Frist, Alexander Applaud Education Funding for Tennessee

Posted on March 18, 2003

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Bill Frist (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today praised significant increases in federal K-12 and higher education funding for Tennessee. With the passage of the 2003 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, signed into law on February 20, federal education programs for Tennessee in 2003 will reach over $1.6 billion.

Since 1994, federal funding for education has increased at two times the rate of growth for all federal spending, faster than health and human services and nearly three times as fast as the defense budget.

"Ensuring that our children receive a quality education continues to be a top priority for Congress and the President," said Frist. "We are spending more on education now than anytime in American history, and we=re committed to continuing to provide significant increases for elementary and secondary education reforms. Our children's education is an investment in the future, and I applaud President Bush for keeping his promise to America by ensuring an education system that leaves no child left behind."

"Educating our children has always been and continues to be a top priority of mine," said Alexander. "Budgets are about setting priorities, and I want to thank President Bush for this significant investment in education and for leading the way in making the education of our children a top priority for this nation."

The No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law last year by President Bush, contains the most significant elementary and secondary education reforms in the last 30 years. Those reforms were coupled with a $4.7 billion increase — the largest single increase in elementary and secondary funding in history. Under the 2004 Senate Budget Resolution, overall funding for No Child Left Behind programs will have increased by $5.6 billion or 32 percent compared to 2001, the last year of the old law. In addition, federal funding for special education grants to states will increase to over $10 billion for the first time in history. Since 1996, the maximum award for Pell Grants has increased by 64 percent from $2,470 to $4,050 today.

The 2004 Senate Budget Resolution commits $54.2 billion in discretionary spending for K-12 and higher education, or a 135 percent increase since 1996 this is $12 billion more in discretionary education funding than the highest level ever spent in the last 10 years.

The Senate budget proposal for 2004 includes the following for the State of Tennessee:

  • Almost $174 million for Title I grants to local education agencies, an increase of 23 percent over 2001 levels; and
  • Almost $207 million for special education, representing a 60 percent increase since 2001.

This year, the State of Tennessee will receive:

  • More than $286 million for programs comprising the No Child Left Behind Act, including over $48 million for teachers, almost $16 million to teach reading, $2.65 million to help non-native students learn English, $2.5 million for rural schools, more than $7 million for after school programs and over $8 million for technology;
  • Almost $217 million for federal Pell grants, representing more than double the amount provided to Tennessee in 1994;
  • Over $800 million from federal loan programs;
  • $60 million for rehabilitative services and disability research; and
  • -Over $9 million for vocational and adult education grants.