Education and Training Issues Related to Major Disasters
CRS Report for Congress
Education and Training Issues
Related to Major Disasters
Updated November 4, 2005
Coordinated by Charmaine Mercer
Analyst in Social Legislation
Domestic Social Policy Division
Richard N. Apling, Paul Irwin, Ann Lordeman,
Rebecca R. Skinner, David P. Smole
Specialists in Social Legislation
Domestic Social Policy Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Education and Training Issues
Related to Major Disasters
It is estimated that more than 370,000 elementary/secondary school children
have been displaced by the recent hurricanes. In addition, it is estimated that
approximately 30 institutions of higher education (IHEs) in the affected areas have
been severely damaged, and nearly 100,000 postsecondary students have been
displaced as a result. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the combined
direct effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on employment probably resulted in the
loss of between 293,000 and 480,000 jobs. Many of these individuals will not likely
return to their homes, jobs, and/or schools within the 2005-2006 academic year. It
is likely that numerous program regulations and statutes will need to be revisited to
address the needs of the students and families affected by Katrina, as well as financial
issues of the institutions that help make education possible for many of these
After a discussion of the applicability of the Stafford Act to education and
training facilities, this report provides a general overview of the federally funded
programs administered by the Department of Education (ED) that might be used to
help those affected by this disaster, and the existing statutory and regulatory
authorities available to assist individuals who have been affected by a major disaster,
where applicable. Training programs administered by the Department of Labor
(DOL) are also included. Specifically, training programs for youth, adults and
dislocated workers are discussed. The report includes a discussion of legislative and
funding options that might be considered for providing additional relief to the victims
of this major disaster.
Several existing program requirements under the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act (ESEA) will likely need to be addressed — maintenance of effort,
adequate yearly progress, and highly qualified teachers requirements — to assist
many of the schools and states in the affected areas. In addition, programs such as
the Education for Homeless Children and Youth and Project SERV could be used to
assist these students and schools, if additional funding were provided. The Secretary
of Education has authority to waive several of the requirements for aid recipients,
institutions of higher education, and financial institutions when a disaster has been
declared. Similar to the ESEA, several provisions might need to be revisited — 50%
rules relating to distance education programs, student loan forbearance period, and
the “Return of Title IV Funds” calculation — to provide students and IHEs with
The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) authorizes employment and training
opportunities for youth, adults, and dislocated workers. These programs are
particularly pertinent for the individuals recently affected by the hurricane, because
homeless individuals are automatically considered low income and are granted
priority for intensive training and services.
This report will be updated as warranted by major legislation or other relevant
Key Staff for Education-Related Disaster Relief Issues
Area of ExpertiseNameTelephone
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)Wayne Riddle7-7382
David P. Smole7-0624
Appropriations for Labor-HHS-EDPaul Irwin7-7573
Rebecca R. Skinner7-6600
Assessment in EducationWayne C. Riddle7-7382
Campus-Based Student AidDavid P. Smole7-0624
Education of the Disadvantaged, Title IWayne C. Riddle7-7382
Education for Homeless Children and YouthPaul Irwin7-7573
Fund for the Improvement of EducationPaul Irwin7-7573
Fund for the Improvement of PostsecondaryPaul Irwin7-7573
Ed ucatio n
Higher EducationCharmaine Mercer7-4894
Rebecca R. Skinner7-6600
Impact AidRebecca R. Skinner7-6600
Innovative Programs/Education Block GrantsRebecca R. Skinner7-6600
Institutional Eligibility (HEA)Rebecca R. Skinner7-6600
Job Training and Employment ServicesAnn Lordeman7-2323
K-12 General Issues/No Child Left BehindDavid P. Smole7-0624
Wayne C. Riddle7-7382
Legal IssuesJody Feder7-8088
Pell GrantsCharmaine Mercer7-4894
Project SERVEdith Cooper7-7019
Special Education, IDEARichard N. Apling7-7352
Stafford Act — Education RelatedRebecca R. Skinner7-6600
Stafford Act — GeneralKeith Bea7-8672
State and School DataLaura Monagle7-7351
Student AidCharmaine Mercer7-4894
Student LoansAdam Stoll7-4375
Teacher IssuesJeffrey J. Kuenzi7-8645
In troduction ......................................................1
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act and Education Disaster Relief......2
Eligibility for Assistance........................................2
Duplication of Benefits.........................................4
Waiver of Administrative Conditions..............................4
Elementary and Secondary Education..................................5
Flexibility and Waivers.........................................6
Maintenance of Effort......................................7
Adequate Yearly Progress and Accountability...................8
Highly Qualified Teachers...................................9
Title I-A Funding..........................................9
Education for Homeless Children and Youth...................13
Fund for the Improvement of Education.......................14
Additional Options for Relief...................................16
Issues: Elementary/Secondary Education and IDEA......................17
General Provisions for Institutions...............................20
General Provisions for Students .................................23
Campus-Based Student Aid Programs.........................25
Loans: Federal Family Education Loans and Direct Loans........26
Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education...........28
Department of Labor Employment and Job Training Programs.............28
Adults and Dislocated Workers..................................30
Legislative Proposals Addressing Education and Training.................31
Elementary and Secondary Education.............................35
Employment and Training......................................36
Education and Training Issues
Related to Major Disasters
It is estimated that more than 370,000 students have been displaced by the
recent hurricanes.1 In addition, it is estimated that approximately 30 institutions of
higher education (IHEs) in the affected areas have been severely damaged, and nearly
100,000 postsecondary students have been displaced as a result.2 According to the
Congressional Budget Office, the combined direct effect of Hurricanes Katrina and
Rita on employment probably resulted in the loss of between 293,000 and 480,0003
jobs. Many of these individuals will likely not return to their homes, jobs, and/or
schools within the 2005-2006 academic year. It is likely that numerous federal
program regulations and legislation will need to be revisited to address the needs of
the students and families affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as the
financial needs of the institutions that help make education and training possible for
many of these individuals.
This report includes a short description of the federal Stafford Act and its
applicability to education and training facilities to provide context for the specific
education and workforce development programs and requirements and their
intersection with federal emergency management. The report further provides an
overview of the federally funded programs administered by the Department of
Education (ED) that may be used to help those affected by major disasters and the
specific existing statutory and regulatory authorities available to assist individuals
who have been affected by a major disaster, where applicable. Training programs
administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) are also included. Specifically,
training programs for youth, adults and dislocated workers are discussed. A
description of each program, program requirements, and regulations, where
applicable, is then followed by a discussion of possible legislative and funding
options that might be considered for providing additional relief to the victims of
1 See, for example, “Louisiana Awarded $20.0 million No Child Left Behind Grant to Assist
Damaged Charter Schools, Create New Charter Schools.” Available at [http://www.ed.gov/
2 Data on the number of affected IHEs available on the American Council on Education
website. Available online at [http://www.acenet.edu/AM/Template.cfm?Section=HENA&
TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=11807]. Information on the status
of the affected IHE are available at:[http://www.campusrelief.org/x154.xml].
3 See Congressional Budget Office testimony on the Macroeconomic and Budgetary Effects
of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the
Budget, Oct. 6, 2005. Available at [http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/66xx/doc6684/10-06-
major disasters. The report concludes with an analysis of selected issues related to
major disasters and education and training, followed by an overview of legislative
action addressing education and training and the Administration’s disaster relief
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act
and Education Disaster Relief
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the
Stafford Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.) authorizes the President to issue major disaster
declarations upon which federal agencies are authorized to provide assistance to areas
affected by disasters.4 An executive order issued by the President provides the
Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with responsibility for
administering most of the Stafford Act.5 The act is authorized to provide assistance
to individuals, families, state and local governments, and certain nonprofit entities.
Appropriations for the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) are used to provide this
Eligibility for Assistance
Both public facilities and private nonprofit facilities, under certain
circumstances, are eligible for assistance under the Stafford Act.6 Public elementary
and secondary schools and postsecondary institutions qualify for disaster relief
assistance as public facilities used for educational purposes. Non-profit private
elementary and secondary schools and postsecondary institutions that are open to the
general public may also qualify for assistance as non-profit institutions providing
essential services. Section 406(a)(3), however, requires private nonprofit facilities
to apply for a disaster loan under Section 7(b) of the Small Business Act (15 USC7
636) prior to receiving support through the Stafford Act. If the owner or operator
of the facility is determined to be ineligible for the loan or has obtained a loan in the
maximum amount for which the Small Business Administration has determined the
4 For general information about the Stafford Act, see CRS Report RL33053, Federal
Stafford Act Disaster Assistance: Presidential Declarations, Eligible Activities, and
Funding, by Keith Bea. Also see the Stafford Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq) and related
regulations in 44 CFR 206.
5 Executive Order 13286, issued Feb. 28, 2003, assigned responsibility to administering
most provisions of the Stafford Act to the Secretary of DHS. This superceded previous
executive orders that provided the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with
responsibility for administering most provisions of the Stafford Act. FEMA is part of DHS
and continues to play a critical role in the actual implementation of the Stafford Act.
6 To be eligible for assistance, private non-profit organizations generally must provide
essential services of a governmental nature to the general public.
7 Private nonprofit facilities providing critical services in the event of a major disaster are
eligible for support under the Stafford Act without first applying for a loan through the
Small Business Act. Critical services include power, water, sewer, wastewater treatment,
communications, and emergency medical care.
facility is eligible, the facility may be eligible to receive support through the Stafford
Act.8 The Stafford Act does not provide assistance to for-profit institutions that
provide educational services. Thus, proprietary (i.e., for-profit postsecondary)
institutions are not eligible to receive disaster relief assistance through the Stafford
For schools that are eligible for public assistance through the Stafford Act, a9
variety of emergency work and permanent work services may be available. For
example, schools would be eligible for debris removal assistance and emergency
work to provide such services as access to the building and communications.
