Including OSEP Letters, Memos, Dear Colleague Letters, and FAQs
Policy Support Documents
OSEP issues broader written guidance in the form of memos, Dear Colleague Letters, or frequently asked questions (FAQ) documents, as determined appropriate, based on:
- Information gathered through OSEP's oversight of implementation of the IDEA by state educational agencies and Part C lead agencies.
- Stakeholder-identified needs for clarification of the IDEA's provisions.
- Needs identified due to new statutory or regulatory provisions or court cases.
These OSEP policy memos, Dear Colleague Letters and FAQs are listed below in chronological order starting from the most recent issuance and going back to 2005. To request a copy of a document issued prior to 2005, please contact Lisa.Pagano@ed.gov.
Note: OSEP policy memos related to grant applications, submission of State Performance Plans (SPP) and Annual Performance Reports (APR) or reporting of IDEA State-Reported data under Section 618 of the IDEA are not included on this page as they are found on the two above links.
OSEP Memo to States Regarding the Cap on the Percentage of Students Who May Be Assessed with an Alternate Assessment
Memo to states regarding the requirements to request a waiver from the one percent cap on the percentage of students who may be assessed with an alternate assessment aligned with Alternate Academic Achievement Standards.
Aug. 27, 2018
Questions and Answers on U. S. Supreme Court Case Decision Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Re-1
On March 22, 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Re-1, 137 S. Ct. 988. In that case, the Court interpreted the scope of the free appropriate public education (FAPE) requirements in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This Q&A provides parents and other stakeholders information on the issues addressed in Endrew F. and the impact of the Court's decision on the implementation of the IDEA
Dec. 7, 2017
OSEP Memo 17-05: Eligibility Determinations for Children Suspected of Having a Visual Impairment Including Blindness under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
May 22, 2017
OSEP Letter to TASH
April 18, 2017 letter addresses questions regarding OSEP's 84.325K grant priority: Interdisciplinary Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services for Personnel Serving Children with Disabilities Who Have High-Intensity Needs.
Significant Disproportionality (Equity in IDEA) Essential Questions and Answers and a Model State Timeline
These resources are a follow-up to the Equity in IDEA final regulation, which was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 19, 2016, and became effective on Jan. 18, 2017. The Q&A is a guidance document that includes questions and answers on the rule, including the standard methodology; remedies; effective and compliance dates; and a glossary of terms. It is intended to be used as a resource for states as they begin engaging with stakeholders around the implementation of the final rule. The Model State Timeline outlines the different streams of work and the timelines that states should consider as they implement the new rule.
March 31, 2017
Essential Questions and Answers
Model State Timeline
Updated Dear Colleague Letter on Preschool Least Restrictive Environments.
Provides updated guidance on preschool least restrictive environments (LRE) and addresses: key statutory and regulatory requirements; preschool placement options; reporting educational environments data for preschool children with disabilities; and the use of IDEA Part B funds for preschool children with disabilities.
January 9, 2017
Dear Colleage Letter with the Office for Civil Rights on Charter Schools
Students with disabilities who are enrolled in public charter schools, like students with disabilities enrolled in other public elementary or secondary schools, have important rights under two Federal laws, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Similarly, students with disabilities who seek to enroll in public charter schools or traditional public schools have important rights secured by these two laws.
December 28, 2016
Frequently Asked Questions about the Rights of Students with Disabilities in Public Charter Schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
This guidance provides charter schools, states, state educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), other public agencies, parents, and other stakeholders with information regarding the rights of children with disabilities attending charter schools and their parents under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
December 27, 2016
FAQ on Early Childhood Privacy and Confidentiality
The purpose of this FAQ is to assist early childhood programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) with addressing privacy and confidentiality questions. This document is intended to provide responses to frequently asked questions to facilitate and enhance states' implementation of IDEA privacy and confidentiality provisions and can be used in conjunction with the 2014 side-by-side guide of the IDEA and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Confidentiality Provisions.
October 20, 2016
Know Your Rights in Charter Schools
This document is designed to help parents, students, and the charter school community better understand the rights of students with disabilities under Federal disability-related laws.
August 1, 2016
IEP Translation—Communication from OSEP
Communication from OSEP regarding the Government's Statement of Interest in R. v. The School District Philadelphia addressing the translation of Individualized Education Program (IEP)s pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974.
June 14, 2016
Statement of Interest (PDF, 190KB)
OSEP Dear Colleague Letter Regarding Education of Children with Disabilities Attending Public Virtual Schools
Addresses the requirement for state educational agencies and local educational agencies to ensure the provision of a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities attending public virtual schools. The guidance focuses on specific requirements in IDEA for public virtual schools.
