FY 2003 Budget Summary - February 4, 2002
B. Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
The Administration is committed to working to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to learn and develop skills, engage in productive work, choose where to live, and participate in community life. The 2003 budget supports the President's New Freedom Initiative to help people with disabilities lead independent lives. Increases are proposed for programs that show promise in making a positive impact on education, employment, and independent living outcomes for people with disabilities.
The $9.7 billion request for Special Education programs includes $8.5 billion for the Grants to States program, an increase of $1 billion or 13.3 percent over the 2002 level. This level of funding would provide an estimated $1,300 for each child with a disability—the highest level of Federal support ever provided for children with disabilities. The budget also provides a $20 million increase for Grants for Infants and Families, which will help ensure that children with disabilities enter school ready to learn.
For Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research, the budget provides $3.0 billion, an increase of $56 million or 1.9 percent over the 2002 level. Consistent with the President's initiative to direct resources to programs that have the greatest potential to improve outcomes, the request includes $2.6 billion for Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants to help provide over 1.2 million individuals with disabilities the services they need to become employed. In addition, the budget includes $30 million for grants to State VR agencies based on their performance in helping individuals with disabilities obtain competitive jobs, as well as a $3 million increase for the Training program to help ensure that rehabilitation counseling personnel have the skills need to assist individuals with disabilities to obtain high quality employment outcomes. The request also provides $69.5 million, an increase of 11.2 percent, for Centers for Independent Living to help individuals with disabilities lead independent lives.
The Administration is proposing a multi-year effort to reform job training programs, target resources to programs with documented effectiveness, and eliminate funding for duplicative and overlapping programs. As part of this effort, the budget consolidates funding for Supported Employment State Grants, Projects with Industry, and the Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers program within the Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants program.
The Grants to States program makes formula grants that help States pay the excess costs of providing special education and related services to children with disabilities aged 3 through 21 years. The request would provide an average of $1,300 for each of an estimated 6.5 million children with disabilities. The budget also would provide $16 million for studies to assess progress in implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
This program provides formula grants to help States make a free appropriate public education available to all children with disabilities ages 3 through 5. The Preschool Grants program supplements funds provided to States under the Grants to States program and helps to ensure that young children with disabilities are ready to learn when they enter school. The request would provide approximately $626 per child for approximately 622,800 children.
This program makes formula grants to help States implement statewide systems of early intervention services for all eligible children with disabilities from birth through age 2 and their families. The proposed $20 million increase would assist States in meeting the rising costs of administering their systems and serving larger numbers of infants and toddlers with disabilities. These systems help States and local agencies identify and serve children with disabilities early in life when interventions can be most effective in improving educational outcomes. In fiscal year 2003, this program will provide support to 57 State agencies and serve approximately 254,500 infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
Special Education National Activities programs support State efforts to provide early intervention services and equal educational opportunity to children with disabilities. The total request for National Activities is $332.3 million, a decrease of $5 million from the 2002 level, which reflects the elimination of funding for one-time projects in 2002.
This program provides competitive grants to help State educational agencies reform and improve their systems for providing educational, early intervention, and transitional services to improve results for children with disabilities. This includes State systems for professional development, technical assistance, and dissemination.
At least 75 percent of the funds provided to each State are reserved for professional development. The remaining funds are used to carry out State strategies for improving educational results, including efforts to hold school districts and schools accountable for the educational progress of children with disabilities, providing high-quality technical assistance to school districts and schools, and changing State policies and procedures to address systemic barriers to improving results for students with disabilities. The $51.7 million request would support approximately 18 new and 30 continuation awards.
Research and Innovation activities develop new knowledge through research, apply knowledge to create useful practices through demonstrations, and make knowledge available through outreach and other dissemination activities. Because the request reflects the elimination of funding for 15 awards that will be made noncompetitively in 2002 based on appropriation earmarks, level funding would provide $8.4 million to support the research agenda of the President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education.
This program provides technical assistance and disseminates materials based on knowledge gained through research and practice. The request includes continued support of an $8 million initiative to provide grants to help States address their technical assistance needs. About $34.6 million would be available for new projects and $18.7 million for continuation awards.
