Grant Agency Spotlight: U.S. Department of Education

Nearly every week, 50 or more new grant opportunities are posted to by federal grant-making agencies. Each of these grants aims to support a specific government objective – such as protecting our parks, funding research and development, or strengthening underserved communities.

Agency Spotlight Blog SeriesThis new blog series spotlights the federal grant-making agencies and the causes to which they are dedicated in service to the general public.

Each post – beginning with this one about the U.S. Department of Education (ED) – will explain the agency’s primary objectives and highlight a recent example of its grant programs at work.

What does the Department of Education do?

U.S. Department of Education logoED is the government champion for learning. The agency aims to “promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”

Established in 1980, ED is specifically dedicated to:

  • “Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds”
  • “Collecting data on America’s schools and disseminating research”
  • “Focusing national attention on key educational issues”
  • “Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education”

Thus, grant programs from ED align with one or more of these aims. Click here to see the current open grant opportunities from ED.


What’s an example of a grant recently awarded by ED?

The Institute of Education Sciences, which reports directly to the ED Office of the Secretary, recently awarded a $1 million grant to researchers at Florida State University (FSU) and Florida A&M University (FAMU) “to support the recruitment and academic success of doctoral students from underrepresented populations.”

The grant aims to bring more diversity to the academic field of education research by launching a training program for undergraduate juniors and first-year masters students planning to pursue doctoral study.

“Underrepresented groups should have a voice in academia; they have much to contribute in addressing many of the important social justice issues facing our country and education today,” FSU College of Education professor Alysia Roehrig, the grant’s principal investigator, said in an article on the university’s website.


How much grant money does ED award each year?

The best source for up-to-date information about federal agency spending on grants is The interactive website is being bolstered by DATA Act reforms and allows users to segment agency spending data by contract, grants, loans, and other financial assistance.

As of August 1, according to, ED had awarded over $40 billion in grants in FY2017.

Looking for more background on ED’s grant programs? Visit the agency’s profile page over at