Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Summary February 2, 2004
Section II. 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 2005 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 $12.2 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 fourth consecutive $1 billion increase, for a total of $11.1 billion. If enacted, the request would result in an overall increase of $4.7 billion, or 75 percent, for Grants to States under President Bush, and would provide an estimated average of $1,612 per student for about 6.9 million children ages 3 through 21the highest level of Federal support ever provided for children with disabilities. The budget also includes an increase of $22.2 million for the Grants for Infants and Families program, from $444.4 million to $466.6 million, to improve outcomes and 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 2004 level of $388 million.
The $253.7 million request for National Activities would support a variety of 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 Technology and Mmedia Services program, which would be reduced from $39.1 million to $32.3 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 (VR) State Grants to help more than 222,000 individuals with disabilities obtain or maintain employment. The 2005 request would 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 2004 level. An exception is a $512,000 increase for the Evaluation program in order to initiate a new longitudinal study of the VR State Grants program.
The President's New Freedom Initiative aims to tear down the barriers to equality that million of Americans with disabilities face in the workplace, schools, and the community. Increased access to assistive technology can dramatically improve the quality of life for such individuals, as well as their ability to engage in productive work. However, assistive technology can be prohibitively expensive. The Alternative Financing Program (AFP), authorized under the Assistive Technology Act, provides grants to States to pay for the Federal share of loan programs that help individuals with disabilities purchase assistive technology devices and services. The request includes $15 million to increase access to assistive technology for individual with disabilities by helping States initiate or expand alternative financing programs. Currently 31 States participate in the Alternative Financing Program, and the request would fund as many as 15 additional awards to new or existing grantees.
The Grants to States program, which is authorized under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 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. In each of his first three years, President Bush requested $1 billion increases for the Grants to States programthe largest increases ever requested by a President. This year, the budget would provide another $1 billion increase to help States and localities educate children with disabilities, for a total of $11.1 billion. If enacted, the request would result in a five-year increase for Grants to States of $6.1 billion, or 122 percent, and an increase of $4.7 billion, or 75 percent, since the President entered office.
The request would provide an average of $1,612 for about 6.9 million children with disabilities. At this level of funding, the Federal contribution would equal about 20 percent of the national average per pupil expenditure for all children. It is about twice as expensive to educate a child with a disability as a child who does not have a disability.
Under IDEA, States are required to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to all children with disabilities. Services are provided in accordance with individualized education programs (IEPs) that are developed by teams of individuals that include the child's parents; a special educator; a representative of the local educational agency; a regular educator, if appropriate; and others. In addition, services must be providedto the maximum extent appropriatein the least restrictive environments. For most children this means in classes with children who are not disabled. Under IDEA, children with disabilities must be included in general State and district-wide assessments, including the assessments required under the No Child Left Behind Act. States must provide appropriate accommodations, where necessary, to enable children with disabilities to participate in these assessments, or alternate assessments for those children who cannot participate in regular assessments.
The request also includes $16 million that would be reserved for studies and evaluations to assess progress in implementing the IDEA.
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 an estimated $565 per child for approximately 685,900 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 $22.2 million increase would assist States in meeting the rising costs of administering their systems and serving larger numbers of infants and toddlers with disabilities and in their efforts to develop systems for collecting data on child outcomes. This program helps State and local agencies identify and serve children with disabilities early in life when interventions can be most effective in improving educational outcomes. The budget request will provide support to 57 State agencies serving approximately 313,000 infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
Special Education National Activities programs support State efforts to improve early intervention and educational results for children with disabilities. The total request for National Activities is $253.7 million.
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 $51.1 million request would support approximately 51 awards.
This program provides technical assistance and disseminates materials based on knowledge gained through research and practice. The request includes $7.7 million to continue support for an initiative to provide grants to help States address their technical assistance needs. About $10.8 million would be available for new projects and $41.9 million for continuation awards.
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 qualifications 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 $22.1 million for new awards and $68.3 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 101 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 activities related to improving accessibility to textbooks for individuals with visual impairments.
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 over 1 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 2002, the VR program helped over 222,000 individuals with disabilities achieve employment outcomes, with over 90 percent entering the competitive labor market or becoming self-employed. Approximately 89 percent of the individuals who achieved employment have significant disabilities.
The $2.7 billion request, an increase of $113.5 million or 4.4 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 requestAdministration is renewing its proposal to consolidate funding 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 total request also includes $32 million for grants to Indian tribes.
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 63,500 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 personnel with adequate skills are available to provide rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities. The request would provide $25.7 million to continue grant activities that began in previous fiscal years and $12.4 million for new grant awards.
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 would provide $11.9 million to continue grant activities that began in previous fiscal years and $6.2 million for new grant awards.
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 $2.8 million increase for 2005 would help offset the elimination of funding for the Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology program previously funded under the Assistive Technology program, since similar services may be provided under the PAIR 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. At the requested level, program funds would directly support 320 Centers for Independent Living, 787 designated Sstate units under the State Grants program, and 56 grantees under the Services for Older Blind Individuals program.
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. The requested increase would enable the Department to initiate a new longitudinal study of the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program and continue support for two studies launched with fiscal year 2004 funds.
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 and a network of 10 regional offices that provide referral, counseling, and technical assistance. At the request level, the Center would provide direct services for approximately 95 adult clients, 12 high school students, and 10 senior citizens at its residential training and rehabilitation program and serve 1,700 individuals, 450 families, and 1,050 agencies through its regional offices.
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 integral to 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 innovative assistive technology researchincluding work in augmentative and alternative communication, tele-rehabilitation, and universal designthat has helped individuals with disabilities to achieve greater independence. 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 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 request does not include funds for the AT State grant program and its accompanying technical assistance program, and proposes to shift funding for the AT Act's protection and advocacy activities to the Protection and Advocacy for Individual Rights (PAIR) program, authorized under Title V of the Rehabilitation Act. The request for the PAIR program includes $2.780 million to help offset the funding for the P&A services previously provided by the AT Act.
The 2005 request includes $15 million for the Alternative Financing Program under Title III of the AT Act to increase access to assistive technology for individuals with disabilities. Currently, 31 States have received funding under the AFP. The 2005 request could support as many as 15 additional States, raising the total number to 45. Data on loan activity from the 16 States operating programs in fiscal year 2001 show that 942 applications for loans were received, 537 individuals received loans, the median loan amount was $4,871, and the total amount loaned was over $5.8 million.
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 57,500 persons with visual impairments at an average per student allotment of $212.23, continue funding for 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 $53.1 million for operations, including funds for the Endowment Grant program, and $685,000 to support part of the cost of construction projects to renovate the NTID theater and construct a new student development center. In 2005, NTID would provide education and training to approximately 1,080 undergraduate and technical students, 90 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 provides $100.2 million for operations, including funds for the Endowment Grant program. Gallaudet also maintains and operates the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School and Model Secondary School for the Deaf. In 2005, the University would serve approximately 1,320 undergraduate and professional studies students, 650 graduate students, and 365 elementary and secondary education students.
For further information contact the ED Budget Service.
This page last modifiedFebruary 2, 2004 (mjj).