around 19.64 million postsecondary students.
- K-12 public schools spend around $13,185 per pupil.
- According to the research from the education data, the total expenditure of public K-12 is $666.9 billion.
Below I have mentioned the nationwide Public K-12 spending per student each year.
|Year||Public K-12 spending Per Year Per Student|
- The federal government provides around $60.34 billion to K-12 schools nationwide and $1,193 per pupil.
- The total amount contributed by the state is $357 billion or $6,868 per student.
- Local government provides around $347.4 billion in total. It totals around $76,868 per student.
Below I have mentioned data representing the spending on K-12 and postsecondary education in different States of the U.S.
|States||K-12 Spending||Postsecondary Spending|
|District of Columbia||$22,830||$27,142|
- The total amount spent by the U.S. for post-secondary education is around $15.908 per student.
- Of all the postsecondary funding, 6.00% comes from sales and services of auxiliary enterprises.
- The U.S. spends around $33,063 per pupil on graduate and post-graduate education.
- The difference between funding and spending is around $97.85 billion, i.e., $1,935 per student.
Total Annual Public Education Budget
- The total annual budget of the U.S. Department of Education in 1980 was $10.9 billion.
- In 2000, the total annual budget of the U.S. Department of Education was $3.5 billion, which is a significant decrease from previous years.
- Similarly, in 2010, the annual public education budget was the highest, with $192.3 billion.
- The total annual budget of the U.S. Department of Education in 2020 was $72.7 billion. It was a significant gall as compared to the previous years.
Public Education Spending By State
There is a significant variation seen in the spending on education between the various states of the United States.
Many states in the US are best for education. For instance, some of the states have higher attainment levels, while some of them are best for educational quality.
The amount spent on each student in the US for public secondary and elementary education rose by 3.4% in the 2018 fiscal year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- The most money is spent on K–12 education per student in New York schools.
- California is the state that spends the most on higher education.
- In terms of a percentage of local taxpayer income, New York also spends the second highest on K–12 education.
- Alaska has the highest percentage of taxpayer cash spent on K–12 schools.
- Students in K–12 public schools in the District of Columbia receive the second-most expensive education.
- The District of Columbia’s K–12 institutions spend the least of all local taxpayers’ money.
- North Carolina spends the least per child after paying for students, making the most use of the government budget for K–12 education.
States With The Highest Public Spending
- The state with the highest public spending is New York, with $24,040 spending per student.
Here are the top 10 states with the highest spending on education.
|States||Spendings Per Pupil|
|District of Columbia||$22,759|
States With The Lowest Public Spending
- Utah is the state with the lowest spending on education, with $7,628 spending per student.
Here is a list of the states with the lowest spending on education.
(Source: World Population Review)
Public Education Funding by State
The amount of money that goes into schools is referred to as educational financing, often known as revenue or income. Although financing has an impact on spending, states rarely use all of their public school money.
- Alaska receives the most federal money per student for K–12 institutions.
- The District of Columbia is the state with the second-highest federal school funding allocation.
- Utah is the state with the lowest federal funding per pupil.
- The second-lowest amount of government funding is allocated to each student in Colorado.
- Of all the state governments, Vermont spends the most per kid on education.
- The second-most state support comes from Hawaii.
- The state of Nevada provides the least per-pupil funding for education.
- Hawaii is the top state with public education funding per K-12 student federal funding.
Below mentioned is the list of the highest ten states with public education funding per K-12 students Federal Funding.
|State||Federal Funding||State And Local Funding|
Similarly, here are the ten states with the least federal funding per K-12 federal funding.
|State||Federal Funding||State and Local Funding|
Expenditures Of Public Schools By Level Of Institution
- As per the data from the NCES, for 2017 and 2018, the complete expenditure of the United States was $762 for secondary and elementary education.
- Early educational programs and Preschools spend around $11,950 per pupil.
- Elementary schools spent about $11,850 per pupil.
Revenue Sources Of Public Education In The US
- Public education in the US is financed by local, state, and federal sources.
- Local sources provide 45.4% of finance to public education in the US.
- Similarly, state and federal provide 46.8% and 7.8%, respectively.
|Source||% Of Revenue Provided|
- Hillsborough County has the highest percentage of revenue from federal sources, with around 14.9%.
- Los Angeles has the highest percentage of revenue from state sources, with 62.4%.
- The state with the highest percentage of revenue from local sources is Houston, with 67.8%.
Let’s have a detailed overview of the total revenue and expenditure of the top 10 largest elementary and secondary public schools.
|Schoola||Total Revenue||Total Expenditure|
|New York City||$25437384||$27477893|
|Los Angeles Unites||$9254891||$9167075|
|Palm Beach County||$1955698||$1950175|
Education Spending By Government
Here is an in-depth insight on education spending by Government.
|Office of federal student aid||$28.43 billion|
|Office of Elementary and Secondary Education||$21.61 billion|
|Office of special education and rehabilitative services||$4.41 billion|
|Office of Postsecondary Education||$737.19 million|
|Disaster education recovery||16,36 million|
|Office of Career, technical, and adult education||$483.30 million|
|Office of Innovation and Improvement||$240,40 million|
|Institute of education sciences||$161.65 million|
|Departmental Management||$180.26 million|
|Office of English language acquisition||$197.50 million|
- In 2022, the United States Department of Education had outlays of around $639.37. This indicates a significant increase from the previous year.
- The reports from Statista state that the outlays of the Education Department are expected to fall to 161.1 billion by 2028.
The below data represents the outlays of the United States Department of Education from the year 2010 to 2027.
|Year||Outlays (In Billion U.S. Dollars)|
Education Spending Over The Years
The expenditure on education is varied according to the different years.
- In 2010, the total spending on education was 15.57% of the total GDP.
- In 2020, the United States’ spending on education was 12.65% of the total GDP.
|Years||Spending on Education(% of GDP)||Annual Change|
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Conclusion: How Much Does The US Spend On Education (2023)
The United States invests significant financial resources in education, drawing contributions from federal, state, and local levels.
Examining the effectiveness of education expenditure is equally crucial. It is imperative that education expenditure remains a priority in national agendas.
Understanding how much the United States spends on education not only reveals the nation’s financial commitment but also provides a deeper understanding of its dedication to empowering its citizens and shaping a brighter future.
It is an ongoing endeavor that requires continuous evaluation, equitable distribution, and an unwavering belief in the transformative power of education.
So what are your thought so this? Let us know in the comment section below.
How much does the U.S. spend on education?
According to the latest statistics, around $79 billion amount spent by the federal government on primary and secondary education programs yearly.
Which US State spends most on education?
The data from Worldpopulationreview suggests that Alaska spends most on students, with $53,124 per student.
Which state spends the least amount on education?
Utah spends the least amount on education in the U.S., with $7,628 per student.
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