Biden budget would reinvest in education

March 15, 2024

From: Fred Jones, Jr., SEF Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, and Darian Burns, SEF Legislative and Public Policy Analyst

Early this week, President Biden presented his FY 2025 budget proposal to Congress and the American people. The budget outlines his funding priorities and several new initiatives his administration would like to enact this year. President Biden proposes a 4% (or $3.1 billion) increase to the U.S. Department of Education’s programs compared to the FY 2024 annualized Continuing Resolution (CR). The president’s total proposed budget for federal education programs is $82.4 billion. In addition to a number of proposed increases to existing programs, the budget also offers new grants to improve teaching and learning for the nation’s students. 

For example, the president also proposes $18.6 billion for Title I schools, an increase of $200 million above the current CR level. Funded with mandatory dollars over the next five years, Biden’s budget plan would also create an $8 billion Academic Acceleration and Achievement Grant program to support high-need schools and improve and accelerate students’ academic recovery. This new program would support activities to improve student attendance and engagement, provide high-impact tutoring for students, and fund extended learning time. Biden’s budget also presents a blueprint for doubling the maximum Pell Grant award for low and middle-income college students by 2029. SEF identifies other notable budget highlights, including those for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, below:

Early Childhood Education 

  • A $25 million Preschool Incentive Demonstration program that would make competitive awards to school districts or consortiums of districts to expand access to high-quality pre-K in schools and community-based settings.
  • A $544 million increase for Head Start to increase children’s access to high-quality early learning. 
  • A $500 million increase for the Child Care Development Block Grant program to help states subsidize child care.
  • A $65 million cut to the Preschool Development Grant program. 

K-12 Education 

  • A $50 million increase for the Full-Service Community Schools program to center schools in communities and help address the comprehensive needs of the whole child.
  • A $10 million increase in efforts to encourage more racially and socioeconomically diverse K-12 schools through the Fostering Diverse Schools program. 

Higher Education

  • A $750 increase to the maximum Pell Grant award, raising the total amount from $7,395 to $8,145.
  • A $36 million increase to support Institutional Aid for HBCUs to help more students enter and complete college.
  • A $5 million increase for the Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools program to develop and expand early learning centers on college campuses. 
  • A $15 million increase for the Augustus Hawkins Centers of Excellence educator preparation programs at minority-serving institutions. 

At SEF, we believe the president’s budget request presents a framework that will reshape the federal policy and funding agenda to focus on equity and genuinely help transform the nation’s education ecosystem. States and school districts across the country – especially in the 17 states primarily served by SEF – continue to respond and help students recover from the impact of COVID-19, and they are also contending with inadequate per-student funding levels; threats to eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion programs; and efforts to defund public education with school vouchers.

Because of this policy environment, key federal investments across the education spectrum, such as those proposed by the president, will be critical to ensure greater opportunities for student success. Many state leaders and community partners understand that federal investments can directly support historically underserved populations, support the development of student and family agency, and help ensure all students have access to high-quality, supportive learning environments. 

We call on Congress to provide robust investments in early childhood education, K-12, and higher education to support a pipeline of programs to serve our young learners and those working in education and child development fields. 

More resources on the FY 2025 proposed budget can be found here.


The Southern Education Foundation is a 157-year-old education and civil rights organization based in Atlanta. We work to improve education in 17 states and across the nation, with an emphasis on Black students and students from low-income families.