Funding vocational education: An analysis of state approaches and funding levels for vocational education among SREB network states
It is generally accepted in the education community that vocational education is more expensive to provide than other forms of instruction. To offset this increased cost, states participating in the Southern Regional Education Board–State Vocational Education Consortium High Schools That Work (HSTW) network have developed a number of strategies for allocating state resources for vocational education. These approaches generally condition state aid on the number of students or teachers participating in vocational education or the added costs districts incur in providing instruction.
Irrespective of funding approach, not all states make similar financial commitments to vocational education. Allocation data collected from the 26 HSTW network states reveal considerable variation among states, with some allocating more than three times what others spend on a per student basis. Comparisons of state spending are complicated by a variety of factors, however, including differences in the geographical cost of living, organization of state education systems, and manner in which state funding formulas allocate resources. Furthermore, not all states classify their allocations for vocational education in similar ways, which can complicate interstate comparisons.