Title I-A (Title I) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), provides federal aid to local educational agencies (LEAs), or school districts, for the education of students from low-income families. Title I grants are intended to supplement state and local funding in schools with high concentrations of pupils from low-income families. The primary goal of Title I is to enable students who attend high-poverty schools to meet state achievement standards. Title I’s formulas have been used as the basis for distributing other federal funds.
- Federal funds to provide services to students from low-income families and school districts that serve high concentrations of students in poverty.
- Funds distributed through four grants:
- Basic Grants
- Concentration Grants
- Targeted Grants
- Education Finance Incentive Grants (EFIG)
- These funds are formula grants, not competitive grants. Any state and school district that meets the program’s requirements in the law receive funding.
- Together, Title I funds are the largest source of federal funding for elementary and secondary schools distributed by the U.S. Department of Education.
Title I of ESEA was enacted in 1965 as a cornerstone of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty” and elevated equitable access to a high-quality education as a major defense against poverty. Congress recognized that children from low-income families had greater educational needs and that school districts serving students living in poverty—especially large concentrations of these students—often lacked the resources to fully meet those needs. Title I Is the largest federal investment in elementary and secondary education. For Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) that amounts to $18.39 billion in grants to states and school districts.
Nearly all (95%) of school districts in the country are eligible for at least one of the four Title I grant programs, and more than 70% of Title I funds are distributed to school districts with a poverty rate below 30%. Likewise, nearly two-thirds of public schools receive Title I funding, including many schools with relatively low percentages of students from low-income families.
- One in four schools with a percentage of children from low-income families below 10% receive Title I.
- 1,144 schools with the very highest concentrations of poverty (90% and above) are overlooked for Title I funding, while 1,188 schools with relatively small percentages of students from low-income families (10% and below) receive funds.
High-poverty elementary and middle schools are also more likely to receive Title I funds; nearly all elementary and middle schools with 90% or more children from low-income families receive Title I funds, compared with just 76.6% of similar high schools.
School district eligibility for Title I funding is determined based on the number and percentage of “formula children” living within the district. “Formula children” typically are children, ages 5-17, living in households with income below the federal poverty line, though some additional groups of children are also included in the definition.
|Basic Grant||Concentration Grant||Targeted Grant||Education Finance Incentive Grant (EFIG)|
|School District Eligibility Requirements||At least 10 formula children and at least 2% formula children||More than 6,500 formula children or at least 15% formula children||At least 10 formula children and at least 5% formula children||At least 10 formula children and at least 5% formula children|
Title I supports the education of more than 26 million children, or nearly 36% of students, in the country. Children from low-income families are the primary beneficiaries of Title I funds. Districts with high percentages of poverty typically receive more Title I funding per formula child than districts with lower poverty rates. In addition, because districts with higher percentages of children from low-income families also tend to have higher percentages of students of color, Title I funds disproportionately benefit students who are American Indian or Alaska Native, Black, and Latinx.
|American Indian or Alaska Native||326,360||1.25%|
|Two or More Races||970,012||3.72%|