Support is also provided for the temporary relocation of essential services, such as
school classrooms, government facilities, and private nonprofit critical health
facilities. Under the permanent work category, FEMA is to address needs related to
buildings and equipment. Schools would be eligible for the repair or replacement of
buildings and their contents.10 Contents includes furnishings and equipment.
Assistance may also be requested to replace supplies and inventory and library books
The initial deadlines for completing debris removal and emergency work is six
months from the time a major disaster is declared. These deadlines may be extended
by the state for an additional six months for extenuating circumstances. The deadline
for completion of permanent work (e.g., repairs) is 18 months from the declaration
date of a major disaster, but this deadline may be extended by the state for an
additional 30 months for extenuating circumstances.
Eligible entities needing assistance following a major disaster must apply for
support. Eligible applicants include state government agencies, local governments,
Indian tribes, and private nonprofit organizations and institutions that provide
specific services. Based on these applications, a determination is made as to how
much support an applicant will receive from FEMA. Although grants provided by
FEMA are not capped at a specific amount, they may be limited by congressional
appropriations for disaster relief.
8 On October 18, 2005, FEMA announced that it will provide grants to parochial schools,
nursing homes, community centers, and other religious institutions providing essential
services such as education. Facilities used primarily for religious purposes are not eligible
to receive FEMA grants for reconstruction and repairs. See, Parochial Schools to Get U.S.
Funds for Rebuilding, October 19, 2005. Available at [http://www.washingtonpost.com/
wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/18/AR 2005101801622_pf.html ].
9 For more information about specific support available through the Stafford Act, see, Public
Assistance Guide, FEMA Publication 322, Oct. 1999. Available at [http://www.fema.gov/
10 A variety of special provisions apply to the repair and replacement of buildings. For
example, FEMA may pay for upgrades required by codes and standards. FEMA is to rebuild
structures to have the same capacity as the original building, but will make changes to the
design if the standard for space per occupant has changed since the original building was
Once the funds are received, it is up to the applicant to determine the priorities
for the uses of the funds. That is, state and local communities must determine which
structures to rebuild or repair first. In some communities, for example, priority may
be given to hospitals, while in other communities, priority may be given to schools.
As this decision is made on a community-by-community basis, it is impossible to
determine how quickly schools may receive needed repairs and renovation.
Duplication of Benefits
The Stafford Act prohibits entities suffering losses as a result of a major
disaster, such as the recent hurricanes, from receiving duplicate benefits for the same
project (42 USC 5155). That is, if funds are appropriated to provide the same types
of benefits that may already be provided through the Stafford Act, the result may be
considered a duplication of benefits. Payments from insurance companies are
considered duplication of benefits, and FEMA is required to reduce the amount of
assistance provided by any actual or anticipated insurance payments. Thus, if
Congress acted to provided separate funding to schools affected by major disasters
through other federal agencies, such as ED, this would be considered a duplication
of benefit, unless Congress made an exception to the provision. Alternatively,
recipients of aid through a separate ED program could be prohibited from receiving
benefits under the Stafford Act and vice versa. The premise of a separate funding
source assumes that the ED funding would provide for repair or reconstruction of the
facility and its contents, just as the Stafford Act already does. An advantage an ED
program might have would be to get aid to schools more quickly than may occur
under the Stafford Act.
Waiver of Administrative Conditions
The Stafford Act provides for waivers of administrative conditions (42 USC
Any federal agency charged with the administration of a federal assistance
program may, if so requested by the applicant State or local authorities, modify
or waive, for a major disaster, such administrative conditions for assistance as
would otherwise prevent the giving of assistance under such programs if the
inability to meet such conditions is a result of the major disaster.
This provision provides the Secretary of Education (Secretary) with broad
authority to waive regulatory requirements, upon request. Because the provision
applies to “administrative conditions for assistance,” the statutory language implies
that regulatory, but not statutory, requirements may be waived. Currently, the
Secretary has already taken several actions to waive various administrative
requirements pertaining to elementary, secondary, and higher education.11 Whether
the Secretary will use this authority to grant additional waivers is unclear.
11 See discussion in subsequent sections on waivers granted by ED.
Other federal authorities can be activated in response to major disasters or
emergencies. Most notable is the National Emergencies Act of 1976 (NEA; P.L. 94-
412).12 The recent hurricanes have not resulted in the President declaring a national
emergency under the NEA. If a national emergency were declared, Title II of the
National Emergencies Act requires the President to indicate the specific powers and
authorities being activated in response to the national emergency. For example, with
respect to higher education, the President could specifically choose to activate the
Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003 (HEROS Act; P.L.
108-7). The HEROS Act provides the Secretary with waiver authority of statutory
and regulatory requirements that apply to the Higher Education Act, Title IV student
financial aid programs. The HEROS act can only be implemented, however, in
connection with a war or other military action or national emergency. As a national
emergency under the NEA has not been declared in response to the recent hurricanes,
the HEROS Act does not apply.
Elementary and Secondary Education
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) was initially
enacted to provide financial support and guidance for K-12 education. The ESEA
(P.L. 107-110) as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLBA);
represents the major federal commitment to the nation’s elementary and secondary
schools. The funding that the federal government supplies to K-12 education
represents less than 10% of the nation’s K-12 education budget. For FY2005, over
$38 billion was appropriated for elementary and secondary education programs. The
single largest program authorized by the ESEA is Title I-A, funded at $12.7 billion
for FY2005. This program provides funding for supplementary educational services
for disadvantaged children.
In addition to the ESEA, another important source of federal funding for
elementary and secondary education is the Individuals with Disabilities Education
Act (IDEA). IDEA is both a grants statute and a civil rights statute. The act provides
federal funding for special education and related services for children with
disabilities and requires, as a condition for the receipt of such funds, the provision
of a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The statute also contains detailed due
process provisions to ensure the provision of FAPE. Total IDEA funding for
FY2005 was $11.7 billion.
The following section provides an overview of the Secretary’s existing general
statutory and regulatory authorities for elementary and secondary education
programs. In addition, select programs and program requirements that pertain to
individuals and institutions affected by the recent hurricanes are also included.
Finally, each of the programs and the requirements are followed by possible
legislative and funding options for responding to major disasters.
12 For more information about national emergencies, see CRS Report 98-505, National
Emergency Powers, by Harold C. Relyea.
Flexibility and Waivers
In administering ESEA programs, the Secretary has authority under ESEA Title
IX-D to waive most statutory and regulatory requirements under the ESEA for a state
education agency (SEA), local education agency (LEA), Indian tribe, or school that
receives funding through an ESEA program and which requests a waiver. The entity
requesting the waiver must submit a request to the Secretary stating: the program
affected by the request; the requirements to be waived and how the waiving of the
requirements will increase the quality of student instruction and student academic
achievement; specific measurable goals for the entity and how progress toward
meeting those goals will be measured; how the waiver will assist in meeting those
goals; and how populations served under programs for which waivers are requested
will continue to be served. Among the requirements that may not be waived are
statutory or regulatory requirements relating to the procedures for allocating or
distributing funds, the requirement that federal funds must supplement and not
supplant non-federal funds, the equitable participation of private school students and
teachers, and applicable civil rights requirements.
Beyond the ESEA Title IX-D waiver authority, the NCLBA and the Education
Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-25) authorize additional forms of
flexibility for at least some SEAs and LEAs.13 One of these, ED-FLEX, represents
essentially a transfer from ED to SEAs of authority to grant waivers similar to those
authorized under ESEA Title IX-D. Ten states currently participate in ED-FLEX,
although only one of these (Texas) is among the states most heavily affected by
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Of the other flexibility authorities authorized under the
NCLBA, only two are extensively used. One allows most LEAs and SEAs to transfer
up to 50% of their formula grants among four ESEA programs, while the second
allows very small, rural LEAs to combine or transfer any funds received under
several ESEA programs.
The Secretary has no general waiver authority under IDEA. The recent
reauthorization of IDEA added a paperwork reduction pilot program (§609), which
permits the Secretary to waive for up to four years for up to 15 states, statutory or
regulatory requirements (except civil rights requirements) that applying states link
to excessive paperwork or other non-instructional burdens. Granting states affected
by a major disaster, such as the recent hurricanes, access to this pilot program could
reduce burdens resulting from the influx of displaced children with disabilities.
However, ED is still in the process of developing the competition for this pilot
13 See CRS Report RL31583, K-12 Education: Special Forms of Flexibility in the
Administration of Federal Aid Programs.
14 According to the Secretary, “at this point, the timing of competitions for these pilots is not
certain but also not immediate.” Letter to the Honorable Shirley Neeley, Texas
Commissioner of Education, September 21, 2005, p. 6. Available online at
The NCLBA contains a number of new requirements related to pupil
assessments for SEAs and LEAs participating in ESEA Title I-A, Education for the
Disadvantaged. Many of the provisions of NCLBA focus on pupil assessment,
adequate yearly progress (AYP) requirements, program improvement and corrective
actions for schools and LEAs, allocation formulas, flexibility, and services to private
school pupils, staff, and parents. Each of these provisions as they pertain to the
recent hurricanes is discussed below.
Maintenance of Effort. For some ESEA programs (Title I-A, Education for
the Disadvantaged; Title V-A, Innovative Programs Block Grants; and Title VIII,
Impact Aid), LEAs are required to maintain a fiscal effort of at least 90% of the
previous year’s amount, as measured on a per-pupil basis. While maintenance of
effort (MOE) requirements may not be waived under ESEA Title IX-D, under
individual program requirements, in the case of a major disaster or a precipitous
decline in the financial resources of an LEA, the Secretary is permitted to waive the
MOE requirements for one year only. States and LEAs that have been affected by
an influx of students displaced by the recent hurricanes may need to have the MOE
requirements waived if funds available for expenditures on education do not increase
in proportion to the increase in students.
