Department of Education

Department of Education Net Spending in Billions of Constant 2014 Dollars

The Department of Education operates a wide range of subsidy programs for elementary and secondary schools. The aid and related federal regulations have not generally lifted academic achievement. The department also subsidizes higher education through student loan programs. Unfortunately, that aid has fueled inflation in college tuition and is subject to widespread abuse.

The department will spend about $66 billion in 2014, or $537 for every U.S. household. It employs 4,100 workers and operates 120 different subsidy programs.


Spending Cuts Summary
Downsize This!
  • K-12 Education Subsidies. Federal intervention into the nation’s schools has consumed great deals of taxpayer money and created large bureaucracies to administer the funding and regulations. It has produced little, if any, improvement in academic results.
  • Higher Education Subsidies. Federal grants and loans for college students have contributed to soaring inflation in tuition costs. Student grant and loan programs have also been subject to high levels of fraud and abuse.
Timeline of Government Growth
Cato Experts


"Only a truly competitive educational industry can empower the ultimate consumers of educational services—parents and their children."

Milton Friedman, Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2000