ED was created in 1980 by combining offices from several federal agencies. ED's mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. ED's 4,200 employees and $68.6 billion budget are dedicated to: • Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds. • Collecting data on America's schools and disseminating research. • Focusing national attention on key educational issues. • Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.