IDEA has a 100% maintenance of effort requirement for states’ financial
support of special education. The Secretary has authority to waive this requirement
for one year for “exceptional or uncontrollable circumstances such as a major
disaster.” Secretary Spellings has looked favorably on requests for such waivers by
SEAs adversely affected by the recent hurricanes.15 LEAs also must maintain effort
at 100%; however, IDEA provides a broader set of exceptions for LEAs than it does
for states. For example, LEAs may reduce spending on special education (that is,
reduce effort) if the LEA’s number of children with disabilities declines from one
year to the next.
Student Assessments. States receiving funding under Title I-A must meet
a number of requirements with respect to administering academic assessments,
making AYP toward meeting state standards of academic achievement, and reporting
on school quality. Beginning in school year 2005-2006, states are required to
administer academic assessments in reading/language arts and mathematics at least
once in each of grades 3 through 8, and at least once during grades 10 through 12.
In the event of exceptional or uncontrollable circumstances, such as a major disaster,
the Secretary is authorized to extend the period for implementing this requirement
for one additional year.16 Generally, academic assessments that are component parts
of state accountability systems must be administered to all students, regardless of
15 See the Secretary’s letter to the Honorable Cecil J. Picard, Louisiana State Superintendent
of Education (September 21, 2005), p. 2. Available at [http://hurricanehelpforschools.gov/
16 For further discussion of requirements for academic assessments, see CRS Report
RL31407, Educational Testing: Implementation of ESEA Title I-A Requirements Under the
No Child Left Behind Act, by Wayne C. Riddle.
how long they have been enrolled or whether the assessment results 17 will be
included for accountability purposes.18
Adequate Yearly Progress and Accountability. Another provision of
the ESEA requires schools to demonstrate that students are making adequate yearly
progress (AYP). Schools must also demonstrate that students with disabilities, which
are a special subgroup under the AYP requirements, are also making AYP. AYP is
primarily determined by the aggregate scores of various groups19 of students on state20
academic assessments. Schools and LEAs may be identified for school
improvement, corrective action, or restructuring after failing to make AYP toward
proficiency on state assessments for two or more years. In instances when schools
or LEAs are so identified, they face a series of increasingly severe consequences.21
In instances where a school is affected by a major disaster or a precipitous decline in
financial resources, an LEA may delay for one year, implementation of the
requirements for a second year of school improvement, corrective action, or
restructuring. A state may also delay implementation of the requirements of
corrective action for an LEA if it is affected by a major disaster or a precipitous
decline in financial resources. In either case, the delay period shall not be taken into
account in determining the number of consecutive years of failure to make AYP.22
Anticipating that an influx of displaced children, including those with special
needs, could jeopardize AYP for some LEAs and schools, the Secretary has proposed
a temporary option for a separate subgroup of displaced children. Displaced children
who otherwise would be included in other subgroups (such as children with
disabilities) could (at the state’s discretion and based on the Secretary’s waiver
approval) “appear only in this subgroup for NCLB reporting and accountability
purposes and not in any other subgroup to which they usually belong.”23
17 The assessment results (i.e., percent tested, and percent at the various proficiency levels:
advanced, proficient, basic, and below basic) of all students who are administered
assessments are required to be reported on state, LEA, and school report cards.
18 When states submitted their accountability plans for approval, they were required to
outline whether the assessment results of students attending schools less than a full year
would be included in determining AYP at the state and LEA levels. Links to approved state
accountability plans are available at [http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/
19 Under the provisions of NCLBA, state education plans must group students by certain
demographic characteristics, such as race/ethnicity, grade level, disabled, and limited
20 For additional information on AYP, see CRS Report RL32495, Adequate Yearly Progress
(AYP): Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, by Wayne Riddle.
21 For detailed information on the requirements of school improvement, corrective action,
and restructuring, see U.S. Department of Education, LEA and School Improvement: Non-
Regulatory Guidance, (Jan. 7, 2004). Available at [http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/
22 ESEA, Section 1116(b)(7)(D) and Section 1116(c)(10)(F).
23 Letter to Chief State School Officers, September 29, 2005, p. 1. Available online at
Highly Qualified Teachers. Each SEA receiving ESEA Title I-A funding
must have a plan to ensure that, by no later than the end of the 2005-2006 school2425
year, all teachers teaching in core academic subjects within the state will meet the
definition of a highly qualified teacher. Generally speaking, this means that all
teachers must have full state certification; not have had any certification requirements
waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis; and have at least a26
bachelor’s degree. This requirement might make it difficult for receiving schools
to fill vacancies. It may also be difficult for schools affected by the recent hurricanes
to comply with this requirement if they are not fully operational this academic year.
The Secretary has previously used authority under the new law to waive and/or create
flexibility in these requirements for specific groups of teachers or types of schools
(e.g., science teachers and rural schools).
The recent reauthorization of IDEA also required all teachers of core academic
subjects to be highly qualified by the end of the 2005-2006 academic year and
applied the NCLBA definition of highly qualified (with certain exceptions) to all27
special education teachers. In the wake of the recent hurricanes, at least one state
has requested an extension of this deadline. Although the Secretary has indicated in28
her response to this request that “we are currently reviewing this topic in general,”
to date no policy guidance has been posted on the ED website. It is unclear whether
dislocated teachers will be able to achieve highly qualified status in their new
locations, or whether affected states will have the resources to ensure that teachers
remaining in those states can meet the highly qualified teacher criteria.
Title I-A Funding. Title I-A, Education for the Disadvantaged is the largest
K-12 education federal grant program. Funds are allocated to LEAs according to
four formulas (basic grants formula, concentration grants formula, targeted grants
formula, and education finance incentive grants formula).29 Each Title I-A allocation
[ ht t p: / / www.ed.gov/ pol i c y/ el sec/ gui d/ s ecl e t t e r / 050929.ht ml ] .
24 In an October 21, 2005 letter to Chief State School Officers, the Secretary stated that this
deadline might be extended for one year for any state meeting a number of specific criteria.
The full text of the letter is available at
[ ht t p: / / www.ed.gov/ pol i c y/ el sec/ gui d/ s ecl e t t e r / 051021.ht ml ] .
25 According to No Child Left Behind, these subjects are English, reading or language arts,
math, science, history, civics and government, geography, economics, the arts and foreign
26 For additional information about highly qualified teacher requirements see CRS Report
RL30834, K-12 Teacher Quality: Issues and Legislative Action, by James B. Stedman.
27 For further information, see CRS Report RL32716, Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA): Analysis of Changes Made by P.L. 108-446, by Richard N. Apling
and Nancy Lee Jones.
28 See the Secretary’s letter to Cecil J. Picard, Louisiana State Superintendent of Education
(September 21, 2005), p. 2. Available at [http://hurricanehelpforschools.gov/letters/
29 ESEA Title I-A allocation procedures are explained in further detail in CRS Report
formula takes into account a number of different factors; however, the most
significant factor is the number children ages 5 to 17 who are at or near the poverty
line (hereafter these children are referred to as formula children).30
As previously discussed, the requirements relating to the allocation and
distribution of funds are among the provisions that may not be waived. Due to the
considerable displacement and migration of students caused by the effects of a major
disaster, and because Title I-A allocations are based on the number of formula
children residing in LEAs prior to the year for which funds are allocated, there may
be a considerable difference between the number of formula children upon which the
allocation of Title I-A funds was based and the number of formula children who
enroll in the current school year. Because of the potentially large numbers of
students, including students with disabilities, who have been displaced by the
hurricanes, and relocated to new LEAs, which in many instances may be across state
lines, there may be requests for a redistribution of Title I-A funding. The Secretary
has addressed this issue in general by noting that ED “will work with States and
school districts that want to transfer or reallocate Federal funds between districts,
when a particular district or districts are unable to use funds they previously
Aside from the general prohibition against waiving provisions related to the
allocation and distribution of funds, a number of other concerns may need to be
addressed when considering whether and how to reallocate Title I-A funds across
affected states and LEAs. These include deciding whether LEAs that have closed for
part or all of the current school year should be permitted to carry over their funds for
an additional fiscal year; determining whether current year funds may be reallocated
across affected LEAs, and if so, how this would be accomplished; and determining
whether hold-harmless provisions would apply to temporarily closed LEAs in this or
subsequent school years. These issues are briefly addressed below.
!Under ESEA Title I-A, LEAs generally may carry over up to 15% of
their funding so that it remains available for obligation for one
additional fiscal year. Section 1127 of the ESEA permits SEAs to
RL31487, Education for the Disadvantaged: Overview of ESEA Title I-A Amendments
Under the No Child Left Behind Act, by Wayne Riddle.
30 The procedures for determining children to be counted for ESEA Title I-A allocations are
specified in Section 1124(c) of the ESEA. Children aged 5 to 17 from families below the
poverty level as determined by the U.S. Census Bureau through its Small Area Income
Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) represent the majority of children counted for purposes of
allocating Title I-A funding. Children from families above the poverty level who also
receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), children living in foster homes,
and neglected and delinquent youth also are counted. A brief overview of school district
SAIPE estimates is available online at [http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/saipe/school/
sd02over.html]. There is a time lag of between data collection and when data become
available for use in Title I-A funding allocations — typically two years.
31 ED policy letter to Chief State School Officers, September 7, 2005. Available at
[ ht t p: / / www.ed.gov/ pol i c y/ el sec/ gui d/ s ecl e t t e r / 050907.ht ml ] .
waive the 15% limitation once every three years if it determines that
an LEA’s request is reasonable and necessary, or because
supplemental funding for Title I-A becomes available. In the case
of LEAs that temporarily close for an entire year as a result of the
hurricane, states may need to consider whether such LEAs still exist
for Title I-A purposes, and if so, how much funding they should be
permitted to carry over. If an LEA is not operating during the 2005-
2006 school year, it might seek to carry over up to 100% of its funds
for one additional year.