This program helps ensure that there are adequate numbers of personnel with the skills and knowledge of the best practices to help children with disabilities succeed educationally. Program activities focus both on meeting the demand for personnel to serve children with disabilities and on improving the quality of these personnel, with a particular emphasis on incorporating knowledge gained from research and practice into training programs. Funds are used to prepare personnel to serve children with low- and high-incidence disabilities, train leadership personnel, and support projects of national significance, such as developing models for teacher preparation. The request would provide $18.2 million for new awards and $71.0 million for continuation awards.
Parent Information Centers provide parents with the training and information they need to work with professionals in meeting the early intervention and special education needs of their children with disabilities. The request would support new and continuation awards for about 107 centers as well as technical assistance to the centers.
This program supports research, development, and other activities to advance the application of new and emerging technologies in providing special education and early intervention services. Funds are also used for media-related activities such as captioning films and television for individuals with hearing impairments and video description and recording activities for individuals with visual impairments. The reduction proposed for 2003 reflects the elimination of funding for a one-time project and a one-time award supplement in fiscal year 2002.
Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants provide funds to State vocational rehabilitation agencies to help individuals with disabilities become gainfully employed. Funds are distributed on the basis of a formula that takes into account population and per capita income.
A wide range of services is provided each year to about 1.2 million individuals with disabilities, including vocational evaluation, counseling and guidance, work adjustment, diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental impairments, education and vocational training, job placement, and post-employment services. If States are unable to serve all eligible individuals with disabilities who apply, they must give priority to individuals with the most significant disabilities. Services are provided according to an individualized plan for employment. In 2000, the VR program helped over 236,000 individuals with disabilities achieve employment outcomes, with over 86 percent entering the competitive labor market or becoming self-employed. Approximately 87 percent of the individuals who achieved employment have significant disabilities.
The $2.6 billion request, an increase of $134.9 million or 5.4 percent, would help State VR agencies increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in the labor force. The 2003 budget marks the first year of a multi-year, government-wide reform effort that will target resources to programs with documented effectiveness and eliminate funding for ineffective, duplicative, and overlapping job training programs. Consistent with this crosscutting reform, the request consolidates $62.6 million in funding for Supported Employment State Grants, Projects with Industry, and the Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers program into the Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants program. In addition to the funds made available through this consolidation, the budget provides $20 million more than the amount of the CPIU increase ($52.1 million) required under current law to help States improve their employment outcomes. The total also includes $26.8 million for grants to Indian tribes.
As part of the President's initiative to allocate Federal funds based on performance, the request proposes $30 million for a new Vocational Rehabilitation Incentive Grants program. The goal of this proposed program is to improve State performance under the Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants program by making additional awards to State VR agencies based on their performance in helping individuals with disabilities obtain competitive jobs. The program would be current-funded and funds would remain available for obligation to States through September 30, 2004.
This program makes formula grants to States for activities to inform and advise clients of benefits available to them under the Rehabilitation Act and to assist them in their relationships with service providers, including remedies to ensure the protection of their rights under the Act. The request will provide protection and advocacy services to approximately 67,100 individuals with disabilities.
This program makes grants to State and public or other nonprofit agencies and organizations, including institutions of higher education, to help ensure that adequate skilled personnel are available to provide rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities. The requested increase would provide $2 million for an additional 20 Long-Term Training program grants in rehabilitation counseling at the Masters degree level.
Demonstration and Training awards support the development of innovative methods and comprehensive service programs to help individuals with disabilities achieve vocational outcomes. The program awards competitive grants or contracts to State vocational rehabilitation agencies, community rehabilitation programs, Indian tribes or tribal organizations, or other public or nonprofit agencies or organizations, and for-profit organizations. The reduction from the 2002 level reflects the elimination of funding for one-time projects. At the request level, approximately $2.5 million would be available for new awards.
