The National Education Guidelines and Framework Law (Law nº 9.394, December 20th 1996) establishes compulsory and free basic education from 4 to 17 years, in pre-school, elementary education and high school; free infant education for children up to 5 years of age and public and free access to primary and secondary education for all who did not complete them at their own age.
The Federal Union is in charge of coordinating the national education policy. Its role includes to provide technical and financial assistance to the States, the Federal District and the Municipalities for the development of their education systems. The States distributes financial resources to the Municipalities which redistributes to its schools.
Brazil’s education system is financed by funds both from the public and private sector. The Federal Constitution lays down that the (Federal) Union shall spend at least 18% of the total tax revenues collected each fiscal year on education, while states and municipalities are obliged to spend at least 25%. Total budget in education in 2019 was BRL 123 billion corresponding to 4% of total government expenditure. School-aged population was 58.9 million (5.3 million in pre-primary, 14 million in primary, 23 million in secondary and 16.7 million in tertiary) corresponding to 29% of the total population of the country.
Brazil also has a Fund for the Development of Basic Education and Appreciation of the Teaching Profession (FUNDEB). In 2019, the FUNDEB received BRL 43.6 billion (US$ 8.3 billion), corresponding to 35% of government expenditure in education. Values per student are calculated for each State, based on FUNDEB's revenue estimate in the respective State, the number of students in basic education, according to the School Census and in the weighting factors established in Law 11.494 / 2007, such as special education, rural or/and indigenous schools, as well as other circumstances.
Households on average spend BRL 176 per month per household on education in fiscal year 2017/2018. This represents 4.7% of the household monthly expenditure. Almost 81% of the education expenses of households are dedicated to courses. The National Education Guidelines and Framework Law states that private schools and private special education schools run by non-profit organizations for profit, registered with the National Council of Social Assistance (CNAS) as social assistance beneficiaries, may receive funding by the government.
The National Education Plan (NPE) approved by Law N° 13.005/2014 for the period 2014-2024, established that public investment in education must include scholarships granted in Brazil and abroad, subsidies granted in financing programs and the financing of daycare centers, pre-schools and special education. Goal Nº20 aims to reach 10% of GDP in education; Goal 4 aims to universalize, for the population from 4 (four) to 17 (seventeen) years with disabilities, global development disorders and high skills or giftedness, access to basic education and specialized educational assistance.
The National School Meals Program (PNAE) offers school meals and food and nutrition education actions to students from all stages of public basic education. The federal government transfers supplemental financial amounts to 10 states, municipalities and federal schools to cover 200 school days. In 2014, the PNAE budget was BRL 3.8 billion (US $ 660 million), corresponding to 3% of government expenditure in education, and reached 41.5 million students (70% of school-aged population).
The Direct Money at School Program (PDDE) aims to provide supplementary financial assistance to public schools in basic education. Resources allocation is done through a calculation of fixed value (determined by the type of school, ranging from BRL 1000 to 3000 (US$ 174 to 523)) and value per capita (determined by the type of student, ranging from BRL 20 to 80 (US$ 3.5 to 14). In 2014, PDDE reached 134 000 schools, 28.8 million students (49% of school-aged population) with the spending of BRL 2.5 billion (US $ 478 million; 2.5% of the public education expenditure).
PNATE is the automatic transfer of financial resources for transportation expenses used to transport students in public basic education residing in rural areas. The amounts transferred directly to the States, the Federal District and the municipalities are made in ten annual installments. In 2014, the program expenses were BRL 581 million (US $ 101 million, or 0.78% of government expenditure in education in 2014) in 5296 municipalities and reached 4.5 million students (7.7% of school-aged population).
The Student Financing Fund (Fies) is a merit-based program of the Ministry of Education (MEC) aimed at granting financing to low-income students regularly enrolled in higher education courses. The FIES grant can fund from 25% to 100% of education fees. In 2017, 176000 grants were allocated and 2.6 million students (4.4% of school-aged population) received funding, while total program expenses were BRL 19.5 billion (US $ 3.4 billion, corresponding to 15% of government expenditure in education in 2015).
The MEC, in coordination with the Ministry of Social Development and Fight against Hunger, introduced Bolsa Familia (2006) to combat poverty through a conditional cash transfer and monitoring of school attendance. The programme provides poor families, in many cases the woman of the household, with a stipend if each family member of school age (6-17 year-olds) attends school and younger children (6-7 year-olds) are vaccinated. According to national statistics, more than one-third of students enrolled in primary and secondary education received the Bolsa Familia stipend in 2012, a total of 17.9 million students, specifically 35.5% of students enrolled in Basic Education, or 30% of school-aged population
Regarding total beneficiaries, the Programa Bolsa Família reaches 11.1 million families corresponding to 16% of total households (over 46 million people) per year, making it the largest CCT programme in the world.
The monthly value of the monetary transfer that the beneficiary family receives is the sum of several types of benefits provided in the program. The types and amounts of benefits received depend on the composition of the family and the per capita income. Families in extreme poverty receive BRL 85 (USD 27). Families receive up to 5 variable benefits value at BRL 39 (USD 12) in addition. In 2015, the program budget was BRL 27. 5 billion (US $ 9,15 billion), corresponding to 0.015% of GDP.