Education Finance

Innovative financing is critical to expanding access to quality education. USAID, and its partners, are working to create sustainable education finance.

USAID recognizes that partner country governments have limited education budgets and face difficult choices about how to effectively use scarce financial resources. Demographic changes like growing populations and urbanization have strained education systems. Compounding these changes are the environmental impacts and the growing gap between those who have access to education and those who do not based on income disparities, hard-to-reach areas, and disabilities. The 2023 UNESCO Global Monitoring Report estimates an “annual finance gap of almost $100 billion per year for countries” to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4, ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.  

To further USAID’s goal of creating sustainable education finance, USAID is focusing on supporting local public and private systems to enable them to provide education in the present and future. We recognize that our comparative advantage is the 50+ Missions that are directly working with host country governments and the private sector. This page provides the best guidance and toolkits on education finance for USAID’s education officers and its implementing partners. 

The ability to sustainably finance and deliver services that improve learning and employment outcomes equitably for all individuals is essential to each country’s progress toward self-reliance.
-U.S. Government Strategy on International Basic Education (Fiscal Years 2019 - 2023)

USAID’s Approach

USAID Areas of Engagement in Education Finance

USAID commits to strengthening the financial sustainability of local public and private systems so that they are able to provide education in the present and future. 

USAID has four key areas for engagement in education finance.

  1. Government Financing: Strengthening Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM) and Public Financial Management (PFM) for Learning Outcomes. 
  2. Non-State Financing: Strengthening Engagement of and Enabling Environments for Non-State Schools and Actors.
  3. Conflict and Crisis Contexts: Financing for Education in Conflict and Crisis-Affected Areas.
  4. Higher Education and Youth Workforce: Financing for Higher Education and Youth Workforce Development.

USAID’s Twin-Track Approach

The graphic below illustrates this twin-track approach to education finance programming at USAID. One approach is designing projects or activities with finance-specific outputs as the primary goal. Another way is designing education finance approaches that are integrated into the larger education goals of a project or activity. 

Twin-Track Approach for Education Finance

Key Resources