2011 Education Appropriations Guide

Congress completed the fiscal year 2011 appropriations process on April 14th, 2011, finalizing annual funding for nearly all federal education programs through September 30, 2011 at $68.3 billion, up $4.2 billion from the prior year. Making sense of the federal education budget and the appropriations process can be a frustrating task for education advocates, state and local policymakers, the media, and the public. The fiscal year 2011 appropriations process has been particularly confusing. Congress bypassed several steps in the normal budget and appropriations process this fiscal year. Lawmakers chose not to debate or adopt an annual budget resolution that sets funding limits for appropriations bills, and lawmakers failed to bring the appropriations bill that funds education programs up for a vote in either chamber. Instead, Congress passed a series of stop-gap funding bills that temporarily provided fiscal year 2011 funding at prior year levels for programs subject to annual appropriations, though funding for some education programs was reduced or eliminated along the way. A full six months into fiscal year 2011, Congress ultimately passed an appropriations bill for the remainder of the fiscal year that funds all federal agencies and programs subject to the annual appropriations process.

This issue brief is a helpful guide to the appropriations process and recently enacted fiscal year 2011 education funding. It includes an analysis of funding for major education programs and a timeline of the 2011 appropriations process. It also includes tables comparing 2011 funding to earlier House and Senate proposals, prior year funding levels, and the president's 2011 budget request.

Download this issue brief by clicking here or on the link to the right.




Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Jason Delisle is the former director of the Federal Education Budget Project, which is part of the Education Policy program at New America.