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Language Education Federal Funding Analysis, FY24 Final Appropriations

Updated: Mar 26


Updates made on March 24th to include information about funding available for NALRC

WASHINGTON, D.C, March 21, 2024 -- Late last night, the Congressional Appropriations Committees unveiled their final agreement on Fiscal Year 2024 funding levels for the six appropriations bills that have not yet passed, including the Labor Health and Human Services Education and Defense Appropriations bills. In this challenging budget environment and with an overall spending ceiling lower than in Fiscal Year 2023, the fact that this agreement provides most K-12 education programs with level funding, adds small increases to major title programs, and makes modest cuts to a few others represents a significant victory. And all of this was achieved with Congress still cutting more than $235 million from the Department of Education’s budget. The House is expected to take up and pass this final package of FY 2024 spending bills on March 22nd, with the Senate following suit shortly thereafter.

On the whole, the news for language education was mainly positive. All major US Department of Education programs with key language components were level funded. Title II and Title III, which the House had targeted originally for elimination, will end up with level funding in Fiscal Year 2024. Title VI of the Higher Education Act, which the President proposed to cut by approximately $5 million next year, remained intact for the current year. Indian Education, Education for Native Hawaiians and Alaska Native Education programs all remained at last year’s funding levels. Within the Indian Education account, Congress directed that $12.365 million be used to support new and continuation grants for both the Native American Language Immersion and State-Tribal Education programs. The Native American Language Resource Center will receive $2.965 million, nearly twice what it received last year.

The legislative report accompanying the Department of Education’s funding bill shows Congress’ continuing focus on English language learners (EL). That report mandates that the Department brief the Appropriations Committees on the Department’s EL data collection and any barriers that persist in collecting systematized subgroup data.

It is also worth noting that, even though Congress scaled back earmarks substantially in the Department of Education’s budget as a way of saving money, two key language education projects received funding:

  • Dual Language Education of New Mexico received $250,000 for culturally and linguistically responsive education

  • North Slope School District in Alaska received $80,000 for native language and cultural education

Regarding Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations, the original House Department of Defense Appropriations bill proposed to cut funding for the World Language Advancement and Readiness Grants Program by 50%. JNCL-NCLIS worked with Senate leaders and congressional advocates to ensure that the final Fiscal Year 24 appropriations would not reflect the detrimental House proposed cuts. After a protracted 18 month fiscal process, the negotiations for the final Fiscal Year 2024 Department of Defense Appropriations resulted in a total funding of $10M for the World Language Advancement and Readiness Grants Program for the ongoing FY24 grants cycle. 

It remains possible that the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA), which administers the program, could find additional funds for this year’s grants as it did in the program’s first grant cycle. JNCL is already working with language legislation champions in Congress to make a request of DODEA, and is engaging past grant recipients to help advocate for restored funding for this program Fiscal Year 2025. JNCL-NCLIS is encouraged by the emergence of preliminary program impact data that is becoming locally available and will be reported as the first year of grant recipients in Fiscal Year 21 complete their 2-year grant supported program evaluations.

As the work for Fiscal Year 2025 begins, JNCL-NCLIS will urge Congress to support robust funding for language education programs and will continue advocating for the passage and implementation of key language education legislation. 

Below is a breakdown of key K-12 program funding levels:


About JNCL-NCLIS: Established in 1972, the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (NCLIS) unites a national network of leading organizations and businesses comprised of over 300,000 language professionals to advocate for equitable language learning opportunities. Our mission is to ensure that Americans have the opportunity to learn English and at least one other language.

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