U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans
Inside Budget Summary
and Background Information
Summary of the 2004 Education Budget
Elementary and Secondary Education
Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Vocational and Adult Education
Student Financial Assistance
Higher Education Programs
Institute of Education Sciences
Programs Proposed for Elimination
Departmental Management
Appendix 1
Appendix 2 PDF Icon Excel
Fiscal Year 2004 Education Budget Summary and Background Information
February 3, 2003

Archived  Information

Section II. B.  Special Education and Rehabilitation Services

Overview

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 2004 budget supports the President's New Freedom Initiative to help people with disabilities lead independent lives. Funds are requested for programs that can improve educational, employment, and independent living outcomes for people with disabilities.

The $10.7 billion request for Special Education programs includes support for programs to improve educational and early intervention outcomes for children with disabilities. For the Grants to States program, the President is requesting his third consecutive $1 billion increase, for a total of $9.5 billion. This level of funding would provide an estimated average of $1,426 per student for almost 6.6 million children ages 3 through 21. This is the highest level of Federal support ever provided for children with disabilities. The budget also includes an increase of $10 million for the Grants for Infants and Families program, from $437 million to $447 million, to improve services for children from birth through age 2. Funding for the Preschool Grants program, which supplements Grants to States funding for children ages 3 through 5, would be maintained at the $390 million level requested for 2003.

The $324.6 million request for National Activities would support a variety of research, demonstration, technical assistance, dissemination, training, and other activities that assist States, local educational agencies, parents, and others in improving results for children with disabilities. The budget proposes level funding for each of these activities, with the exception of the State Improvement program, which would be reduced from $51.7 million to $44 million.

For Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research, the budget provides $3.0 billion to support comprehensive and coordinated programs of vocational rehabilitation and independent living for individuals with disabilities through research, training, demonstration, technical assistance, evaluation, and direct service programs. The request includes $2.7 billion for Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants to help 243,000 individuals with disabilities obtain, retain, or maintain employment. The 2004 request assumes enactment of the 2003 proposal to consolidate overlapping employment and training programs in this account within the Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants program, and would maintain funding for most other discretionary programs at the 2003 request level. One exception is a $7 million increase for the Demonstration and Training program to support Transition Mentoring Grants, which would use peer mentors with disabilities who have succeeded educationally or professionally to improve transition services to students with disabilities served by the VR State Grant program.

The request would not provide additional funding for programs authorized under the Assistive Technology (AT) Act. Funding for the Title I AT State grant program and its accompanying technical assistance program would be eliminated, $2.7 million for Title I protection and advocacy activities would be shifted to the Protection and Advocacy for Individual Rights program, and additional requests for the Title III Alternative Financing program and its technical assistance program would be postponed until current multi-year funds are spent and future funding needs are determined.

Special Education State Grants

Grants to States

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $7,528.5 $8,528.5 $9,528.5
 
Children ages 3 through 21
Number served (in thousands)
6,483 6,580 6,672

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 $1,426 for nearly 6.6 million children with disabilities. At this level of funding, the Federal contribution would equal about 19 percent of the national average per pupil expenditure for all children. The budget also would provide $16 million for studies to assess progress in implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Preschool Grants

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $390.0 $390.0 $390.0

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 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 $602 per child for approximately 648,200 children.

Grants for Infants and Families

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $417.0 $437.0 $447.0

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 $10 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. The budget provides support to 57 State agencies serving approximately 272,800 infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.

Special Education National Activities

Special Education National Activities programs support State efforts to improve early intervention services and educational results for children with disabilities. The total request for National Activities is $324.6 million.

State Improvement

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $51.7 $51.7 $44.0

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 $44 million request would support approximately 42 continuation awards.

Research and Innovation

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $78.4 $78.4 $78.4

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. The request includes about $17.3 million for new projects and $60.2 million for continuations.

Technical Assistance and Dissemination

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $53.5 $53.5 $53.5

This program provides technical assistance and disseminates materials based on knowledge gained through research and practice. The request includes continued support for a $7.0 million initiative to provide grants to help States address their technical assistance needs. About $7.7 million would be available for new projects and $45.8 million for continuation awards.

Personnel Preparation

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $90.0 $90.0 $90.0

This program helps ensure that there are adequate numbers of personnel with the skills and knowledge necessary to help children with disabilities succeed educationally. Program activities focus on both meeting the demand for personnel to serve children with disabilities and improving the quality of these personnel, with 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 $13.8 million for new awards and $75.3 million for continuation awards.

Parent Information Centers

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $26.0 $26.0 $26.0

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 99 centers as well as technical assistance to the centers.

Technology and Media Services

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $37.7 $32.7 $32.7

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 activities related to providing accessibility to textbooks for individuals with visual impairments.

Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) State Grants

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $2,481.4 $2,616.3 $2.668.7

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 2001, the VR program helped over 233,000 individuals with disabilities achieve employment outcomes, with over 87.6 percent entering the competitive labor market or becoming self-employed. Approximately 87 percent of the individuals who achieved employment have significant disabilities.

