Laws & Guidance SPECIAL EDUCATION & REHABILITATIVE SERVICES
OSEP Policy Documents Regarding the Education of Infants, Toddlers, Children and Youth with Disabilities

FREE APPROPRIATE PUBLIC EDUCATION

Disclaimer: Letters issued prior to Dec. 3, 2004, may not be consistent with the IDEA, as revised by P.L. 108-446. Letters issued prior to Aug. 14, 2006 may not be consistent with the final regulations for Part B published on that date at 71 Federal Register 46540. Readers are advised to consult with the current statute and final regulations.

Section 607 Reports as published in the Federal Register.

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Redacted Letter
June 14, 2007
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter clarifying that the same requirements in Part B of IDEA governing personnel qualifications and access to instructional materials that apply to special education and related services provided pursuant to a student's individualized education program (IEP) in a regular school program apply to special education and related services provided pursuant to a student's IEP as compensatory services.
download files MS Word (44K) | PDF (162K)

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Letter to Mr. Mark Covall
December 22, 2006
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter regarding the obligation to ensure that a free appropriate public education is available to children with disabilities who are placed by a non- educational public agency in a public or private residential program and clarifying that determining the specific school district or local educational agency responsible for the cost of that placement is a matter of state law, policy or practice.
download files MS Word (44K) | PDF (162K)

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Letter to State Directors of Special Education
March 17, 2005
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter regarding the responsibilities under Part B of IDEA of State and local educational agencies and other public agencies in providing for the education of children with disabilities placed in or referred to private residential programs.
download files MS Word (27K) | PDF (81K)

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Letter to Mr. Louis H. Geigerman
November 3, 2004
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter regarding the provision of physical therapy and occupational therapy as a related service for students with disabilities under Part B of IDEA.
download files MS Word (34K) | PDF (109K)

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Redacted letter
January 28, 2004
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter clarifying that the IDEA does not require that private schools provide special education and related services that meet the needs of all students with disabilities, and it does not require that states certify all private schools to provide services to all students.
download files MS Word (32K) | PDF (115K)

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Letter to Chief State School Officers
August 28, 2003
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter regarding implementation of the Title I choice and supplemental educational services provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).
download files HTML (94K)

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Letter to Ms. Beth Davis-Wellington
August 19, 2003
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter regarding: (1) The role of the individualized education program (IEP) team in implementing the state's policy for retention or promotion of students with disabilities, (2) the establishment of proficiency standards for a regular high school diploma as they relate to children with disabilities and the IDEA requirements; and (3) the timing of initial evaluations for students with disabilities.
download files MS Word (31K) | PDF (124K)

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Redacted letter
June 27, 2003
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter clarifying whether federal funds provided under the IDEA can be used to pay tuition at public or private state-approved special education programs designed to offer parents alternate state-approved school placement options.
download files MS Word (30K) | PDF (220K)

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Letter to Chief State School Officers
October 22, 2002
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter regarding implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act and the importance of identifying schools in need of improvement to ensure that every child learns.
download files HTML (94K)

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Letter to Beth L. Sims, Esq.
October 9, 2002
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter clarifying that the IDEA, as amended, and its implementing regulations do not obligate a school district receiving a special education student from another State to accept the evaluation results, eligibility determinations, and individualized education program (IEP) decisions made in another State, but do obligate a local educational agency (LEA) to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE), in accordance with State education standards, to all eligible students.
download files MS Word (44K) | PDF (194K)

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Dear Colleague letter
June 14, 2002
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter regarding preliminary guidance for programs which must be implemented by the 2002-2003 school year on public school choice, supplemental education services, and collective bargaining agreements under the provisions of the NCLB Act.
download files HTML (94K)

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Letter to Ms. Shann Goff
May 10, 2002
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter regarding Florida's obligation under federal civil rights laws to ensure that its Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities is administered in a nondiscriminatory manner.
download files MS Word (94K) | PDF (194K)

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Redacted letter
February 12, 2002
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter clarifying that decisions regarding the provision of services that are appropriate for an individual child must be based on the child's unique needs and not on the disability category in which the child is classified.
download files MS Word (52K) | PDF (121K)

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Letter to Mr. R. David Cousineau and Mr. David L. Halbett
July 5, 2001
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter regarding the child find, educational, and financial responsibilities under the IDEA for children with disabilities placed in psychiatric residential treatment programs.
download files MS Word (33K) | PDF (178K)

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Redacted letter
May 18, 2001
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter regarding the inability of complaint mechanisms under the IDEA to assist individuals who are well over the age limit in Part B to receive special education service.
download files MS Word (20K) | PDF (46K)

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Letter to John W. Bowen
March 30, 2001
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter regarding application of the requirements of the IDEA and of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to Florida's Opportunity Scholarship Program legislation.
download files MS Word (53K) | PDF (199K)

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Redacted letter
March 1, 2001
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter regarding the extension of compensatory education services beyond age 21 awarded in settlement of litigation, the complaint mechanisms available under the IDEA, and the roles of federal and state agencies that provide educational services.
download files MS Word (45K) | PDF (146K)

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Redacted letter
January 19, 2001
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
Letter regarding the obligation of States and local school districts to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) and opportunities for parent participation in a child's evaluation, eligibility, and educational placement.
download files MS Word (39K) | PDF (119K)

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Letter to Dr. Gordon M. Riffel
August 22, 2000
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
Letter regarding the availability of compensatory education services after the right to FAPE has terminated.
download files MS Word (57K) | PDF (227K)

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Letter to Andrea H. Farbman
Topic: Free Appropriate Public Education
June 9, 2000
Letter regarding the provision of music therapy as a related service for students with disabilities.
download files MS Word (57K) | PDF (227K)

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Letter to Susan Cano
May 17, 2000
Topic: Provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education to Children With Disabilities Below Age 3
Letter clarifying that when a child below age three receives FAPE, states must comply with the requirements of: (1) Both Parts B and C of IDEA when Part B funds are used, and (2) with Part C even if no IDEA Part B or C funds are used for that child as long as the state receives any Part C funds.
download files MS Word (57K) | PDF (227K)

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Last Modified: 02/19/2008