Agency Plans and Reports
To promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.
The U.S. Department of Education (Department) is the agency of the federal government that establishes policy for, administers and coordinates most federal assistance to education. It helps the president execute education policies for the nation and implement laws enacted by Congress. The Department’s mission is to serve America’s students — to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.
The Department’s most recent data indicate that its elementary and secondary school programs serve more than 56 million students (pre-K through grade 12) attending more the 98,000 public schools and more than 34,000 private schools. Department programs also provide grant, loan and work-study assistance to about 11 million undergraduate students.*
When Congress created the Department in 1979, it declared these purposes:
- To strengthen the Federal commitment to ensuring access to equal educational opportunity for every individual;
- to supplement and complement the efforts of States, the local school systems and other instrumentalities of the States, the private sector, public and private educational institutions, community-based organizations, parents, and students to improve the quality of education;
- to encourage the increased involvement of the public, parents, and students in Federal education programs;
- to promote improvements in the quality and usefulness of education through Federally supported research, evaluation, and sharing of information;
- to improve the coordination of Federal education programs;
- to improve the management and efficiency of Federal education activities, especially with respect to the process, procedures, and administrative structure for the dispersal of Federal funds, as well as the reduction of unnecessary and duplicate burdens and constraints, including unnecessary paperwork, on the recipients of Federal funds; and
- to increase the accountability of Federal education programs to the President, the Congress and the public. (Section 102, Public Law 96-88).
- *SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, table 105.30 ( https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d16/tables/dt16_105.30.asp?current=yes), table 205.40 ( https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d16/tables/dt16_205.40.asp?current=yes), table 216.10 (https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_216.10.asp?current=yes), table 203.20, 205.40, 216.10 and 331.10. 2015–16 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:16): Student Financial Aid Estimates for 2015–16 (https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2018/2018466.pdf)