!The ESEA contains special allocation procedures that typically are
used to adjust Title I-A allocations (within each state) to LEAs for
the purposes of reserving state administrative funds and allocating
funds to charter schools, newly created LEAs, and to small LEAs
serving areas with populations of less than 20,000 total residents.32
In a September 12, 2005, ED policy letter addressing possible
responses to the effects of Hurricane Katrina, the Secretary stated:
Under §1126(b) of the ESEA, a State educational agency (SEA) may allocate
Title I, Part A funds, without any action by us, among affected LEAs if an LEA
provides free public education for children who reside (or resided in) the school
district of another LEA. Moreover, under §1126(c), if an LEA determines that
the amount of Title I, Part A funds an LEA would receive is more than the
agency will use or if other unused Title I, Part A funds are available, the SEA
may, without any action by ED, reallocate those funds among districts on the33
basis of need in accordance with criteria established by the SEA.
!Hold-harmless provisions apply to funds allocated under each of the
four previously mentioned allocation formulas. In general, hold-
harmless percentages — limiting the amount by which a formula
grant may be reduced from one year to the next — are based on the
number of formula children aged 5-17 as a percentage of the LEA’s
total population of children aged 5-17.34 For the hold-harmless
provisions to apply to the applicable formula, an LEA must be
eligible in the current year to receive a basic, targeted, or education
finance incentive grant, or have been eligible to have received a
32 ESEA, Section 1126(b) (20 U.S.C. 6338(b)). Also, see U.S. Department of Education,
Guidance: State Educational Agency Procedures for Adjusting Basic, Concentration,
Targeted, and Education Finance Incentive Grant Allocations Determined by the U.S.
Department of Education (May 23, 2003). Available at [http://www.ed.gov/programs/
33 U.S. Department of Education, Letter from Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to
Mississippi State Superintendent of Education Hank M. Bounds, dated Sept. 12, 2005.
Available at [http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/050912.html].
34 Hold-harmless percentages are as follows: 95% for LEAs with 30% or more formula
children; 90% for LEAs with 15% or more, but less than 30% formula children, and 85%
for LEAs with less than 15% formula children.
concentration grant in one of the four previous years.35 For LEAs
that close for a full year, it is unclear whether the hold-harmless
provisions would prohibit hold-harmless funds for the current year
from being reallocated to other LEAs under Section 1126,
especially, if a waiver were granted permitting an LEA to carry over
more than 15% of their funds to the next year. This might limit the
ability of states to reallocate Title I-A funds across affected LEAs as
discussed in the previous bullet.
IDEA Provisions. The Secretary has also identified a number of IDEA-
specific concerns. Several of these issues relate to various time lines. For example,
the Texas Commissioner of Education requested extensions of the time line between
a parent’s consent for a child’s evaluation and the determination of his or her
eligibility for special education and the time line between the eligibility36
determination and the initial individualized education program (IEP) meeting.
Regarding the first time line, the Secretary noted that IDEA provides for state
flexibility: the time between evaluation and eligibility determination is 60 days “or,
if the State establishes a time frame within which the evaluation must be conducted,
within such time frame” (Section 614(a)(1)(C)(i)(I)). The Secretary notes that
ordinarily a state-determined alternative to the 60-day time line would apply to all
LEAs in the state. “However, under the extraordinary and unprecedented conditions
faced by Texas in dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it would be
reasonable for the TEA [Texas Education Agency] to establish a different time line
for completing evaluations of all children suspected of having a disability in districts37
enrolling a significant number of displaced students.” Regarding the deadline for
the first IEP meeting (which is established in regulation as 30 days38), the Secretary39
notes, “there is currently no legal authority to waive this time line.”
The following section discusses the relevant federal programs that are most
suitable for addressing the needs of students, schools, LEAs and states that have been
affected by the recent hurricanes. A short description of the program, including the
FY2005 appropriation are provided for each program. Possible legislative and
funding options are also included where applicable.
35 34 CFR 200.71 and 200.73.
36 Letter to the Honorable Shirley Neeley, Sept. 21, 2005, p. 3. Available online at
37 Ibid., p. 3.
38 34 CFR Section 300.343(b)(2). Note that the 30-day requirement is preserved in proposed
IDEA regulations now under consideration. See FR v. 70, no. 118 (June 21, 2005), p. 35867
39 Letter to the Honorable Shirley Neeley, Sept. 21, 2005, p. 5. Available online at
Education for Homeless Children and Youth. The Education for
Homeless Children and Youth program is authorized by Title VII, Subtitle B of the
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (P.L. 100-77). The program provides
formula grants to states to ensure that homeless children and youth have access to the
same free, appropriate public education and the same services that are provided to
other children.40 Homeless children and youth must be given the opportunity to meet
the same academic achievement standards to which all students are held.
Participating states must agree to revise state laws, regulations, and policies that may
act as barriers to homeless children receiving a free, appropriate public education.
Each state must distribute at least 75% of its federal grant to LEAs to be used to
provide supplementary educational services needed by homeless children and youth.
Under the McKinney Act, states are prohibited from educating homeless
children in a separate facility, except under specific circumstances. Most applicable
to disaster relief would be an exception that permits LEAs to group homeless
children away from other children for a short period of time for health and safety
emergencies or “to provide temporary, special, and supplemental services to meet the
unique needs of homeless children and youths” (Section 723). Meeting the unique
needs of a large number of students displaced from their homes and considered
homeless as a result of an event such as a major disaster could result in an LEA
placing these students in a separate facility if that would be an efficient and effective
way to ensure their education needs were met for a short period of time. This
grouping of a cohort of children evacuees appears to be allowed under the McKinney
Act as an exception to the general prohibition against homeless student segregation.
LEAs could invoke this authority without requiring additional congressional action,
at least on a temporary basis.
LEAs serving large numbers of displaced students from the recent hurricanes
have already used this authority to provide a free, appropriate education in separate
facilities to meet the educational needs of these students. For example, the Houston
Chronicle reported that the Houston Independent School District is opening two
previously closed elementary school campuses to educate up to 1,350 students who41
have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
The Education for Homeless Children and Youth program was funded at $62.5
million in FY2005. The states are likely to have already distributed these funds to
meet previously identified needs of the homeless. The thousands of students that are
now considered homeless as a result of the recent hurricanes seem likely to need42
significant educational services in addition to those provided prior to the hurricanes.
40 For additional information about this program and other federal programs for the
homeless, see CRS Report RL30442, Homelessness: Recent Statistics, Targeted Federal
Programs and Recent Legislation, coordinated by Maggie McCarty.
41 “HISD Enrollment Push Begins,” Houston Chronicle, Sept. 7, 2005. Available at
[ h t t p : / / www.chr on.com] .
42 Funds provided under this program may be considered a duplication of benefits under the
Stafford Act if funds are used to provide any of the same support services available under
the Stafford Act.
IDEA and Homeless Children. The recent reauthorization of IDEA
includes specific provisions for homeless children. In addition to cross-referencing
the definition of “homeless children” in the McKinney-Vento Act, the act also
requires states to find, identify, and evaluate all children who are in need of special
education and related services. Homeless children are now explicitly included in this
so-called child find requirement (Section 612(a)(3)(A)). IDEA provides extensive
procedural safeguards to ensure the rights of children with disabilities and their
parents. In most cases, parents exercise these rights for their children. As a result of
the recent devastation, some parents of children with disabilities may have died or
been separated from their children for extended periods of time. Current law requires
that states have in place “procedures to protect the rights of the child [including
homeless children] whenever the parents of the child are not known, the agency
cannot, after reasonable efforts, locate the parents, or the child is a ward of the State”
Fund for the Improvement of Education. The Fund for the Improvement
of Education (FIE) is authorized by Title V, Part D of the ESEA. This program
provides the Secretary of Education with discretionary authority to support nationally
significant programs to improve education at the state and local levels and to help
children meet challenging academic content and achievement standards. Funds may
be distributed by grants to, or through contracts with, states, LEAs, IHEs, or other
public or private entities. Awards may be made competitively or for any meritorious
unsolicited proposal. Recipients of these funds may use them for, among other
activities, any of the various purposes of the ESEA. The use of FIE funds for
construction or remodeling generally is not authorized; however, FIE earmarks have
been specified in appropriations bills for school repair and modernization.
The FIE is used as the basis to support various K-12 education proposals by the
Administration, as well as earmark awards for a variety of K-12 education activities.
In fact, earmarks for specific projects or localities have accounted for most of the
annual FIE appropriation in recent years. The FIE appears to be suitable to provide
educational services for victims of major disasters, and available for school
construction and repair as well if legislative provisions are made for such activities
in appropriations language.44 The FY2005 appropriation for general FIE activities
was $257 million.45
Impact Aid. The Impact Aid program, currently authorized by Title VIII of the
ESEA, provides support to LEAs adversely affected by the presence of the federal
43 Part C of IDEA provides services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their
families. The act requires that any state receiving Part C funds (currently all states) must
make available “appropriate early intervention” to all infants and toddlers with disabilities
and their families, including “infants and toddlers with disabilities who are homeless
children and their families” (Section 634(a)).
