Study of the Title I, Part A Grant Program Mathematical Formulas

Thomas D. Snyder, NCES
,
William Sonnenberg and Stephen Cornman, NCES

In 1965, Congress established Title I, Part A (often simply called “Title I”) as a part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The major goals of Title I funding are to provide services to children in low-income families and to support school districts with large numbers of poor children, also known as formula-eligible children. Formula-eligible children include 5- to 17-year-old children in families living in poverty, children who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, children who are neglected or delinquent, and those in foster care.

Read highlighted findings from the study.

Today, Title I funds are allocated through a combination of four grants:

  • Basic grants, the single largest source of Title I funding ($6.4 billion in fiscal year 2015);
  • Concentration grants, the smallest of the four grants ($1.3 billion in fiscal year 2015), which are available to districts in which the number of formula-eligible children exceeds 6,500 or 15 percent of the district’s child population;
  • Targeted grants ($3.3 billion in fiscal year 2015), which are allocated to districts through a weighting system benefiting districts with high numbers or percentages of formula-eligible children; and
  • Education finance incentive grants ($3.3 billion in fiscal year 2015), which are allocated directly to states, which then disburse funds to their districts for low-income and disadvantaged children.
     

Report Overview

The 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act mandated a report examining the distribution of Title I funds to better understand how the current formulas affect various types of school districts—large and small, poor and wealthy, urban and rural. AIR conducted this report with the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

The report provides the public with information about how each component of the Title I funding formula affects the distribution of federal funds to states and school districts. It includes:

  • Detailed analyses for each of the four grant programs;
  • Alternative analyses that isolate components of each grant program;
  • Allocations adjusted by the American Community Survey-Comparable Wage Index, which compares educator salaries with the local cost of living, to help determine the relative value of salaries; and
  • A table of Title I, Part A total allocations by grant type and school district.
     

Highlighted Findings

For basic and concentration grants, the report shows that per formula-eligible child:

  • Remote rural areas had higher allocations than all other locales;
  • The least poor districts had higher allocations than higher poverty districts; and
  • Compared with larger districts, the smallest districts had higher allocations.

For targeted and education finance incentive grants, the report shows that per formula-eligible child:

  • Large cities and remote rural areas had higher allocations than all other locales;
  • The poorest districts had higher allocations than the least-poor districts; and
  • Districts with more than 25,000 students or fewer than 300 students had higher per formula-eligible child allocations than districts of other sizes.

For more information and to view the report, please visit the NCES website.