ODA Spending

How much ODA does the US allocate to education?

The US was the third-largest DAC donor to education in 2022.

The US’ spending on education represented around 2% of its total ODA in 2022, well below the DAC average of 9%. This places the US close to last among DAC donors in relative terms.

How is US educational ODA changing?

The approved FY2023 SFOPS bill allocates US$1.3 billion for basic and higher education, a 5% increase from the FY2022 enacted amount of US$1.2 billion. The figure for FY2022 included US$125 million for GPE, while, in FY2023, the US pledged US$43 million to ECW. The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program, which supports education in low-income, food-deficit countries, is funded at US$240 million in FY2024, a US$3 million decrease from FY2023.

How does the US allocate educational ODA?

Bilateral Spending

In 2022, 88%, or US$1.1 billion, of US education ODA was channeled bilaterally or as earmarked funding through multilaterals. The US has shown a slightly declining level of bilateral shares to education.

Most of the 2021 funding was allocated to programs for ‘primary education’ (41% of bilateral education ODA, down f56% in 2021), making the US the largest donor to this area. While the US has consistently prioritized primary education, its relative share of bilateral ODA has been steadily declining. Within basic education, the US prioritizes ‘primary education’ (US$728 million, or 57% of bilateral education ODA in 2021), in line with USAID’s new strategy for the sub-sector. ‘School feeding’ has become a routine funding focus within basic education, receiving 17% of bilateral education ODA in 2022.

Multilateral Spending and Commitments

11% of overall education ODA was disbursed as core contributions to multilaterals. Of this, most of the funding went primarily to the World Bank’s IDA (7.6% of total education ODA). Additionally, the US is a consistent supporter of the GPE, having contributed US$676 million between 2009 and 2022. At the Global Education Summit in July 2021, which was a call from GPE to mobilize US$5 billion in funding toward children’s education in the world’s lowest-income countries, the US made a three-year pledge of US$305 million, accounting for 8% of total pledges. The US is also a founding donor to ECW, an international initiative launched in 2016 that aims to improve access to education services in humanitarian emergencies and crises. The US has committed a total of US$145 million to the fund since its founding in 2016.

The table below summarizes the US’ more recent commitments to multilaterals working in global education. Some of these commitments are considered core funding to multilaterals while others will be earmarked funding through multilaterals from the US.

Funding and Policy Outlook

What is the current government's outlook on educational ODA?

The US government has committed to quality and inclusive education for all: On April 15, 2024, USAID released a new strategy on international basic education for 2024-2029. Working across 10 US agencies and with partner countries, the strategy has three objectives: improved learning outcomes; expanded high quality education, especially for marginalized populations; and leveraging resources to improve outcomes. The 2024-2029 strategy is supported by the USAID Education Policy, which works through stronger locally led development.

The US has prioritized girls’ access to education: Under the current administration, the focus is on breaking down gender-related barriers to education so that girls, women, and gender and sexual minorities have equal access to quality and inclusive education. There is also a particular emphasis on reversing the widening gap in equitable education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Goals for breaking down these barriers are set by USAID endorsement of the G7’s Declaration on Girls’ Education and the SDG 4, which sets benchmarks for improved girls’ education in LICs and LMICs. While USAID's new 2024 international basic education strategy does not specifically call out girls’ access, it seeks to expand educational access to historically vulnerable and marginalized populations as well as promoting equity and inclusion.

Key bodies

Related Publications

A new era of development assistance: Key takeaways from the G7 summit

Donor Updates in Brief: 2023 OECD Preliminary Data

December 2023 Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Roundup 

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