44 See the caveat on duplication of benefits under the discussion of the Stafford Act.
45 Funds provided under this program may be considered a duplication of benefits under the
Stafford Act if funds are used to provide any of the same support services available under
the Stafford Act.
government.46 For example, Section 8003 provides funds to LEAs serving children
living on Indian lands or children who have a parent serving in the military with
additional support available if these children also have disabilities. These funds are
allotted to LEAs through formula grants.47 In FY2005, the appropriation for Section
The Impact Aid program also provides funding for both a formula grant and
competitive grant construction program under Section 8007. In FY2005,
appropriations for Section 8007 were $49 million. Of the total funds appropriated
for this section, 40% are distributed to LEAs that receive funds through Section 8003
and meet specific criteria. The remaining funds are used to award competitive grants
for emergency repairs and modernization. Emergency repair grants may be used to
repair or renovate a facility due to health or safety hazards. Modernization grants
may be used to alter a facility to alleviate overcrowding or to provide more modern
services (e.g., telecommunications). Statutory language currently gives higher
priority to emergency repair grants than to modernization grants, and requires
emergency repair grants to be awarded based on the severity of the emergency.
Construction grants may only be awarded to LEAs that are eligible to receive support
under Section 8003. Several LEAs in Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi
received Section 8003 grants for FY2004.48
Innovative Programs. The Innovative Programs State Grants program is
authorized by Title V, Part A of the ESEA. It is an education formula block grant
program to states. The program is the only federal block grant provided specifically
for K-12 education. Most federal education programs focus on targeting limited
resources to specific student populations (e.g., Title I funds for disadvantaged
students) or to areas with the greatest need (e.g., Impact Aid funds for LEAs
adversely affected by the presence of the federal government). Unlike these types of
federal education programs, funding provided through the Innovative Programs State
Grants can be used to support any student population in any school.
The Innovative Programs State Grants has an extensive list of allowable uses of
funds, including providing teacher training, technology activities, and supplemental
educational services. The allowable uses of funds does not, however, specifically
address the use of funds for disaster relief. Among its allowable uses of funds are
activities that could aid in meeting the education needs of displaced students (e.g.,
support for mental health services), and students returning to their original schools
46 Under P.L. 81-874, as amended by P.L. 89-313 in 1965, the Impact Aid program had the
authority to assist LEAs that were affected by major or pinpoint disasters with current
school expenditures and school construction. The authority was repealed when FEMA
assumed responsibility for the repair or replacement of school facilities related to disaster
relief in FY1992.
47 For more information about the Impact Aid program, see CRS Report RL31885, Impact
Aid for Public K-12 Education: General Overview and Current Status, by Rebecca R.
Skinner and Richard N. Apling.
48 Funds provided under this program may be considered a duplication of benefits under the
Stafford Act if funds are used to provide any of the same support services available under
the Stafford Act.
after having been displaced. It does not, however, authorize the use of funds for
construction or repair. It does allow for the acquisition of instructional materials
which may be useful to schools that were damaged by the recent hurricanes.
This program does not have a history of being used to provide disaster relief,
possibly due to the reasons discussed above. Congress could act to alter the program
to provide additional support to the areas affected by the hurricanes and serve
students displaced as a result of the hurricanes by modifying the allowable uses of
funds to better align them with education-related disaster relief needs. This change
would probably need to be accompanied by increased appropriations, as
appropriations for the program were substantially reduced in FY2005.49 In addition,
as this is a formula grant program, changes would need to be made to the funding
distribution method to ensure that it is targeted to the states and LEAs most in need
of disaster-related assistance.50
Project SERV. Project SERV is authorized under the Safe and Drug-Free
Schools and Communities Act ESEA Title IV-A, Subpart 2. This program was first
proposed in FY1999 by the Clinton Administration to provide resources to school
districts and communities that experienced a violent or traumatic crisis disrupting the
learning environment, such as a school shooting. Project SERV was to act similarly
to FEMA in its response to communities struck by hurricanes or other disasters, by
making funds available to school districts to reestablish safe learning environments
after a traumatic crisis. This program has not received an appropriation since
FY2003; however, at present, a $7.9 million unobligated balance remains for the51
Additional Options for Relief
If additional funds are appropriated to provide aid to states and LEAs affected
by a major disaster, policies and procedures would need to be developed regarding
how funds would be allocated and the authorized uses of such funds. A variety of
options might be considered, as discussed below.
!Funds could be allocated under amended versions of existing
programs, modified to limit eligibility to affected states and LEAs.
Formula grant programs might be modified in a manner to direct
funds to those entities serving displaced students or that suffered
significant losses and are preparing to reopen to serve students in the
future. For example, the Title I-A program might be modified,
substituting students displaced by a major disaster for formula
49 In FY2004, the appropriation for Innovative Programs was $297 million. In FY2005, the
appropriation was reduced to $198 million.
50 Funds provided under this program may be considered a duplication of benefits under the
Stafford Act if funds are used to provide any of the same support services available under
the Stafford Act.
51 Funds provided under this program may be considered a duplication of benefits under the
Stafford Act if funds are used to provide any of the same support services available under
the Stafford Act.
children, and then allocating supplemental funding under one or
more of the formulas. Supplemental funding also could be allocated
under existing discretionary grant programs, such as Title V-D-2 —
Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program. For
example, eligibility for grants could be limited to LEAs serving
significant numbers of students affected by major disasters.
!Funds could be allocated to affected states or LEAs on a per-pupil
basis according to counts of displaced students as of a specified date,
or according to a count of students served during a specified time
period. Legislation would need to specify the authorized uses of
funds and allocation procedures.
!Legislation could be enacted authorizing the Secretary to waive
statutory and regulatory requirements that the Secretary is otherwise
not permitted to waive, such as those relating to the allocation or
distribution of funds to states, LEAs and other entities that the
Secretary appears to be prohibited from waiving under ESEA Title
IX-D (Section 9401(c)).
!Legislation could be enacted authorizing broader flexibility for the
transferability or consolidation of funds than is currently provided
for under ESEA Title VI.52 For example, affected states or LEAs
might be granted authority to consolidate more of the federal funds
they receive for purposes of serving displaced students, or may be
granted flexibility in designating schools not otherwise eligible as
school wide programs under Title I-A.
Issues: Elementary/Secondary Education
The recent major disasters present some novel issues for states and LEAs
receiving Title I-A funds and IDEA funds. Congress has anticipated some of these
issues with the introduction of several legislative proposals (to be discussed), and
other issues have been recognized by the Secretary, as evidenced in her general
policy letters and in letters addressing specific states’ concerns.53 However, other
issues remain to be addressed by federal, state, and local governments and by
schools, teachers, parents, and students. The following section discusses some of the
issues that have arisen in the aftermath of these recent hurricanes.
52 For a discussion of current ESEA Flexibility provisions, see CRS Report RL31583, K-12
Education: Special Forms of Flexibility in the Administration of Federal Aid Programs, by
Wayne Clifton Riddle.
53 These letters are available at [http://hurricanehelpforschools.gov/letters/index.html].
Several proposals have been introduced in the 109th Congress to provide federal
funding to help offset the costs associated with reopening closed elementary and
secondary schools and to support the education of displaced students following the
recent Gulf coast hurricanes.54 Some of the proposals would authorize the provision
of direct or indirect federal aid to private and parochial schools that enroll displaced
students in addition to aid for public schools. The Administration has proposed
making funding available on a per-pupil basis to support the attendance of displaced
students in both public and private schools. In the House and the Senate (H.R. 4097
and S. 1932 respectively), proposals have been considered that would use different
methods to make federal funding available to support the education of displaced
students in public and private schools.
Both the House and Senate proposals will be discussed in detail below;
however, a key distinction between the two is the methods through which federal
funds would be made available to schools. This is of particular concern with respect
to religiously affiliated schools. There is ongoing debate over the appropriateness of
using public funding to support the costs of enrolling students in private schools —
especially religiously affiliated private schools. Two aspects of this debate are of
primary concern: (a) the political feasibility of providing portable aid (i.e.,
“vouchers”) to students as part of a school choice program under which parents have
some degree of control over directing the expenditure of funds on behalf of their
children’s education; and (b) constitutional concerns that might be raised if public
funding were to be provided directly to religiously affiliated schools, rather than
indirectly, such as through voucher program.55
Many of the issues related to IDEA pertain to implementation of statutory
provisions or ED policy. For example, IDEA requires the receiving LEA, in
consultation with the parent, to continue to provide the child with a free appropriate
public education comparable to services described in the child’s previous
individualized education program (IEP) until the LEA, following the requirements
of IDEA, develops a new IEP for the child (Section 614(d)(2)(C)). However, in
communities that have been devastated by recent hurricanes, these records may be
lost, or the staff who would ordinarily facilitate the records transfer may have been
If IEPs are not available from LEAs in the affected areas, much of the
responsibility may fall to parents for ensuring that displaced children receive special
education services comparable to those provided prior to their relocation. The
54 See for example, H.R. 3748, H.R. 3958, H.R. 4017, H.R. 4097, S. 1637, S. 1715, S. 1765,
S. 1766, S. 1842, and S. 1904.
55 For additional information regarding vouchers and school choice, see CRS Issue Brief
IB98035, School Choice: Current Legislation, by David. P. Smole. For a discussion of
Constitutional concerns regarding vouchers and aid to religiously affiliated schools, see CRS
Report RL30165, Education Vouchers: Constitutional Issues and Cases, by Angie Welborn.
National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) advises hurricane victims with
children with disabilities to “be sure you tell the school that your child was receiving
special education services at the previous school”56 and to share a copy of the child’s
IEP with the school. If the parent does not have a copy of the IEP (which is likely for
those evacuated under emergency circumstances), the NCLD advises, “do your best
to describe your child’s disability and the specialized services your child was
receiving.” Under the best of circumstances, parents’ advocating for special
education for their child is challenging; following a major disaster such advocacy
could be especially difficult. There could be considerable delay before the child
receives comparable services if the child’s parents are missing or dead.
