Special Education_Grants to States

To provide grants to States to assist them in providing a free appropriate public education to all children with disabilities.

Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Federal funds are combined with State and local funds to provide free appropriate public education to children with disabilities.

This includes special education and related services.

Funds are used for salaries of teachers and other personnel, education materials, related services--such as special transportation or occupational therapy that allow children with disabilities to access education services--and other education-related needs.

Agency - Department of Education

The Department of Education ensures equal access to education and promotes educational excellence through coordination, management and accountability in Federal education programs. The Department works to supplement and complement educational efforts on all levels, encouraging increased involvement by the public, parents and students.

Program Accomplishments

Approximately 6.8 million children with disabilities are expected to be served by this program for 2008.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Funds are used by State and local educational agencies, in accordance with the IDEA, to help provide the special education and related services needed to make a free appropriate public education available to all eligible children and, in some cases, early intervening services.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

State educational agencies in the 50 States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and Virgin Islands, the Department of the Interior, and freely associated States.

Local educational agencies apply to their State educational agency for subgrants.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Children with disabilities will benefit.


The designated plan review agencies must be given an opportunity to review the State's policies and procedures. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for State and local governments.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

States must meet the conditions of Section 612 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Public hearings must be held prior to a State's adoption of policies and procedures to comply with that section.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

The standard application forms as furnished by the Federal agency and required by OMB Circular No.

A-102 must be used for this program.

Application Procedures

This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110. States are eligible to receive funds under this program if the State establishes eligibility for funds under Section 612 of Part B of the IDEA. Local education agencies establish eligibility by meeting local application eligibility requirements of Section 613 of Part B of the IDEA.

Award Procedures

Once the State application has been approved, a grant award is forwarded to the State department of education. Notification of the award is made to Chief State School Officer.


The submission date for State applications is April 1 to expedite funding, but plans or amendments are accepted throughout the fiscal year.


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B, Sections 611-618, as amended, 20 U.S.C. 1411-1418.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Within 90 days.


The Department must give a State educational agency an opportunity for a hearing before taking any action involving the proposed disapproval of a State plan and the withholding of payments. If a State disagrees with a final action, it may, within 60 days after notice of such action, file a petition for review of that action with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A State may also engage in a hearing with the Department if the State disagrees with the action taken regarding a request for a waiver of the Part B supplementing and supplanting requirements.



Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Funds are awarded based on a statutory formula. In general, subject to minimum and maximum funding requirements, if the funds available to States increase from one year to the next, each of the states first received what it received in 1999. Eighty-five percent of the remaining funds are distributed based on the relative number of children with disabilities in the age range for which States mandate services; 15 percent of the remaining funds are distributed based on the ralative numbers of those children living in poverty. If the amount available to these entities decreases from one year to the next, each entity receives what it did in 1999. Remaining funds are distributed in proportion to the increased these entities received between 1999 and the present year. Most of the funds must be distributed to local education agencies directly serving children. States may retain the remaining funds for state-level activities including administration of, support of, and direct services to children with disabilities. There are non- supplanting and excess cost requirements. Contact the program office for further details.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Grants are issued each fiscal year. The Federal obligation period is a 15-month period from July 1 through September 30. States and local education agencies have an additional 12-month period to obligate funds they receive.

Post Assistance Requirements


Annual data report and performance reports are submitted to the Department of Education from the State departments of education.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), Audits of States, Local Governments, and NonProfit Organizations, nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.


As required by EDGAR for State administered programs (34 CFR 76.730-731). Also, all records supporting claims for Federal funds or relating to the accountability of the grantee for the expenditure of such funds must be accessible for administrative review.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $10,782,961,000; FY 08 est $10,947,511,571; and FY 09 est $11,284,511,000. (Includes $15,000,000 in each year for funding CFDA 373.)

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

For 2008, the range of awards to States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, is $929,040 to $1,165,972,611.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Program regulations are at 34 CFR 300.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Special Education Programs, Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20202. Contact: Ruth Ryder. E-mail: Ruth.Ryer@ed.gov Telephone: (202) 245-7629.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

States and other eligible entities qualify for funding based upon applications approved under IDEA, Section 612.

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