Understanding Student-Based Funding

This is a historic moment in time for our state. A student-based formula can empower students to thrive in the classroom and succeed after high school.

Together, we can fund Tennessee students for success for years to come.

How it Works

Student-based funding includes:

  • A funding base to give every student the same strong education foundation
  • Funding weights to ensure that every student’s education needs are met
  • Direct funding to offer students additional educational opportunities
  • Outcomes-based funding to incentivize achievement and excellence


1. What is public school funding?

It’s the money a school district receives to educate students. Funds can be used for academics, operations and other education-related expenses.

2. Why is school funding important?

It shows that public education is important and signals the outcomes we want our students to achieve. Funding guides their decisions on how they serve students.

3. Where does funding for Tennessee’s schools come from?

State and local funds support Tennessee public schools, as do federal grants.

Most funding for our schools comes from the state. In the 2021-22 school year, $5 billion in state funds were distributed to public school districts. Local governments also contribute some of their revenues to schools.

4. If Tennessee does adopt a student-based funding model, will there be additional state funding for public education?

Yes, Governor Bill Lee has pledged an additional $1 billion in recurring funding for public education with the passage of the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement Act.

5. How is Tennessee’s student-based funding formula being created?

You! Tennesseans all around the state are fueling the process. At in-person town halls around the state, online, and in email – your input has been hugely informative. Specialty subcommittees convened by the Department of Education considered your input as they helped develop a student-based formula for the General Assembly's consideration.