This article helps provide funding data for part 2 of my annual review of the year in ed-tech

Education Demographics

The Census released data on educational attainment in March. “In 2015, the majority of adults, 88 percent, were at least high school graduates and more than half, 59 percent, had completed at least some college. One out of three adults reported having at least a bachelor’s degree and 12 percent reported having an advanced degree, such as a master’s, professional or doctorate degree.”

Other sources of education data: the US Census, the National Center for Educational Statistics, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

State and Federal Education Spending

“Per Pupil Spending Down in Most States” Education Week reported in January. At the higher education level, "State support for higher education is up 4.1 percent this year, according to Inside Higher Ed.

“Why America’s Schools Have A Money Problem,” NPR explained in April.

From a Department of Education news release in July: “Increases in Spending on Corrections Far Outpace Education.”

Education Week reported in August that “Public Woefully Misunderstands Education Spending.” Why, it’s almost like there’s a huge failure in education journalism or something…

“The 7-year-old economic recovery has not been kind to the American public education system,” FiveThirtyEight wrote in August. “In May 2008, as the Great Recession was just beginning, U.S. school departments employed 8.4 million teachers and other workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This past May, they employed just 8.2 million – despite public-school enrollments that the Department of Education estimated have risen by more than 1 million students during the same period. Student-teacher ratios are as high as they’ve been since the late 1990s, though they’re still well below their levels of the 1980s and most of the 1990s.”

According to The Washington Post in October, “These states are spending less on education now than before the Great Recession.” That is, all states except Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Alaska, Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa, Illinois, and North Dakota. The Hechinger Report observed that “states have cut money for higher education 17 percent since the recession.”

The Hechinger Report also pointed out that “education spending gap widens between college haves and have-nots since recession.”

School Spending

The 2016 report on college spending from the Delta Cost Project.

According to Inside Higher Ed in September, “Since the late 1980s, colleges and universities have spent increasingly more per student across nearly every major spending category, according to a new report from a Federal Reserve Bank economist who says his findings indicate broad-based reasons behind rising college costs.”

Lobbying and Campaign Donations

Journalist Susie Cagle has calculated where some major tech firms and tech investors sent their political donations during this year’s presidential campaign.

From September, an incredible piece of reporting by The Guardian on corporate lobbying and influence in Wisconsin politics following Scott Walker’s anti-union efforts in the state.

Politico reported in April that the loan company Navient had spent $710,000 in the first quarter of the year (up from $410,000), “making it the biggest spender among education organizations and companies.” The top five spenders on education lobbying during the first quarter: Navient ($710,000), National Education Association ($677,000), University of California ($540,000), Apollo Education Group ($360,000), American Federation of Teachers ($317,443).

Other sources for lobbying data:, Federal Election Commission.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Who's Funding Education Technology?

A Hack Education Project

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