Student Based Allocation2021-03-24T22:30:09+00:00

Student Based Allocation

Student-based allocation: Doling out dollars based on student needs

A growing number of states and districts are moving toward distributing dollars based on the needs of designated student types—such as students living in poverty or who are English language learners—rather than dole out resources based on one-size-fits-all staffing or instructional delivery models. Each designated student generates additional dollars on top of a fixed-dollar sum distributed per student for all students. SBA is also known as weighted student funding and student-based budgeting.

State Formula Decision Tree
Student Based Allocation Infographic
Lessons Learned WSF Study


Our ongoing research shows many districts funnel at least a portion of their dollars through an SBA formula to allocate money to schools. But even as the number of SBA districts grows, little research has documented the range of their SBA formulas, the extent to which they change how resources are used, the degree to which they are meeting their stated goals of improving equity, flexibility and transparency. Our federally funded three-year study into SBA will help fill the void. We also host a network of districts exploring or implementing student based allocation formulas. This collaborative network meets virtually once a month to explore current research, troubleshoot common challenges and support efforts to advance SBA formulas in local context. To learn more about this network email Laura Anderson at edunomics@georgetown.edu.


Our ongoing research shows many states funnel at least a portion of their dollars through an SBA formula to allocate money to districts and documents early impacts from California’s landmark student-based funding law. However, many states still have layers of rules and provisions that limit districts’ flexibility, create inequities among districts and hinder productivity.

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