The $2.7 billion request, an increase of $52.3 million or 2.0 percent, would help State VR agencies increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in the labor force. With the fiscal year 2003 budget, the Administration launched a wide-ranging reform of the Federal government 's overlapping training and employment programs. The multi-year reform effort targets resources to programs with documented effectiveness, and eliminates funding for ineffective, duplicative, and overlapping programs. Consistent with this crosscutting reform, the 2003 President's budget request consolidated funding for three secondary vocational rehabilitation programs in this account (Supported Employment State Grants, Projects with Industry (PWI), and the Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers program) within the Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants program. The 2004 request assumes enactment of the proposed consolidation. The total also includes $27.6 million for grants to Indian tribes.

Vocational Rehabilitation Incentive Grants

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $30.0

The 2003 President's request proposed $30 million for a new Vocational Rehabilitation Incentive Grants program to improve State performance under the Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants program. The Administration is not requesting additional funds for VR Incentive Grants in fiscal year 2004. The funds requested in fiscal year 2003 for this new program would be available for grants to States through September 30, 2004. This level of funding is sufficient for the start-up of this new program and will provide the Department with the flexibility to obligate funds over the two-year period in response to State interest.

Client Assistance State Grants

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $11.9 $11.9 $11.9

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 advocacy services to approximately 56,800 individuals with disabilities.

Training

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $39.6 $42.6 $42.6

This program makes grants to State and public or other nonprofit agencies and organizations, including institutions of higher education, to help ensure that personnel with adequate skills are available to provide rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities. The request would provide $34.6 million to continue activities that began in previous fiscal years and $7.1 million for new awards.

Demonstration and Training Programs

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $21.2 $17.5 $24.5

Demonstration and Training programs support projects that expand and improve the provision of rehabilitation and other services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act, or that further the purposes and policies of the Act. The program also supports activities that increase the provision, extent, availability, scope, and quality of rehabilitation services under the Act, including related research and evaluation activities. The request includes $7 million in new funding for transition mentoring projects that would enhance the capacity of State VR agencies to support transitioning students in pursuing careers that offer quality employment consistent with their abilities, interests, and informed choice.

Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $15.2 $15.2 $17.9

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 $2.7 million increase for 2004 would help offset the elimination of funding for the Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology program previously funded under Title I of the Assistive Technology Act (AT Act), since similar services may be provided under the PAIR program.

Independent Living
(B.A. in millions)

  2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
Independent Living State Grants $22.3 $22.3 $22.3
Centers for Independent Living 62.5 69.5 69.5
Services for Older Blind Individuals 25.0 25.0 25.0
Total
109.8

116.8

116.8

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. At the requested level, program funds would support services to clients directly through 349 Centers for Independent Living and support State efforts through grants to 81 designated state units under the State Grants program and 56 grantees under the Services for Older Blind Individuals program.

Program Improvement

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $0.9 $0.9 $0.9

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.

Evaluation

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $1.0 $1.0 $1.0

These funds are used to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of programs authorized by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The request would enable the Department to continue support for two studies initiated in previous years, provide technical support for enhancing the VR program standards and indicators, and begin one new study.

Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $8.7 $8.7 $8.7

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 that 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 adult clients and 12 high school students 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.

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $110.0 $110.0 $110.0

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.

Assistive Technology
(B.A. in millions)

  2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
Title I $24.3 $15.7
Title III 36.6 15.2
Total
60.9

30.9

The Assistive Technology Act (AT Act) supports grants to States to increase access to and funding for assistive technology devices and services for individuals with disabilities of all ages. Title I of the AT Act authorizes the Assistive Technology State Grant program, protection and advocacy (P&A) services related to assistive technology, and technical assistance activities. Title III of the AT Act authorizes the Alternative Financing Program (AFP). The Administration's request would eliminate funding for Title I because the program has achieved its primary purpose. The 2003 request for the AT State Grant program will have funded all States for at least 10 years and 31 States for at least 13 years. P&A services for assistive technology are authorized and can be provided by the P&A systems funded through the Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights program.

The 2004 request does not include additional funding for the Title III AFP program, but the Administration will consider future funding needs, possibly in 2005, when available funds have been expended and many more States are operating AFPs.

Access to Telework Fund

 2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
B.A. in millions $20.0

This New Freedom Initiative 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. Additional funds are not requested in fiscal year 2004 because the $20 million appropriated in fiscal year 2002, and available through fiscal year 2003, has not yet been expended.

Special Institutions for Persons with Disabilities
(B.A. in millions)

  2002 2003
Request
2004
Request
 
American Printing House
  for the Blind (APH)
$14.0 $14.0 $14.0
National Technical Institute
  for the Deaf (NTID)
55.4 52.0 50.8
Gallaudet University 96.9 94.4 94.4
Total
166.3

160.5

159.2

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 58,500 persons with visual impairments at an average per student allotment of $185.13, implement a number of initiatives to improve its technical assistance and outreach services, and conduct a wide variety of continuing and new 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 provide $49.4 million for operations, $367,000 for construction projects to upgrade academic and dormitory facilities, and $1 million for the Endowment Grant program. In 2004, NTID would provide education and training to approximately 1,080 undergraduate and technical students, 75 graduate students, and 100 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. The request includes $93.4 million for operations and $1 million for the Endowment Grant program. Gallaudet also maintains and operates the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School and Model Secondary School for the Deaf. In 2004, the University would serve approximately 1,320 undergraduate and professional studies students, 700 graduate students, and 365 elementary and secondary education students.

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