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Federal Funding In Decline for Adult Literacy and Basic Education Programs

Posted on 03/21/2014

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A new survey of ProLiteracy External link opens in new window or tab adult literacy and basic education member organizations finds that federal funding for these programs continues to shrink—falling 1 percentage point over last year and falling 10 percentage points since 2006.

Additionally, ProLiteracy programs show a general trend of receiving less public funding overall. In 2011-12, 38 percent of programs received federal and/or state funding; that figure has fallen to 31 percent in 2012-13.

ProLiteracy's Annual Member Statistical Report External link opens in new window or tab also shows that, among member programs:

  • Almost one-third (32 percent) of those enrolled in adult literacy and basic education programs are unemployed and looking for employment. This aligns with Department of Labor data that show that those with less than a high school diploma are more than three times more likely to be unemployed as those with a bachelor's degree or higher.
  • There has been a marked increase in demand for GED and GED preparation classes, which may continue to rise based on the increased requirements for at least high school equivalency credentials to obtain quality jobs.
  • Seventy-three percent of member programs report waiting lists, indicating that the demand for adult literacy programs continues to exceed the capacity to deliver.

Nine hundred fifty of ProLiteracy's member programs were surveyed through the 2012-13 Annual Member Report. Extrapolated data in the Statistical Report are based on 44 percent of Annual Member Reports submitted.

Source: ProLiteracy media release External link opens in new window or tab. Questions about this report can be directed to Michele Diecuch, senior membership and program manager, at (315) 214-2576. Media queries can be directed to Amy Schmitz, director of marketing and communications, at (315) 214-2580.