Revenues from COVID-19 Federal Assistance Funds for public elementary and secondary education totaled $25.3 billion, or 28.6 percent of all federal revenues.
Current expenditures for public elementary and secondary education across the nation increased by 0.7 percent between FY 20 and FY 21 (from $698.3 to $703.5 billion). Within that increase, expenditures for instruction increased by 1.1 percent between FY 20 and FY 21 (from $422.4 to $427.1 billion), and student support expenditures increased by 3.6 percent between FY 20 and FY 21 (from $44.0 to $45.6 billion).
Current expenditures per pupil for the day-to-day operation of public elementary and secondary schools was $14,295 in FY 21, an increase of 3.5 percent from FY 20.3 In FY 21, education spending was 16.7 percent higher than at the lowest point of the Great Recession in FY 13.
Figure 1. National inflation-adjusted current expenditures per public for public elementary and secondary education: Fiscal years 2012 through 2021
NOTE: Spending is reported in constant FY 21 dollars, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). National totals include the 50 states and the District of Columbia. California did not report prekindergarten membership in the State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education. California reported prekindergarten expenditures separately, and these expenditures were excluded from the amounts reported in this figure.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), “National Public Education Financial Survey,” fiscal years 2012 through 2020, Final Version 2a; and fiscal year 2021, Provisional Version 1a; and Digest of Education Statistics 2021, table 106.75. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d21/tables/dt21_106.75.asp.
Without making adjustments for geographic cost differences, current expenditures per pupil ranged from $9,014 in Utah to $26,097 in New York. In addition to New York, current expenditures per pupil were highest in the District of Columbia ($25,113), Vermont ($24,050), New Jersey ($22,784), and Connecticut ($22,216). In addition to Utah, current expenditures per pupil were lowest in Idaho ($9,054), Arizona ($9,571), Mississippi ($10,060), and Nevada ($10,073). The states with the largest increases in current expenditures per pupil from FY 20 to FY 21 were Maine (11.9 percent), Arizona (7.6 percent), Montana (7.4 percent), Louisiana (7.3 percent), and Massachusetts (6.6 percent).
In FY 21, salaries and wages ($389.2 billion) in conjunction with employee benefits ($169.7 billion) accounted for 79.4 percent ($558.8 billion) of current expenditures for public elementary and secondary education. Expenditures for instruction and instructional staff support services comprised 65.8 percent ($462.9 billion) of total current expenditures.
Between FY 20 and FY 21, total expenditures increased by 0.2 percent (from $812.3 to $813.6 billion). Of the $813.6 billion in total expenditures in FY 21, 86.5 percent were current expenditures, 9.8 percent were capital outlay expenditures, 2.7 percent were interest on debt, and 1.1 percent were expenditures for other programs.
Current expenditures from federal Title I grants for economically disadvantaged students (including carryover expenditures) accounted for $16.3 billion, or 2.3 percent of current expenditures for public elementary and secondary education at the national level in FY 21. Nationally, Title I expenditures per pupil averaged $331 and ranged from $123 in Utah to $874 in New York.
Current expenditures paid from COVID-19 Federal Assistance Funds for public elementary and secondary education totaled $24.2 billion for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Of these, instructional expenditures accounted for $13.7 billion, or 56.5 percent of current expenditures paid from COVID-19 Federal Assistance Funds, and support services expenditures accounted for $9.1 billion, or 37.6 percent of current expenditures paid from COVID-19 Federal Assistance Funds.
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By Stephen Q. Cornman, NCES, and Malia Howell and Jeremy Phillips, U.S. Census Bureau
 Spending refers to current expenditures. Current expenditures are composed of expenditures for the day-to-day operation of schools and school districts for public elementary and secondary education, including expenditures for staff salaries and benefits, supplies, and purchased services. Current expenditures include instruction, instruction-related, support services (e.g., social work, health, and psychological services), and other elementary/secondary current expenditures but exclude expenditures on capital outlay, other programs, and interest on long-term debt.
 Throughout this blog post, all comparisons between years are adjusted for inflation by converting the figures to constant dollars. Inflation adjustments utilize the Consumer Price Index (CPI) published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. For comparability to fiscal education data, NCES adjusts the CPI from a calendar year to a school fiscal year basis (July through June). See Digest of Education Statistics 2021, table 106.70.
 Per pupil expenditures are calculated using student membership derived from the State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education. In some states, adjustments are made to ensure consistency between membership and reported fiscal data. More information on these adjustments can be found in the data file documentation.