NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

A Closer Look at the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

April 8, 2015

As part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), Title I aims to provide all students with an equitable education by providing financial assistance to high-poverty schools and school districts. Four different types of formula grants are used in this funding and school districts must demonstrate that the funds are used to supplement and not supplant services provided by the state and local agencies.

Title I grants include:

  • Basic Grants provide funds to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in which the number of children counted in the formula is at least 10 and exceeds 2 percent of an LEA's school-age population.
  • Concentration Grants flow to LEAs where the number of formula children exceeds 6,500 or 15 percent of the total school-age population.
  • Targeted Grants are based on the same data used for Basic and Concentration Grants except that the data are weighted so that LEAs with higher numbers or higher percentages of children from low-income families receive more funds.
  • Education Finance Incentive Grants (EFIG) distribute funds to states based on factors that measure a state's effort to provide financial support for education compared to its relative wealth as measured by per capita income.

For the 2014 fiscal year, Title I, Part A was the single largest investment for K-12 education with an estimated $14.4 billion allocated. The funding goes through a long top-down process, which starts at the federal level, then to state education agencies, down to the school districts, and finally to schools.

Title I does not fund the low-income student directly. Instead, funding is directed towards schools with highest concentration of low-income students. Basing funding on highest concentration of low-income student has been demonstrated to not accurately measure poverty, particularly in high schools which tend to have larger student populations.

Source: Chad Miller: "Funding the Child: Analysis of Title I Portability," American Action Forum, April 2, 2015. 


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