The Administration is proposing to consolidate funding for this program—which helps State vocational rehabilitation agencies and nonprofit organizations provide rehabilitation services to migrant workers with disabilities—into the VR State Grants program. Consistent with the Administration's initiative to reform job training programs and eliminate duplicative and overlapping activities, there is no need for a separate program to provide specialized services to a specific population eligible for and served by the broader VR State Grants program.
This program supports projects that provide recreation and related activities for individuals with disabilities to aid in their employment, mobility, independence, socialization, and community integration. While the Administration strongly supports helping individuals with disabilities become full and active members in society, this program has limited impact and such activities are more appropriately financed by State and local agencies and the private sector.
This program supports systems in each State to protect and advocate for the legal and human rights of individuals with disabilities. These systems pursue legal and administrative remedies to ensure the protection of the rights of individuals with disabilities under Federal law and provide information on and referrals to programs and services for individuals with disabilities. The request will provide protection and advocacy services to approximately 78,900 individuals with disabilities.
The Administration is proposing to consolidate funding for this program into the VR State Grants program because both programs serve the same target populations and VR State Grant funds may be used to support the same activities currently supported through PWI. This proposal is consistent with the Administration's effort to reform Federal job training programs and eliminate duplicative and overlapping activities.
PWI projects help individuals with disabilities obtain employment and advance their careers in the competitive labor market, in part through Business Advisory Councils that participate in project policymaking and provide advice on available jobs and training requirements. In fiscal year 2000, PWI placed about 13,000 individuals with disabilities in competitive employment. Many of these individuals also receive services under the VR State Grants program.
To help PWI projects make the transition from Federal to State and local support, the request includes language specifically authorizing State VR agencies to use State Grant funds to cover fiscal year 2003 continuation costs.
The request consolidates funding for this program into the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) State Grants program, consistent with the Administration's multi-year initiative to reform job training programs and eliminate duplicative and overlapping activities. The Administration recognizes that supported employment can be an effective strategy in assisting individuals with the most significant disabilities to obtain competitive employment. However, the Administration believes that the Supported Employment program has accomplished its goal and there is no longer a need for a separate supplemental source of dedicated funds to ensure that supported employment services are provided. VR agencies regard supported employment as an integral part of the VR program.
These programs provide services to individuals with disabilities to maximize their independence and productivity and to help integrate them into the mainstream of American society. The State Grants program awards formula grants to States to expand and improve independent living services and to support the operation of centers for independent living. The Centers for Independent Living program makes competitive grants to support a network of consumer-controlled, nonresidential, community-based centers that provide a broad range of independent living services. Services for Older Blind Individuals assists individuals aged 55 or older whose severe visual impairment makes competitive employment difficult to obtain, but for whom independent living goals are feasible.
The request includes a $7 million or 11.2 percent increase for Centers for Independent Living to both raise the level of support for existing centers and fund new centers in unserved and underserved areas.
These funds support activities that increase program effectiveness, improve accountability, and enhance the Department's ability to address critical areas of national significance in achieving the purposes of the Rehabilitation Act. The request would continue support for the National Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center as well as on-going performance measurement and dissemination activities.
These funds are used to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of programs authorized by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The request would enable the Department to continue support for two studies to be initiated in 2002, provide technical support for enhancing the VR program standards and indicators, and begin one new study.
This program serves individuals who are deaf-blind, their families, and service providers through a national headquarters Center with a residential training and rehabilitation facility; a network of 10 regional field offices which provide referral, counseling, and technical assistance; and an incentive grant program for public and private agencies that serve individuals with deaf-blindness. At the request level, the Center would provide direct services for approximately 90 clients at its residential training and rehabilitation program; serve 1,400 individuals, 450 families, and 1,000 agencies through its regional field offices; and award 1 new incentive grant.
NIDRR helps improve the lives of persons of all ages with disabilities through a comprehensive and coordinated program of research, demonstration projects, and related activities, including training of persons who provide rehabilitation services or who conduct rehabilitation research. NIDRR awards discretionary grants that support rehabilitation research and training centers, rehabilitation engineering research centers, and disability and rehabilitation research projects that address diverse issues in rehabilitation, including the causes and consequences of disability and ways to improve educational, employment, and independent living opportunities for persons with disabilities. Grants or contracts are also awarded for utilization and dissemination of research results and for training.
