Where the Money Goes


The current total US education budget for 2013 is $.9 trillion, which is more than any other country in the world. In 2011 $10,560 was spent on each student in the system according to the US Census Bureau. The average high school teacher in the US earns about $53,000 per year.

However, this of course varies by state. Utah, for example spent less per student on elementary and secondary education than any other state in the nation. Utah ranked dead last in spending per student in 2011 on both teaching costs and support services, at $3,956 and $1,868, respectively. However, despite the low spending per student, Utah’s reading and math test scores for the fourth and eighth grades were only slightly below average. Over 90% of adults in Utah have graduated from high school, which is among the top third of all states. The New York school system spent much more per student than any state in the country in 2011. The state of New York spent $13,287 per student on teaching in fiscal 2011 — more than double the national average — and was the only state to spend more than $10,000 per student on student instruction. A good portion of that money, $8,196 per student, went to pay for teachers’ wages and salaries. This was the highest of any states’ school systems.

Below is a pie chart of how the US education budget was spent in the fiscal year of 2011-2012 for 1st through 12th graders. Much of the budget is spent on salaries and administration, and even less of the budget is spent on programs that benefit the arts and art education.

For more information on education spending in the US, visit the US Department of Education.


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