How are ELL programs funded across states?

Some 34 states fund ELL programs through their state's primary funding formula
By: | Issue: June, 2015
May 19, 2015

English language learners (ELLs) perform better academically and achieve greater language proficiency when they have high-quality English language instruction, according to a 2014 study in the American Educational Research Journal.

These extra programs require additional funding above the average per-student amount.

The federal government provides grant funding to states through Title III to help ELLs with language acquisition and with meeting content standards.

However, a 2012 survey found that Title III officials and district administrators said the funds were helpful, but were inefficient for ELL services.

To meet the needs of these students, 46 states provide additional funding dedicated to ELL education, says a March report from the Education Commission of the States.

Some 34 states fund ELL programs through their state’s primary funding formula. Of the states that use student weights in their formula, weights range from 9.6 percent (in Kentucky) to 99 percent (in Maryland).

Nine states fund ELL programs through a line in the budget that exists outside of the state’s primary funding formula, and three states reimburse districts upon submission of the costs of educating ELL students. Four states do not provide any funding for ELL services, the report found.

States with the largest share of ELL students:

Nevada: 31%
California: 24%
New Mexico: 19%

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

4 states do not provide any funding for ELL services.

Delaware
Mississippi
Montana
Rhode Island

Source: Education Commission of the States