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What’s in the Bipartisan Spending Deal?

Legislation funding the Department of Education for fiscal year (FY) 2024 was finally unveiled and is likely to pass both chambers of Congress and be signed by President Biden within the next several days, if not sooner. The legislation will keep the government open and rejects major cuts to education that were proposed by House Republicans. At the same time, however, it does not provide any substantial funding increases, nor does it make any major investments in education programs.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) would receive $79.1 billion in FY 2024, a slight decrease from FY 2023. Exactly how much of a decrease depends on how recessions and earmarks are treated. The Committee for Education Funding calculates a $200 million decrease, about 0.2%.

It Could Have Been Worse

The primary theme of this year’s bill might be: It could have been worse.

Several cuts proposed by House Republicans were not included in the final bill. For example, House Republicans proposed an 80% cut to Title I, a $750 million cut to Head Start, and the elimination of several programs such as Title II grants supporting professional development for educators and Title III grants supporting English language acquisition. These cuts were rejected in the final bill.

Bright Spots

While this was not a year in which Congress provided major increases, there were some bright spots. For example, All4Ed’s latest When Equity Is Optional report revealed significant inadequacies in the Title I “7% set aside” for school improvement, with 25% or more of identified schools in every state spending less per-pupil from federal sources after their identification – when we know they need additional resources to improve.

In light of All4Ed’s findings, along with troubling data from the GAO that revealed significant noncompliance with ESSA’s school improvement provisions, three pieces of report language were included in the final bill. The instructions from appropriators will require ED to enhance its annual monitoring and technical assistance (through the comprehensive centers program) of States’ school improvement activities, as well as the GAO to continue its work reviewing ESSA implementation.


All4Ed has been a champion of the Career-Connected High Schools grant program, ED’s first program supporting college and career pathways, which received $25 million in FY 2023. In the bipartisan FY 2024 deal, up to $6.1 million could be used for the program. ED has requested $57 million for the program in FY 2025, a substantial increase, and we hope Congress will follow suit and provide greater investments in the future.

We were also disappointed to see a $10 million reduction in competitive funding for state assessments and a $10 million reduction in funding for statewide longitudinal data systems. These funds are a critical part of the policy infrastructure for ensuring policymakers and the public have the data necessary to measure student outcomes and drive decision-making.

Finally, All4Ed joined an effort to extend the period of availability for funding provided under the American Rescue Plan supporting students experiencing homelessness. More than 30 senators supported the request; however, it was not included in the final bill.

Modest Increases

A few key programs received modest increases. Title I, the federal government’s largest funding stream supporting children from low-income families, would receive a $20 million increase. Funding for students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) would be increased by $14 million.

Level Funding

Most programs received the same level of funding in FY 2024 as they did in FY 2023. Examples include:

If you would like to read the bill text, see here. Funding for the Department of Education is on pages 559-588. See here for the “explanatory statement” accompanying the legislation, which describes pieces of the bill, provides additional direction regarding the implementation of the bill, and includes a detailed funding table. The table for the Department of Education begins on page 244 of the pdf, which corresponds to page 142 of the handwritten page numbers.

All4Ed would like to thank the Committee for Education funding for its quick and helpful analysis.

Phillip Lovell

Associate Executive Director

Meet Phillip