[Federal Register: August 13, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 156)]
[Page 52837-52839]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 52837]]


Part V

Department of Education


National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research; Notice

[[Page 52838]]



National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services 
(OSERS), Department of Education.

ACTION: Request for comments on title III of the Assistive Technology 
Act and the need for rulemaking.


SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary invites written comments on the 
Alternative Financing Mechanisms Program (AFP) under title III of the 
Assistive Technology Act (AT Act) of 1998, which is administered by the 
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). 
We encourage individuals to comment on how well the purpose and 
objectives of title III are being met by the States and suggestions for 
improving the implementation of title III. In particular, we are 
soliciting written comments in order to determine what issues have 
arisen in the implementation of the AFP that could be addressed through 
rulemaking. We are particularly interested in comments related to the 
    (1) Selection criteria for the review of applications and the 
experience and expertise required of the reviewers;
    (2) How words and terms used in title III such as ``cash,'' 
``permanent and separate account,'' ``community-based organization,'' 
``obligation period,'' ``project period,'' ``reporting period'' should 
be interpreted within this authority;
    (3) Data collection, reporting requirements and deadlines;
    (4) The fiscal, administrative, and programmatic responsibilities 
of grantees and community-based organizations, and the scope and nature 
of fiscal control and administrative oversight required for a permanent 
AFP; and
    (5) The ways in which title III may be used by employers to secure 
loans, guarantee loans, and purchase AT devices or services for 
employees with disabilities for whom the employer does not have an 
Americans with Disability Act (ADA) responsibility.
    While we seek comments on any aspect of the implementation of Title 
III, the purpose of this solicitation is to aid us in considering where 
rulemaking may be necessary to clarify and enhance understanding of the 
existing statute in an effort to stimulate States' interest in the 
program and to increase the number of high quality applications. We 
cannot consider for rulemaking comments suggesting statutory changes.

DATES: We would like to receive your written comments on Title III on 
or before September 12, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments to Carol Cohen, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3420, SW., Washington, DC 
20202-2645. Fax: (202) 205-8515. If you prefer to send your comments 
through the Internet, use the following address: carol.cohen@ed.gov.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about these priorities in room 3420, Switzer Building, 330 C 
Street, SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., 
Eastern time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal 

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the 

    On request, we will supply an appropriate aid, such as a reader or 
print magnifier, to an individual with a disability who needs 
assistance to review the comments. If you want to schedule an 
appointment for this type of aid, please contact the person listed 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carol G. Cohen, Telephone: (202) 205-
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the TDD number at (202) 205-4475 or via the Internet: 
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 


Background and Description of Title III of the Assistive Technology 
Act of 1998

    The purpose of the AFP under title III is to maximize independence 
and participation in society by individuals with disabilities by 
assisting them in obtaining AT. The AFP pays a share of the cost of 
establishment or expansion, and administration of programs that offer 
individuals with disabilities, their families and authorized 
representatives funding alternatives to the traditional payment options 
of public assistance and self-financing for AT devices and services. 
Under the AFP, a grantee may implement one or more alternative 
financing mechanisms to allow individuals with disabilities and their 
family members, guardians, advocates, and others to purchase AT devices 
and services.
    NIDRR funded six States under the AFP in FY 2000 and 14 States in 
FY 2001. In FY 2000, NIDRR funded one Technical Assistance project for 
a 24-month period to assist States as they prepare applications for AFP 
grants and to assist recipients of grants to develop and implement the 
new loan programs in their States. Loan programs enhance access to AT 
devices and services in a way that underscores independence and 

The New Freedom Initiative (NFI)

    NIDRR is interested in suggestions for the implementation of Title 
III that will contribute to one or more of the following objectives 
that support the NFI. The NFI is designed to help individuals with 
disabilities by increasing access to assistive technologies, expanding 
educational opportunities, increasing the ability of individuals with 
disabilities to integrate into the workforce, and promoting increased 
access into daily community life.
    Objectives that support the NFI are the following:
     Increasing access to assistive and universally designed 
technologies through alternative financing mechanisms.
     Expanding educational opportunities for individuals with 
disabilities through increased access to AT.
     Integrating individuals with disabilities into the 
workforce through increased availability of AT and purchasing 
     Expanding telecommuting; promoting innovative 
transportation solutions through the provision of an alternative loan 
     Promoting full access to community life through the 
increased acquisition of AT.
     Promoting the successful implementation of the Olmstead 
Decision by virtue of increased access to AT.

Availability of Copies of the NFI

    The NFI can be accessed at the following site: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/freedominitiative/freedominitiative.html.
    Individuals who are unable to access the Internet may obtain copies 
of the NFI by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT. Individuals with disabilities may obtain a copy of 
the NFI in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, 
audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the person listed under 

[[Page 52839]]

Recommended Format for Comments

    We recommend that your written comments be no longer than two 
single-spaced pages. We recommend that your comments include the 
following information:
    (1) A brief background statement on your relationship to or 
interest in the Title III program and description of the problem or 
issue that you are addressing.
    (2) A description of the activities or guidance that could address 
the identified problem or issue.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may review this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: 
    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO access at: http://

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.224C, Alternative 
Financing Program.)
    Program Authority:
    29 U.S.C. 3051-3056.

    Dated: August 8, 2002.
Loretta Chittum,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
[FR Doc. 02-20475 Filed 8-12-02; 8:45 am]