A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Biennial Evaluation Report - FY 93-94

Chapter 204

Emergency Immigrant Education Program

(CFDA No. 84.162)

I. Program Profile

Legislation: The Emergency Immigrant Education Act (EIEA), (Title IV, Part D of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act), as amended, (20 U.S.C. 3121-3130) (expires September 30, 1999).

Purpose: To assist State education agencies (SEAs) and local education agencies (LEAs) in providing supplementary educational services and offsetting costs for immigrant children enrolled in elementary and secondary public and nonpublic schools. The eligible recipients are the States, which then distribute the funds to LEAs within the State according to the number of immigrant children.

Funding History

Fiscal Year Appropriation Fiscal Year Appropriation
1984 $30,000,000 1990 30,144,000
1985 30,000,000 1991 29,276,619
1986 28,710,000 1992 30,000,000
1987 30,000,000 1993 29,462,000
1988 29,969,001 1 1994 38,992,000
1989 29,640,000
1Includes a $1,247,000 reappropriation to the State Texas.

II. Program Information and Analysis

Population Targeting

Children eligible for the Emergency Immigrant Education program are defined by the statute as "children who were not born in any State and who have been attending schools in one or more States for less than three complete academic years." Eligible children are often limited English proficient (LEP). Twenty percent of the LEP students in the U.S. have been here for less than a year, and 36 percent have lived in the U.S. for one to four years. Approximately 15 percent of LEP students in general have missed more than 2 years of schooling since age 6.

An SEA may apply (1) if there are 500 eligible children in any LEA in the State; or (2) if eligible children constitute 3 percent of enrollment in one or more LEAs in the State. The count of eligible children may be taken at any time in the school year; proper documentation of legal immigrant status is not required to establish a child's eligibility for the program (III.1).

In FY 1993, the program served 825,968 immigrant students in 34 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico (III.1). Immigrant students come from over 160 countries and differ widely in their educational background and English language proficiency. The number of students served by EIEA has grown from 348,287 in 1984 to 825,968 in FY 1993, an increase of 137 percent.

With the exception of the Chapter 1 program, less than one-third of the EIEA students participated in other applicable federally funded education programs, including the Transition Program for Refugee Children, Bilingual Education Act (Title VII) programs, Chapter 1 - Migrant Education Program, and the State Legalization Impact Assistance Grants Program. Up to 66 percent of EIEA students may have participated in Chapter 1.

In October 1993, the Department issued New Land, New Knowledge: An Evaluation of Two Education Programs Serving Refugee and Immigrant Students, a comprehensive nationwide evaluation of the Emergency Immigrant Education Act program and the Transition Program for Refugee Children (III.5.). The evaluation found that:


The Emergency Immigrant Education program makes grants to SEAs and LEAs to provide supplementary educational services (including, but not limited to, English language instruction, other bilingual educational services, and special materials and supplies); to provide in-service training; and to offset the costs of "additional basic instructional services that are directly attributable to the presence of eligible children" (i.e., supplies, overhead costs, construction costs, acquisition or rental of space) (III.3).

A strength of this program is its flexibility in providing support for instructional activities and materials not available from other sources. This supports a wide variety of process outcomes (from hiring classroom aides to purchasing instructional materials, to field trips to help students become familiar with their new country, to providing support for construction of education facilities) which can contribute to student education outcomes.

In March of 1991, the General Accounting Office released a comprehensive, nationwide study of the Emergency Immigrant Education Act program (III.4). The study found the following:

Program Administration

Over the past 2 years, a number of procedural changes have been made to improve the administration of this program. This includes verification of the number of eligible immigrant children when large changes are noted between the two program years, and ensuring compliance with EIEA statue and regulations. In 1990, seven SEAs were contacted concerning increases in their reported populations; in each case the increases were confirmed. Section 4406 (b)(3) of the EIEA requires reduction of a State's grant by the amount that the State receives under another Federal program for the same purpose. The only program that currently triggers the reduction requirement is the Targeted Assistance Program for refugee resettlement administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Districts and States vary in procedures used for counting students, resulting in a variation in the quality of data. Although LEAs conduct their count of eligible students in March, they are not given formal notification of participation and their grant amount until November. LEAs find budgeting difficult due to this uncertainty. In addition, grant payments often arrive after the start of the school year.


According to the Descriptive Study of Services to Limited English Proficient Students (III.6.):

Management Improvement Strategies

In 1989, the Department of Education proposed statutory language to add a "supplement, not supplant" provision to the Emergency Immigrant Education program in order to ensure that these funds are used for services needed by immigrant children rather than for basic operating expenses of school districts.

The Department has proposed legislation for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that would replace the EIEA with a new discretionary grant authority in Title VII designed to address the needs for assistance of LEAs experiencing increases in the number of immigrant students. These would be two-year grants to LEAs which have at least 1,000 immigrant students or in which immigrants are 10 percent of total enrollment. LEAs may use funds to provide education and enrichment for immigrant students, including efforts to increase parent involvement. In addition, performance indicators are being developed for this program.

III. Sources of Information

  1. Program files.

  2. J.S. Passel, "Immigration to the United States," (text of speech) (Washington, DC: Bureau of the Census, August 1986).

  3. Distribution of State-Administered Federal Education Funds: Fourteenth Annual Report, (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, 1990).

  4. Information on the Emergency Immigrant Education Act Program, A Report to Congress (Washington, DC: U.S. General Accounting Office, 1991).

  5. New Land, New Knowledge: An Evaluation of Two Education Programs Serving Refugee and Immigrant Students, Final Report. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, 1993)

  6. Descriptive Study of Services to Limited English Proficient Students, Vol. 1. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, 1993).

  7. Biennial Report to Congress on the Emergency Immigrant Education Program. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, June 29, 1992).

    IV. Planned Studies


    V. Contacts for Further Information

    Program Operations:
    Harpreet Sandhu, (202) 205-9808
    Program Studies:
    Jeffery Rodamar, (202) 401-1958

    [Bilingual Education Programs--Training and Technical Assistance--Part C] [Table of Contents] [Aid to States for Education of Handicapped Children in State-Operated and State-Supported Schools (Chapter 1, ESEA)]