As previously discussed, current law permits the Secretary to waive the MOE
requirement for states that experienced a major disaster, such as the recent
hurricanes. These states may spend less on special education this year than they did
last year. At the same time, other states that have received dislocated students may
have to increase special education spending. It is unclear whether those states would
be required to maintain special education spending at higher levels. No statutory
authority currently permits them to reduce spending in future years if significant
numbers of children with disabilities leave the state to return home.57
Federal funding for IDEA is another issue. Since the mid-1990s, funding for the
IDEA Part B grants-to-states program (the largest IDEA state grants program) has
increased rapidly (from $2.3 billion in FY1995 to nearly $10.6 billion in FY2005).58
These increases have significantly closed the gap between actual appropriations and
“full funding” for the program. The recent reauthorization provided specific
authorization levels aimed at achieving estimated full funding in FY2011 (Section
611(i)). Proposed increases for FY2006 in the House and Senate bills provide for
more modest increases than Congress has provided in recent years. These proposed
increases, if enacted, would result in an FY2006 level that would be several billion
dollars below the FY2006 target of $14.6 billion set by P.L. 108-446. If Congress
decides that significant budget cuts are necessary to pay for hurricane-related
rebuilding, progress toward IDEA funding targets could fall even further behind.
Indeed, funding for the IDEA Part B grants to states program might be cut for the
first time in the program’s history.
57 Current law does provide an exception to LEA MOE if the enrollment of children with
disabilities decreases (§613(a)(2)(B)(ii)).
58 For a discussion of IDEA funding, see CRS Report RL32085, Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA): Current Funding Trends, by Richard N. Apling.
Most of the federally funded postsecondary programs and activities are
authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended. The programs
and activities are primarily organized as follows: student financial aid, support
services to help students complete high school and enter and succeed in
postsecondary education, aid to strengthen institutions, and aid to improve K-12
teacher training at IHEs. ED’s FY2005 appropriation legislation includes about
$16.4 billion for HEA discretionary authorities. This total excludes mandatory
federal expenditures for the Federal Family Education Loans (FFELs) and Direct
Loans (DLs). Students and their parents were estimated to have secured over $58
billion in new loans with the help of these two federal programs in FY2005.
The following sections discuss the existing statutory and regulatory relief that
are available to students, IHEs, and financial institutions that have been affected by
a major disaster. The current regulatory authority primarily applies to all Title IV
recipients and borrowers, IHEs, and financial institutions that are located in areas59
designated as federally-declared disaster areas. The descriptions are arranged as
follows: general provisions for all Title IV student aid programs for institutions and
students are discussed first, followed by specific information for the relevant federal
programs and program requirements that pertain to individuals or institutions affected
by a major disaster. Each of the programs and the requirements are followed by
possible legislative and funding options for responding to major disasters.
General Provisions for Institutions
Institutions that have closed because of a major disaster are permitted to
establish a written agreement with another institution to enable a student to continue
his/her academic program and continue to receive Title IV student aid. Section 668.5
of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) delineates the guidelines for an
institution to establish such an agreement with both Title IV eligible and non-eligible
institutions. In a General Distribution letter (hereafter, disaster relief letter) issued
by ED, dated February 2004 (GEN-04-04), the Secretary strongly encouraged
institutions to establish such agreements with other institutions in the case of major
Another problem that institutions affected by a major disaster may encounter
pertains to the length of the academic year. Section 668.2 defines an academic year
as, “a period that begins on the first day of classes and ends on the last day of classes
or examinations and that is a minimum of 30 weeks of instructional time.” Several
of these institutions and the students that attend these institutions will not be able to
satisfy this requirement. Further, failure to meet this requirement under normal
59 Most of these authorities were enacted in response to the numerous hurricanes that
occurred in Florida in 2003. Specifically, a General Distribution letter was issued by the
Department of Education, dated Feb. 2004 (GEN-04-04), which provided guidance for IHEs
for dealing with the affects of a major disaster. This document is available at
circumstances results in the loss of Title IV eligibility.60 In a letter issued on
September 30, 2005, the Secretary stated that all IHEs in the Alabama, Louisiana,
and Mississippi that were affected by Hurricane Katrine would be permitted to reduce
their academic year from 30 weeks of instructional time to 26 weeks of instruction.61
The Secretary will continue to address this issue on a case-by-case basis for IHEs
affected by Hurricane Rita.62
The Secretary has the authority to waive documentation requirements for
institutions that have lost student records as a result of the disaster. Although
institutions are required to attempt to reconstruct financial aid records, they will not
be penalized if they are unable to do so.
In addition to the aforementioned provisions, numerous requirements pertain to
reporting the disbursement of Title IV funds and the reimbursement of Title IV funds
based on student enrollment, attendance, and the institution’s academic calendar.
Most of these additional requirements pertain to credit balances, excess cash,
financial and administrative capability, and student loan funds. In response to the
recent hurricanes the Secretary has issued several waivers and provided policy
guidance in many of these areas.63 For example, the Secretary indicated that students
who were selected for verification would not be penalized if they were unable to
produce the required documentation as a result of the hurricane.
The following laws were passed to provide students and IHEs in the affected
areas with additional relief: The Pell Grant Hurricane and Disaster Relief Act (P.L.
109-66), The Student Grant Hurricane and Disaster Relief Act (P.L. 109-67), and The
Natural Disaster Student Aid Fairness Act (P.L. 109-86) (to be discussed).
Collectively these laws provide the Secretary with greater authority to waive various
requirements, primarily pertaining to administration of Title IV funds.
Section 479A of the HEA grants financial aid administrators (FAAs) the
authority to use professional judgment in special circumstances. However, this
judgment must be exercised on a case-by-case basis. Extending this authority so that
60 When a recipient of Title IV grant or loan assistance withdraws from an institution during
a payment period or period of enrollment in which the recipient began attendance, the
institution must determine the amount of Title IV grant or loan assistance (not including
Federal Work-Study or the non-federal share of Federal Supplemental Educational
Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) awards if an institution meets its FSEOG matching share by
the individual recipient method or the aggregate method) that the student earned as of the
student’s withdrawal date in accordance with paragraph (e) of Section 668.22. For
additional information regarding the calculation, see CRS Report RL31926, Institutional
Eligibility for Participation in Title IV Student Aid Programs Under the Higher Education
Act: Background and Reauthorization Issues, by Rebecca Skinner.
61 The full text of the notice is available at [http://www.ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/
62 The full text of the notice is available at [http://www.ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/
63 The full text of all of the notices are available at [http://www.ifap.ed.gov/eannounce
an institution’s FAAs can establish a universal policy for any student affected by this
disaster might be considered. This would eliminate the need for FAAs who are
working with these students to evaluate each student individually. The Secretary
issued policy guidance encouraging FAAs to use this authority to recalculate the
expected family contribution for students affected by the hurricanes, however, FAAs
must continue to utilize professional judgment on a case-by-case basis.64
50% Rules. The HEA contains a series of three provisions, collectively known
as the 50% rules, governing the use of telecommunications and correspondence
courses to provide educational programs.65 The first rule requires that
telecommunications courses be considered correspondence courses if the sum of
telecommunications and correspondence courses equals or exceeds 50% of all
courses offered by the institution (Section 484(l)). The two remaining rules limit the
percentage of courses an institution may offer by correspondence to 50% or fewer
and limit the percentage of students that may be enrolled in correspondence courses
to less than 50% (Section 102(a)). If an institution violates either the second or third
rule, it loses its eligibility to participate in HEA, Title IV student financial aid
As a result of the recent hurricanes, many IHEs have been forced to close for at
least a semester, if not a year or longer. Students attending these institutions have
either enrolled in another IHE that is able to provide educational programs or
postponed their postsecondary education. One possible strategy for IHEs affected by
the recent hurricanes that want to begin providing educational services as quickly as
possible is to offer courses online. While it is unknown how many courses a given
institution would be able to offer, how many students would be interested in and have
access to the technology needed to participate, or how much it would cost in terms
of resources and time to establish or expand online programs, it is clear that these
institutions could be in violation of the 50% rules if all or most of their educational
services were provided online.
The Secretary does not currently have the authority to waive the 50% rules for66
all IHEs. An across-the board waiver of these rules would require a statutory
64 The full text of the notice is available at [http://www.ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/
65 For more information about distance education or the 50% rules, see CRS Report
RL32490, Distance Education and Title IV of the Higher Education Act: Policy, Practice,
and Reauthorization, by Jeffrey J. Kuenzi, Rebecca R. Skinner, and David P. Smole.
66 The 109th Congress is working to reauthorize the HEA. Both the House bill (H.R. 609)
and the Senate bill (S. 1614) await floor action having been ordered to be reported by the
relevant committees. Both bills contain provisions that would eliminate the rule that
requires telecommunications courses to be considered correspondence courses under certain
circumstances and would eliminate the restrictions on the number of courses that could be
offered through telecommunications and the percentage of students that could be enrolled
in telecommunications courses. Under both bills, the 50% rules would continue to apply to
change.67 However, included in the HEA Amendments of 1998 was the creation of
a Distance Education Demonstration Program (DEDP). IHEs participating in this
program are eligible to have the 50% rules as well as other statutory requirements
waived. IHEs that have been affected by the recent hurricanes that are not currently
participating in the DEDP could be provided with an emergency application to
participate in the DEDP, which would then allow them to have the 50% rules waived.
The number of institutions that may participate in the DEDP is capped at 50
institutions, systems of institutions, or consortia of institutions.68 If the number of
new applicants and the number of existing applicants reached this cap, Congress
could have to act to increase the number of eligible participants.
General Provisions for Students
Section 479A of the HEA grants FAAs the authority to utilize discretion on a
case-by-case basis in special circumstances. Special circumstances are defined as
“conditions that differentiate an individual student from a class of students rather
than conditions that exist across a class of students.” This authority would not permit
the FAA to adjust the financial aid award for all students as a group; however, it
could be done on an individual basis. The February 2004 disaster relief letter
strongly encouraged FAAs to utilize professional judgment to determine the financial
need of students affected by disasters, but maintained that it must be done on an
In addition, the disaster relief letter stated that any financial assistance (federal,
state, and other) that is received by a victim of a major disaster shall not be used in
the federal need analysis system to calculate a student’s expected family contribution.
