The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) provides leadership and financial support to assist states, local districts, institutions of higher education, and families.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) authorizes formula grants to states and discretionary grants to higher-education institutions and other nonprofit organizations to support research, demonstrations, technical assistance and dissemination, technology and personnel development, and parent-training and information centers.
The IDEA requires states and other public agencies to implement programs designed to improve results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities and their families. OSEP reviews and approves state plans and monitors the IDEA Part B and C formula grant programs to ensure consistency with federal requirements including by providing policy guidance and information organized by topic area. For additional formula grant related information including announcements, content on monthly technical assistance calls, other events, and topic-specific resources refer to the Monitoring and State Improvement Planning page at the OSEP IDEAs That Work website.
State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report
States must submit a State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR) by February of each year. The submission uses the previous year’s performance data. For example, states’ federal fiscal year 2018 APR, due February 2020, reported on school year 2018-19 performance. States started submitting the SPP/APR electronically through the EDFacts Metadata and Process System (EMAPS) in February 2020.
OSEP administers three formula grant programs authorized by the IDEA. These formula grants are awarded to states annually to support early-intervention services for:
- infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families,
- preschool children ages three through five, and
- special education for children and youth with disabilities.
Differentiated Monitoring and Support
OSEP provides differentiated monitoring and support to states as part of its results driven accountability system. Under the results driven accountability system, OSEP’s differentiated monitoring and support focuses on both compliance and improving results for children with disabilities. OSEP differentiates its approach for each state based on the state’s unique strengths, progress, challenges, and needs.
Congress appropriates IDEA funds intended to support early intervention, special education, and related services for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and their families.
OSEP-funded Technical Assistance Centers
OSEP-funded Technical Assistance Centers work with states on implementation of fiscal requirements and processes:
- Center for IDEA Fiscal Reporting (CIFR) CIFR assists states to improve the quality of their collection, reporting, analysis, and use of IDEA Part B and Part C fiscal data.
- Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) ECTA’s Finance Component includes Part C and 619 (Part B) topics and addresses finance planning process/forecasting; fiscal data; procurement; resource allocation, use of funds and disbursement; and monitoring and accountability of funds and resources.
- National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI): Fiscal Support Team NCSI’s Fiscal Support Team supports states by providing state educational agencies with technical assistance regarding fiscal issues to support LEAs to improve outcomes with disabilities.
OSEP IDEAs That Work
OSEP, directly and through its partners and grantees, develops a wide range of evidence-based products, publications, and resources to assist states, local district personnel, and families to improve results for students with disabilities. For additional information about OSEP discretionary grant recipients, visit the Resource Centers’ page or OSEP IDEAs That Work. OSEP IDEAs That Work provides centralized access to information from research-to-practice initiatives funded by OSEP that address the provisions of the IDEA and the Every Students Succeeds Act. This site includes resources, links, and other important information relevant to OSEP’s research-to-practice efforts.
Discretionary Grant Opportunities
OSEP offers a variety of discretionary grants through a competitive process. Visit our Discretionary Grants page for more information. For additional information about OSEP discretionary grant recipients, visit the OSEP’s Discretionary Grants Public Database.
IDEA Topic Areas
OSEP, along with other Department offices, Federal agencies, and OSEP discretionary funded-grant recipients, provide numerous IDEA-topic area resources. For Federal resources for IDEA stakeholders on college- and career-readiness standards, tool kits, topic issues in education, intervention IDEA briefs, and a resource library, visit OSEP IDEAs That Work. For more specific resources on a variety of IDEA topics, visit the Topic Areas resource page. This resource page includes information and resources from the Department, other Federal agencies, and Federally-funded technical assistance centers.