The request provides sufficient funds to allow NIDRR to continue to support programs that were part of the President's New Freedom Initiative, including the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERC) program, the Assistive Technology Development Fund, and the Interagency Committee on Disability Research. In recent years, the RERCs have sponsored some of the Nation's most innovative assistive technology research—including work in augmentative and alternative communication, telerehabilitation, and universal design—that has allowed individuals with disabilities to achieve greater independence in all facets of life. Similarly, the Assistive Technology Development Fund helps stimulate technological innovation in the private sector and strengthen the role of small businesses in developing new assistive technologies and bringing them to market. Finally, continued funding for the Interagency Committee on Disability Research would promote greater cooperation across various government agencies in the development and execution of disability and rehabilitation research activities.
The Assistive Technology Act (AT Act) supports grants to States to increase access to and funding for assistive technology devices and services by individuals with disabilities of all ages. Title I of the AT Act authorizes the Assistive Technology State Grant program, protection and advocacy services related to assistive technology, and technical assistance activities. The decrease for Title I reflects the statutory requirements that States are ineligible for funding under the AT State grant program after 13 years of participation and that States are reduced in their ninth and tenth years. Twenty-three States are no longer eligible for funding in fiscal year 2003 and reduced funding would be provided for 1 State in its tenth year.
The request includes $15.2 million for the Alternative Financing Program (AFP) authorized under Title III of the AT Act. This program provide grants to States to establish, enhance, or maintain loan programs for individuals with disabilities to purchase needed assistive technology devices and services. An assistive technology device can dramatically improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and their ability to engage in productive employment, but assistive technologies can be prohibitively expensive and most people with disabilities do not have the private financial resources to purchase the assistive technology they need.
In order to increase State participation in the AFP, the Administration is proposing that fiscal year 2003 AFP funds remain available for two years, that States may request less than the minimum amount of $500,000 specified in the statute, and that States may receive more than one grant. These provisions would allow States to apply in fiscal years 2003 and 2004, and to seek levels of funding based on what the State can match in each year.
This program seeks to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities by providing greater access to computers and other equipment individuals need to work from home if they choose. To accomplish this goal, the Fund will provide Federal matching funds through discretionary grants to States that will finance loans for individuals with disabilities to purchase computers and other equipment so that they can telework from home.
The request includes no additional funding for 2003 because the $20 million appropriated in 2002 is sufficient for the start-up of this new program and, since it is available for obligation through September 30, 2003, is flexible enough to permit obligation over a two-year period in response to State interest.
The American Printing House for the Blind provides special education materials for students who are visually impaired, offers advisory services for consumers, and conducts applied research. At the request level, APH would provide free educational materials to approximately 58,000 persons with visual impairments at an average per student allotment of $186.72, implement 10 initiatives to improve its technical assistance and outreach services, and conduct over 60 research projects.
The National Technical Institute for the Deaf provides postsecondary technical education and training for students who are deaf and graduate education and interpreter training for persons who are deaf or hearing. NTID also conducts research and provides training related to the education and employment of individuals who are deaf. The request would maintain funding for operations at the 2002 level, provide $1.6 million for construction to repave and improve roadways, walkways, and parking lots at NTID, and increase funding for the Endowment Grant program by $414,000. In 2003, NTID would provide education and training to approximately 1,130 undergraduate and technical students, 60 graduate students, and 75 interpreters for persons who are deaf.
Gallaudet University offers undergraduate and continuing education programs for persons who are deaf and graduate programs for persons who are deaf or hearing. Gallaudet also maintains and operates the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School and Model Secondary School for the Deaf. In 2003, the University will serve approximately 1,320 undergraduate and professional studies students, 700 graduate students, and 365 elementary and secondary education students.
For further information contact the ED Budget Service
A: Elementary and Secondary Education
C: Vocational and Adult Education
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