To be eligible for Title IV student aid, students must maintain satisfactory
academic progress while enrolled in postsecondary education. Satisfactory progress
is delineated by policies developed by each participating institution of higher
education. If a student fails to meet an institution’s requirement for satisfactory
progress and the failure to do so is based on a special circumstance, the institution
can waive this requirement (Section 668.34).
The following are possible legislative proposals to provide additional relief to
postsecondary students who have been affected by the recent hurricanes:
67 H.R. 3975 would provide the Secretary of Education broad waiver authority that could be
used to temporarily suspend the 50% rules in response to IHEs and students affected by the
recent hurricanes. Similarly, S. 1715 proposes to temporarily eliminate the 50% rules in
response to the recent hurricanes.
68 During the first year of the DEDP, the Secretary was authorized to select up to 15
institutions, systems, or consortia (Section 486). For the third year of the program, the
Secretary was authorized to select up to an additional 35 institutions, systems, or consortia.
Currently 24 participants are in the program, accounting for 100 institutions (These data
were provided by ED and are available online at [http://www.ed.gov/programs/disted/
!Generally, Title IV aid received by a student must be returned when
a student withdraws prior to completing the requisite amount of
time in a semester or quarter. Many of these students may have
received a portion of their federal student aid award but may not
have satisfied the attendance requirement, and would therefore be
required to return a portion of the Title IV funds they received. In
some instances, a student may have expended some, if not all, of
their award, and may be unable to return or repay their award.
Students who owe a refund are not able to receive additional federal
student aid until all aid owed is repaid. At present, the Secretary
does not have the authority to waive the return of these funds.
!Although the expected family contribution (EFC) is based on the
prior year’s income, families must use existing resources to pay this
amount. Many families may no longer have the necessary resources
to pay their EFC for this academic year. Options to allow the EFC
for students affected by the disaster to be recalculated might be
!In addition, adjusting next year’s EFC calculation might be
considered as well. Most people will have worked for two-thirds of
the year, and may have substantial earnings during this period that
could affect the calculation of their EFC for the next award year.
The following section includes short descriptions of the relevant federal higher
education programs that will most likely impact the postsecondary students and IHEs
that have been affected by the hurricanes. Each program description includes the
FY2005 appropriation and where applicable, legislative and funding options to
provide additional relief. With the exception of the fund for the improvement of
postsecondary education (FIPSE) (see discussion below), all of the programs
discussed are authorized by Title IV of the HEA.
Pell Grants. The Pell Grant program provides grants to financially needy
undergraduate students. In any year, federal funding is available to ensure that all
eligible students attending eligible institutions receive a Pell Grant. Pell Grants are
portable, that is, the grant aid follows students to the eligible postsecondary education
institution in which they enroll. The size of the grant up to the annual appropriated
maximum amount is based, principally, on the financial resources that students and
their families are expected to contribute toward postsecondary education expenses.69
For FY2005, the appropriated maximum grant is $4,050. The FY2005
appropriation for the Pell Grant program is $12.3 billion.
P.L. 109-66, the Pell Grant Hurricane and Disaster Relief Act (to be discussed),
grants the Secretary authority to waive the amount of Pell Grant aid required to be
returned by students who withdrew or whose attendance was interrupted due to a
69 For additional information about the Pell Grant program, see CRS Report RL31668,
Federal Pell Grant Program of the Higher Education Act: Background and
Reauthorization, by Charmaine Mercer.
major disaster. To date, no policy guidance or regulations regarding this provision
have been placed on ED’s website. The existing program regulations for the Pell
Grant program do not provide a significant amount of guidance on this provision for
IHEs participating in the federal Pell Grant program. The disaster relief letter
indicates that the Secretary will work with institutions that have been affected by a
major disaster with respect to the reporting deadlines and disbursement records.
However, there is no reference to Pell Grant recipients who have been affected by a
Campus-Based Student Aid Programs. Three smaller Title IV student
aid programs — Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG),
Federal Work-Study, and Federal Perkins Loans — are collectively known as the
campus-based programs because their funds are allocated to postsecondary
institutions for award to students.70 Institutions must match a portion of the federal
allocation under each of these programs.
These funds are also subject to the return of Title IV funds requirements
previously discussed. Unlike other Title IV programs, the HEA requires the
Secretary to reallocate any unused funds in excess of 10% of the total amount
received that a participating IHE returns. In addition, any IHE that returns more than
10% of their campus-based aid will have their following year’s allocation reduced by
the amount returned. However, the HEA does grant the Secretary authority not to
impose this provision if enforcing it would be against the interest of the program.
The disaster relief letter indicated that the Secretary would consider an institution’s
inability to expend all of its campus-based aid due to a major disaster as an
acceptable reason for a waiver. The IHE is required to submit a request for this
Because the campus-based programs are unique in that the programs and the
funds are institutionally based, if a student who is affected by the disaster transfers
to another institution that does not participate in the campus-based programs he/she
will not be able to receive funds from the federal campus-based programs. Options
that allow IHEs to transfer some of their campus-based monies to IHEs with which
they have established written agreements might be considered.
Both P.L. 109-67, the Student Grant Hurricane and Disaster Relief Act, and P.L.
109-86, the Natural Disaster Student Aid Fairness Act (both to be discussed), grant
the Secretary waiver authority with respect to the campus-based programs.
Specifically, P.L. 109-67 grants the Secretary authority to waive the amount of Title
IV aid required to be returned because the student withdrew or his/her attendance was
interrupted because of the hurricane. P.L. 109-86 gave the Secretary authority to
waive various requirements for the campus-based programs. One provision in
particular requires the Secretary to waive the institutional matching requirement for
IHEs affected by the hurricane for the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 award years.
Additionally, the Secretary is required to reallocate unexpended campus-based
70 For additional information about the federal campus-based programs, see CRS Report
RL31618, Campus-Based Student Financial Aid Programs Under the Higher Education Act,
by David P. Smole.
program funds to IHEs in affected areas or to those IHEs that enrolled eligible
students who were affected by the hurricane.71
Federal Work-Study. Institutions that participate in the Federal Work-Study
program (FWS), a component of the campus-based student aid programs, are
generally required to use at least 7% of the total FWS funds for students employed
in community service. Comparable to what happens for campus-based programs
at-large, if an institution fails to expend the 7% and returns the excess, the Secretary
has the authority to reduce the IHEs’ allocation for the following year by the amount
returned. Again, similar to the campus-based programs at-large, the disaster relief
letter indicated that the Secretary would waive this requirement for any institution
that is not able to expend the requisite funds due to the disaster. The FY2005 FWS
appropriation was $990 million.
Federal Perkins Loan Program. The Federal Perkins Loan program is
another component of the campus-based student aid programs. The Secretary has the
authority to permit any borrower who had an “in-school” status at the time of the
major disaster to maintain this status during the period of the disaster-related
non-attendance. Further, this status does not impact a borrower’s grace period
(Section 674.31). The FY2005 appropriation was $66 million.72
Borrowers who are in repayment status can be granted a forbearance if the
borrower is not able to continue making timely payments as a result of a major
disaster. The Assistant Secretary, Sally Stroup, issued a notice, dated November 1,
2005, stating that all federal loan borrowers in the FFEL, DL, and Perkins loan
programs who live in an area designated for disaster assistance by FEMA will73
automatically receive a loan-payment forbearance until February 28, 2006. It is not
clear from the notice if the interest will continue to accrue during this period and if
this forbearance period would be counted toward a borrower’s three-year maximum
limit on loan repayment forbearance. Congress might consider not counting this
forbearance against the three-year total forbearance allowed to provide borrowers
with additional relief.
Loans: Federal Family Education Loans and Direct Loans. The
federal government operates two major student loan programs: the Federal Family
Education Loan program (FFEL) and the William D. Ford Direct Loan program
(DL). The FFEL program insures and subsidizes loans that private lenders make to
students or their parents to help them meet the costs of postsecondary education.
FFELs are made by private lenders and are available to undergraduate and graduate
students, and their parents. Certain types of FFELs are need-based, others are not.
71 The Secretary has issued guidelines for reallocating funds to IHEs that enrolled eligible
students who were affected by the hurricanes. The Federal Register notice (November 7,
2005, Volume 70, Number 214) indicated that the guidelines for IHEs in affected areas
would be forthcoming. The notice is available at [http://www.ifap.ed.gov/fregisters/
72 This represents the amount for loan cancellations.
73 The full text of the notice is available at [http://www.ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/
Several types of FFEL program loans are available: federal need-based subsidized
Stafford loans (under which the government pays the interest while the borrower is
in school, during a grace period or deferment); unsubsidized Stafford loans; federal
PLUS loans (for parents of undergraduate students); and federal consolidation loans.
A common feature of all these loans is that the federal government guarantees lenders
against loss through borrower default, death, permanent disability, or, in limited
instances, bankruptcy. Unlike FFEL, DLs are made by the federal government to
students through their schools, thus eliminating the need for private capital and the
guaranty agencies.74 Schools may serve as direct loan originators or the loans may
be originated as well as serviced by contractors working for ED. Loan terms and
conditions for DLs are generally the same as those in the FFEL programs.75
Approximately $57 billion in loan aid was made available in FY2005.
The waiver requirements for both loan programs are comparable to those
discussed for the Perkins Loan program, except that the disaster-related forbearance
period is not counted against the student. The other waivers for the loan programs
pertain to institutional reporting requirements. Specifically, the Secretary indicated
that waivers for the submission of disbursement records, confirmation reports, and
promissory notes would be handled on a case-by-case basis.
