Title I

The Title I program, currently authorized through the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, provides funds to local school districts to improve the education of disadvantaged students from birth through the 12th grade. It is the largest federal program supporting elementary and secondary education and was funded at $14.4 billion in fiscal year 2014. Funds are distributed to school districts according to a set of formulas based on the size and characteristics of a school district’s student population. Funding levels for selected programs from 2005 to present are shown below.

School districts have some discretion in how they distribute Title I funds among schools within the district, but the law requires them to prioritize the highest-poverty schools. More than 50,000 schools (almost half of all public schools) receive Title I funds annually. Because Title I is the largest federal program and most school districts receive some funding from it, requirements for standards, assessment, and accountability are all included within it.

Grant Distribution Formulas

Title I funds are distributed to school districts according to a set of four separate formulas: the Basic Grant, Concentration Grant, Targeted Assistance Grant, and the Education Finance Incentive Grant funding formulas.

School Funding Equity Factor

The federal government developed a standardized measure, known as the "equity factor," to determine how evenly funding is distributed across school districts in a state.

Fiscal Requirements

The U.S. Department of Education proposed three provisions governing Title I funding allocation practices, which legislators eventually incorporated into the statute: “maintenance of effort,” “supplement, not supplant,” and “comparability of services.”


Pre-K and Preschool Funding

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education released “non-regulatory guidance” to reiterate that school districts may use Title I funds for preschool programs.