Skip to Content

Education Funding

Education Funding

Ensure Great Public Schools for Every Child

CARES Act Education Stabilization Fund


On March 27, the $2-trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law.  The bill is a good start and, while not perfect, does address many needs of our students, educators, and schools.  It is intended to help stabilize workers, families, and the economy during the COVID-19 public health crisis, and is the third relief package Congress has passed during the coronavirus pandemic. NEA is also advocating for additional stimulus funds in a fourth package.

Included in the CARES Act is the Education Stabilization Fund:

Provides $30.7 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund (ESF) through the U.S. Department of Education, divided among three emergency relief funds and available through September 31, 2021:

  • $3 billion for a Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund for grants to states to help local educational agencies (LEAs)
  • $13.5 billion for an Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund

The K-12 education fund may be used for any of the following:

    • For activities authorized by ESEA, IDEA, Adult Education and Family Literacy, Perkins CTE, and McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance 

    • Coordination efforts to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus 

    • For resources for principals and school leaders to respond to the needs of their individual schools 

    • Activities and service delivery to address the unique needs of students that are low-income, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic 
minorities, the homeless, and youth in foster care
    • Training and professional development on sanitation and minimizing spread of infectious disease 

    • Purchasing supplies to clean and sanitize LEAs 

    • Planning and coordination on providing meals and technology for online learning, including guidance on meeting IDEA requirements
    • Purchasing education technology including hardware, software, and connectivity
    • Providing mental health services 

    • Planning summer learning, afterschool, or online learning during the summer months
    • Funds may also be used to protect educator jobs 

  • $14.2 billion for a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
    Similarly, of the funds for higher education, 90 percent must be distributed to IHEs to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. Funds may be used to defray expenses for IHEs, such as lost revenue, technology costs associated with the transition to distance education, and grants to students.

    Please see NEA Education Policy and Practice’s CARES Act State FundingTable for ESF funds by state. 

FY2021 Trump/DeVos Budget Proposal

In February 2020, the Trump/DeVos budget proposal released would slash education program funding by $6.1 billion – an 8.4 percent decrease compared to FY20 enacted levels. The proposal is already being called dead on arrival, particularly in the U.S. House of Representatives. As in the past, Congress will undoubtedly again reject much of this budget request. However, it is unclear when Congress will resume work on FY21 appropriations in light of the COVID-19 crisis.


Key lowlights of the Trump/DeVos FY21 proposed budget include:

  • Slashing education funding by consolidating most ESSA and several related programs into a singe “rebranded” block grant of $19.4 billion, which represents reduction of $4.7 billion from FY20 of those same programs. For context, that means programs including Title I, Title II, ELL, Full-Service Community Schools, rural education, literacy programs, charter schools, and all competitive grants, among others, are effectively eliminated and replaced by block grants to states using the Title I formula.
  • Programs not assimilated into the block grant whose funds would be frozen at FY20 levels include Indian Education, Training and Advisory Services, and Supplemental Education Grants.
  • Another notable proposed changes is a $75.3 million cut to Impact Aid (for federal property payments).
  • A $100 million increase to IDEA state grants is proposed. However, this 0.8% increase does not increase the federal share of costs of educating students with disabilities, which continues to fall under this Administration; dropping to 13 percent in FY20 despite a $400 million increase to funding.
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) gets a proposed boos - $376 million increase, increasing total funding to $2.1 billion for FY21.

Addition proposed changes beyond ESSA include Slashing Student Aid, again:

  • Cuts Federal Work-Study by $630 million or 55% ($500 million total)
  • Restricts PLUS Loans by capping the amount a parent could borrow at $26,500 and sets a $100,000 aggregate loan limit for graduate students
  • Eliminates Public Service Loan Forgiveness
  • Eliminates Subsidized Federal Student loans

FY2020 Education Funding

A big, bipartisan win for students was delivered when the Fiscal Year 2020 funding bill was signed into law in December 2019. Congress approved a $1.3 billion increase in education funding while handily rejecting the Trump/DeVos administration’s cuts and privatization schemes.


Additional highlights from the FY2020 funding bill that passed into law include:

  • Boosts Title I grants by $450 million;
  • Increases Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funding by $410 million;
  • Provides a 43 percent increase for funding for Full Service Community Schools;
  • Includes historic funding for Head Start;
  • Appropriates the first funding for gun violence research since 1996;
  • Funds the 2020 Census to ensure all people are counted in the constitutionally mandated process;
  • Extends the Secure Rural Schools Act for two years;
  • Raises pay for Department of Defense educators by 3.1 percent;
  • Fully repeals the excise tax on health plans, which would have taken money out of the pockets of educators who have accepted lower wages in return for decent health care coverage and would have been among those hit hardest by the tax;
  • And rejects the Trump/DeVos efforts to cut education funding by $7.4 billion, stops Secretary DeVos’ proposed elimination of Title II, and rejects their calls to expand funding vouchers and other privatization schemes.

Trump/DeVos FY 2021 Budget Request Takes $5 Billion from Public Schools to Fund $5 Billion for Private Schools

Trump/DeVos FY 2021 Budget Trump/DeVos FY 2021 Budget Request Proposes a New Elementary and Secondary Education Block Grant that Provides 20% Less Funding