The United States Department of Education is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government. It began operating on May 4, 1980, having been created after the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare was split into the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services by the Department of Education Organization Act, which President Jimmy Carter signed into law on October 17, 1979.
The Department of Education is administered by the United States secretary of education. It has under 4,000 employees (2018) and an annual budget of $68 billion (2016). The 2019 Budget also supports $129.8 billion in new post-secondary grants, loans, and work-study assistance to help an estimated 11.5 million students and their families pay for college.
The Department of Education's budget is dedicated to establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds; collecting data on schools and disseminating research; focusing national attention on key educational issues; and prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.