State Strategies for Financing Career and Technical Education

This report, published by the U.S. Department of Education and prepared by RTI International, focuses on how state funding is distributed to local secondary and postsecondary CTE programs to help offset higher costs associated with CTE programs. The survey of State CTE Directors found that state approaches to CTE funding vary in emphasis and complexity, but that financing approaches break down into three main categories:

  • Foundational funding only,
  • Funding for area CTE centers and
  • Categorical funding

States can use this resource to evaluate strategies and best practices for distributing CTE funds. According to the study findings, a small number of states used performance-based formulas to allocate secondary CTE funds by tying funding to performance measures such as placement of CTE students into postsecondary education or employment, attainment of industry-recognized credentials in high-demand fields or CTE completion rates. For the vast majority of states that do not use performance-based funding, the most common reason was a lack of understanding from state leaders. The study also calls for more research to better understand what impact, if any, each of the state funding approaches has on program and student outcomes.

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October 2014