August 5, 2016
OSEP Dear Colleague Letter on Supporting Behavior of Students with Disabilities
Emphasizes the requirement that schools provide positive behavioral supports to students with disabilities who need them. It also clarifies that the repeated use of disciplinary actions may suggest that children with disabilities may not be receiving appropriate behavioral interventions and supports.
August 1, 2016
A Summary for Stakeholders:
OSEP Memo 16-07—Response to Intervention (RTI) and Preschool Services
April 29, 2016
OSEP Dear Colleague Letter on Children with Disabilities Residing in Nursing Homes
Addresses the responsibilities of states, school districts, and other public agencies in addressing the special educational needs of children with disabilities who reside in nursing homes.
April 26, 2016
OSEP Dear Colleague Letter on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for Students with Disabilities in Correctional Facilities
Clarifying state and public agency obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to ensure the provision of a free and appropriate public education to eligible students with disabilities in correctional facilities.
December 5, 2015
OSEP Dear Colleague Letter on Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
Clarifies that individualized education programs (IEP) for children with disabilities must be aligned with state academic content standards for the grade in which a child is enrolled.
November 16, 2015
OSEP Dear Colleague Letter on Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) / Individual Education Program (IEP) Terms.
A policy guidance to clarify that there is nothing in the IDEA that would prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in IDEA evaluation, eligibility determinations or IEP documents.
October 23, 2015
OSEP Dear Colleague Letter to SEAs Regarding Oversight of Federal Funds to Charter Schools
A Dear Colleague Letter to state educational agencies (SEAs) that offers guidance and federal resources on appropriate and effective oversight of public charter schools.
September 28, 2015
OSEP Memo 15-10 Local Educational Agency (LEA) Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Questions and Answers
July 27, 2015
OSEP Dear Colleague Letter on Speech and Language Services for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
July 6, 2015
OSEP Memo 15-08 Letter to Delisle: Children with Disabilities with High Cognition
April 17, 2015
OSEP Dear Colleague Letter on Use of Due Process Procedures After a Parent Has Filed a State Complaint
April 15, 2015.
OSEP Letter to Chief State School Officers (CSSO) on School Lunch Program
June 11, 2014
OSEP's policy letters provide written guidance and clarification regarding implementation of the IDEA. OSEP typically issues these letters in response to specific questions raised by parents, educators, representatives of advocacy organizations, state educational agencies, early intervention programs and their providers, and other interested parties. These OSEP policy letters are listed below in chronological order starting from the most recent issuance and going back to 2001. To request a copy of a document issued prior to 2001, please contact Lisa.Pagano@ed.gov.
January 29, 2019 Letter to Duncan
TOPIC: Students with Disabilities in Correctional Facilities
January 29, 2019 Letter to Wayne
TOPIC: Children with Disabilities Placed in Private Schools by their Parents
September 8, 2017 to Brian Radziwill
TOPIC: Children with Disabilities Placed in Private Schools by their Parents
February 27, 2017 to Anonymous
TOPIC: Individualized Education Programs—Postsecondary Goals
February 27, 2017 to Patrick Zacchini
TOPIC: Confidentiality of Education Records (Destruction of Information)
January 18, 2017 to Lisa Pugh
TOPIC: Individualized Education Programs (Progress Reporting)
August 23, 2016 to Martha Goodman
TOPIC: Children with Disabilities Placed in Private Schools by their Parents and Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS)
Attachments provided to OSEP from the Office of General Council (OGC):
G.L.; Mr. G.L., Mrs. E.L., in their own right v. Ligonier Valley School District Authority, Appellant
G.L., Mr. G.L., Mrs. E.L. v. Ligonier Valley School District Authority, No. 14-1387, Amicus Curiae Letter Brief
July 6, 2015 to Edward Sarzynski
TOPIC: Parentally Placed Private School Children with Disabilities
May 19, 2015 to Heather S. Deaton
TOPIC: State Identification and Correction of Noncompliance
February 9, 2011 to Infant and Toddler Coordinators Association President Brad Hutton and National Association of State Directors of Special Education Director Bill East
TOPIC: Early Childhood Transition
MS Word (53KB) | PDF (1.8MB)
Section 607 Reports
Section 607 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act amendments of 1997 requires that the Secretary of Education, on a quarterly basis, publish in the Federal Register a list of correspondence. This listing includes quarterly reports published from 4th Quarter 2000. These letters are indexed in the Section 607 Reports.
Topic Index of OSEP Policy Documents
OSEP also maintains a Topic Index of OSEP policy documents.