Education grants increase

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Federal grants for state and local education continue to rise, reaching almost $35 billion in fiscal 2004 including more than $700 million specifically for technology programs, according to officials from the market research firm Input.

Much of the increase comes through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which established several grants programs to improve education through technology and access to technology. Top state recipients include Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida, Texas, New York and California.

In 2004, about $700 million will be distributed to states through the Educational Technology State Grants program, up from almost $696 million in fiscal 2003. The goal is to ensure that every student becomes technology literate by the end of eighth grade. The amount of funding granted to each state varies greatly, with the most populous state, California, slated to receive the largest amount -- almost $95 million.

More than $12 billion will be dispersed through the Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies, but only a subset of that money will go directly to technology improvements. The Title I program is meant to enhance the capabilities of schools with a high percentage of students that don't meet academic achievement standards.

The Education Department also provided funding for the Community Technology Centers program, to create or expand technology centers in economically-distressed zones. The department awarded $32 million to multiple cities and universities in September 2003, to be used in fiscal 2004.

"State-supported schools will rely heavily on this funding and on information technology vendors that can provide the tools necessary to meet the act's primary objective of ensuring all students reach specific proficiency goals by the 2013-2014 school year," said Meredith Luttner, manager of state and local market development services at Input.

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