State Strategies for Financing Career and Technical Education

Introduction

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV or Act) authorizes federal funding for career and technical education (CTE) and specifies a formula for distributing those funds. Allocations at the secondary level are based on the number of youths ages 5–17 who reside within a local educational agency’s (LEAs) boundaries and who live in poverty. Funds for institutions of higher education (IHEs) are distributed proportionate to the number of students who receive Pell grants or aid from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

To offset the higher cost of providing technical instruction, some states choose to allocate categorical funding for CTE programs. To assess the operation of state CTE resource distribution formulas, in August 2013 the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) surveyed CTE directors responsible for administering their state’s federal Perkins IV grants. The survey asked CTE directors to report whether their states provided categorical funds for CTE during academic year (AY) 2011–12 and, if so, how they were distributed to LEAs and IHEs. Directors also were asked about their states’ uses and perceptions of performance-based funding (PBF)—a competitive resource distribution strategy that rewards local programs for achieving state-identified performance outcomes.

This study draws on data collected from the NASDCTEc survey and a review of state educational agency websites and statutory language to identify whether, and if so, how states distribute categorical funds for CTE programs. It also documents states’ PBF strategies and their interest in integrating competitive funding into their state education resource distribution formulas.