Education Spending Declined During 80’s, Report Says

By Mark Pitsch — June 05, 1991 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Washington--Spending on education across all federal agencies declined during the 1980’s after taking inflation into account, a report issued last week by the National Center for Education Statistics concludes.

The federal government spent an estimated $50.5 billion on education programs during fiscal year 1990, the report said. That amount is up 47 percent from fiscal year 1980.

When adjusted for inflation, however, the spending figure represents a 5 percent decline. Education Department programs were among the hardest-hit, the study found.

Adjusted for inflation, funding for the office of elementary and secondary education decreased by 15 percent, and spending on programs in the office of postsecondary education declined by 24 percent, between the years under study, the report said.

But the report said that the estimated $22.4 billion in outlays for all department programs for fiscal 1990 represented an increase of 71 percent over the amount 10 years earlier, and a 10 percent increase after adjusting for inflation.

Spending on other education programs throughout the federal government--including libraries, museums, cultural activities, and miscellaneous research--increased during the period by 46 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars, the report said. Research funding at colleges and universities increased by 44 percent, the report said.

The nces report is its fourth since 1984, and the third annual report in a row, to outline education spending across the federal government.

Nces officials say they plan to continue issuing the reports annually.

In addition to the Education Department, the report covered education programs run by all other government agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services (Head Start), the Department of Defense (the Overseas Dependents Schools program), and the Department of Labor (the Job Training Partnership Act).

In addition to spending included in the budget, the report also count8ed as federal spending on education the generation of outside spending through legislation, almost all of which comes from student-loan programs, and losses to federal tax revenue through such allowances as tax breaks for contributions to charitable educational institutions.

Including all three sources, the report said, federal education spending amounted to $61.8 billion for fiscal year 1990. That is an increase of $22.8 billion, or 58 percent, since fiscal year 1980, and, after inflation is factored in, it reflects a 2 percent increase in spending.

Among other findings:

The federal share of education spending on elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools dropped from 14 percent in fiscal year 1980 to 11 percent in fiscal year 1990.

The greatest decline in education spending came between fiscal years 1980 and 1983, when direct federal spending on education dropped by 18 percent.

After 1983, direct federal spending on elementary and secondary programs increased by 16 percent, and other programs increased by 26 percent.

A version of this article appeared in the June 05, 1991 edition of Education Week as Education Spending Declined During 80’s, Report Says


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
Challenging the Stigma: Emotions and STEM
STEM isn't just equations and logic. Join this webinar and discover how emotions fuel innovation, creativity, & problem-solving in STEM!
Content provided by Project Lead The Way

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: February 7, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 31, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education In Their Own Words The Stories That Stuck With Us, 2023 Edition
Our newsroom selected five stories as among the highlights of our work. Here's why.
4 min read
102523 IMSE Reading BS
Adria Malcolm for Education Week