The following options might be considered to provide student loan borrowers
with some additional relief during this time:
!Providing student borrowers in repayment a deferment rather than
a forbearance might also be considered. Although this option would
add costs to the student aid program because the government would
subsidize the interest on subsidized Stafford loans during this period
and participating IHEs would subsidize the interest for Perkins
loans, it would also provide these individuals with added relief.
!Student aid recipients, especially loan borrowers, are required to
enroll for a certain amount of credit hours per semester/quarter to
maintain eligibility and to avoid repayment. For example, once a
loan borrower drops below half-time enrollment status, he/she goes
into repayment. Many of the individuals affected by this disaster
may not enroll during this semester/quarter or the following one as
they try to rebuild their lives. As a result, these students would be
required to begin repaying their loans. Waiving this requirement for
student aid recipients affected by the disaster might be considered.
74 Guaranty agencies are state agencies created by state governments, or private nonprofit
agencies operating only within a state or nationally. Each state has a guaranty agency
selected to serve as the “designated” guarantor of FFELs for students going to schools in the
state or state residents going to schools elsewhere.
75 For additional information about the federal student loan programs see, CRS Report
RL30655, Federal Student Loans: Terms and Conditions for Borrowers, by Adam Stoll.
Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. The Fund
for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) is authorized by Title VII,76
Part B of the HEA. This program provides the Secretary with discretionary
authority to support projects to improve postsecondary education opportunities.
Funds may be distributed by grants to, or through contracts with, IHEs and other
public and private nonprofit institutions and agencies. Awards may be used for
various activities such as the reform, innovation, or improvement of postsecondary
education. Current priorities of ED include improvement of postsecondary education
through better teacher preparation; promotion of innovative curriculum and
instruction from college preparation through graduate levels; increased cost-
effectiveness of postsecondary instruction and operations; and new methods of
ensuring equal access to postsecondary education, especially for under-represented
students. The use of FIPSE funds for construction or remodeling generally is not
authorized; however, FIPSE earmarks have been specified for the acquisition of
technology, furnishings, and equipment.
FIPSE is used as the basis to support various postsecondary education proposals
by the Administration, as well as earmark awards for a variety of postsecondary
education activities. In fact, earmarks for specific projects or localities have
accounted for most of the annual FIPSE appropriation in recent years. The FIPSE
appears to be suitable to provide postsecondary educational services for victims of
major disasters, and available for postsecondary construction and repair as well if77
legislative provision were made for such activities in appropriations language. The
FY2005 appropriation for FIPSE activities was $163 million.
Department of Labor Employment
and Job Training Programs
The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) P.L. 105-220 (29 U.S.C. 2811
et seq.) is the country’s major job training legislation. It authorizes employment,78
training, and related services through a variety of programs. Of special interest to
workers affected by major disasters are the youth, adult, and dislocated worker
programs. The youth program provides services to low-income individuals between
the ages of 14 and 21; the adult program provides services to individuals 18 years of
age and older; and the dislocated worker program provides services to workers with
76 For additional information, please see CRS Report RS21653, Fund for the Improvement
of Postsecondary Education: Background and Funding, by Bonnie F. Mangan.
77 See the caveat on duplication of benefits under the discussion of the Stafford Act.
78 All WIA programs operate on a July 1 to June 30 program year, i.e., appropriations for
FY2005 are for Program Year 2005, which is from July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2006. The
authorization for WIA programs expired on Sept. 30, 2003; however, Congress has
continued to fund the programs through annual appropriations. For more information on
WIA, see CRS Report RS20244, Job Training Under the Workforce Investment Act: An
Overview, and CRS Report RL32778, The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA):
Reauthorization of Job Training Programs, both reports by Ann Lordeman.
an established work history who have lost their jobs and who are not likely to find
new jobs in their former industries or occupations.
Only the youth program requires individuals to be low-income to receive
services. However, if funds for the adult programs are limited, as determined by the
local workforce investment board (WIB), priority for intensive and training services
must be given to recipients of public assistance and other low-income individuals.
Of particular note to youth and adults affected by the recent hurricanes, homeless
persons as defined under subsections (a) and (c) of Section 103 of the McKinney-
Vento Act,79 P.L. 100-77, are automatically considered to be low-income.
For FY2005, $986.3 million was appropriated for the youth program, $896.6
million for the adult program, and $1.5 billion for the dislocated worker program.
Of the funds appropriated for the dislocated worker program, approximately 80% are
for formula grants to states and 20% are for the Dislocated Worker National
Reserve.80 All of the funds appropriated for the youth and adult programs are for
formula grants to states, the majority of which are allotted to local areas.81
Waivers Under WIA Section 189(i)(4), the Secretary of Labor may, at the
request of the Governor, waive for a state or a local area various statutory and
regulatory WIA provisions. On September, 15, 2005, DOL issued a training and
employment guidance letter on WIA, “Waiver Flexibility for Hurricane Katrina
Recovery.” This letter provides a specific list of WIA provisions for which states
affected by the Hurricane may want to request waivers. Some of the WIA provisions
have been waived in the past and some are new provisions that could be waived
under existing statutory waiver authority.82
79 Under these provisions a homeless person is an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and
adequate nighttime residence; a person who has a nighttime residence that is a supervised
publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide living accommodations; an
institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be
institutionalized; or a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a
regular sleeping accommodation for human beings. A homeless individual does not include
any individual imprisoned or otherwise detained pursuant to an act of the Congress or a state
law (42 U.S.C. 11302).
80 The Dislocated Worker National Reserve consists primarily of National Emergency
Grants (NEGs) which provide employment and training assistance to workers affected by
major economic dislocations, such as plant closures, mass layoffs or disaster relief
employment. For more information on NEGs and disaster relief employment, see
[http://www.doleta.gov/ K atrina/docs/NEG%209-13-05.swf].
81 For allocations for each state’s formula grants for youth, adult and dislocated worker
activities, see [http://www.doleta.gov/budget/statfund.cfm].
82 The training and employment guidance letter is available online at
Services to youth must be provided through grants to providers made on a
competitive basis. Services may include (1) tutoring, study skills training, and
instruction, leading to completion of secondary school, including dropout prevention
strategies; (2) alternative secondary school services; (3) summer employment
opportunities that are directly linked to academic and occupational learning; (4) paid
and unpaid work experiences, including internships and job shadowing; (5)
occupational skill training; (5) supportive services; and (6) comprehensive guidance
and counseling, which may include drug and alcohol abuse counseling and referral.
At least 30% of the funds allocated to local areas must be spent on youth activities
for out-of-school youth.
Adults and Dislocated Workers
Three levels of services are associated with adult and dislocated worker
programs. Core services, the first level of services, are provided through one-stop
centers (see discussion below). Core services include outreach, intake, and
orientation to services available under the one-stop system; job search and placement
assistance; labor market information that identifies job vacancies, skills necessary for
occupations in demand, and employment trends; initial assessment of skills and
needs; information on available services and programs; and follow-up services to
assist in job retention.
Intensive services are the second level of services. They are available to:
(1) unemployed adults who have received at least one core service, are unable to
obtain employment through core services and need intensive services to obtain
employment; and (2) employed adults who have received at least one core service
and need intensive services to obtain or retain employment that leads to self-
sufficiency. There is no federally required minimum time period for participation in
core services before receiving intensive services. Intensive services include
comprehensive assessments, development of individual employment plans, group and
individual counseling, case management, and short-term prevocational services.
Training services are the third level of services. They are available to adults
who have received at least one intensive service; have been unable to obtain or retain
employment through such services; have the skills and qualifications to successfully
participate in a selected training program; select training programs that are directly
linked to employment opportunities in the local area and are unable to obtain other
grant assistance, including Pell Grants; or need assistance above the levels provided
by such other grants.
There is no federally required minimum time period for participation in
intensive services before receiving training services, although the period of time
spent in intensive services should be sufficient to prepare the individual for training
or employment. Training includes occupational skills training, on-the-job training,
entrepreneurial training, skill upgrading, job readiness training, and adult education
and literacy activities in conjunction with other training. Training services are to be
provided primarily though “individual training accounts.” The purpose of individual
training accounts is to provide individuals with the opportunity to choose training
courses and providers. States may enter into agreements, on a reciprocal basis, to
permit eligible providers of training services in a state to accept individual training
accounts provided in another state. The one-stop operator is responsible for
arranging payment to the training provider.
Local areas can decide whether or not to provide supportive services, such as
transportation and child care. If they do provide them, they would be available to
individuals who are participating in core, intensive, or training services, and who
were unable to obtain them through other programs.
Adults and dislocated workers, and in some cases youths, receive WIA services
through a coordinated service delivery system called the “one-stop” system. Each
one-stop system in a local area must include at least one physical center, which may
be supplemented by affiliated sites. One-stop centers provide services such as job
search and placement assistance, determination of eligibility for WIA training,
information on providers of WIA youth activities, and information regarding filing
claims for unemployment compensation.83
To further assist workers and employers affected by the recent hurricanes, DOL
has established a job bank84 to assist individuals seeking new, full-time employment
either in their home state or in a new state; individuals wishing to assist in the
clean-up and rebuilding efforts through temporary employment; and, employers who
want to list jobs supporting hurricane recovery efforts or want to hire workers
affected by the hurricane.
Legislative Proposals Addressing
Education and Training
This section reviews major legislation that addresses education and training
issues related to the recent hurricanes in the Gulf region. Bills discussed include both
those that have received legislative action and those introduced by committee and
subcommittee Chairmen and ranking minority members of either the House
Education and the Workforce Committee or the Senate Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions Committee. Currently, there are five bills that meet these criteria (P.L. 109-
83 For information on the location of one-stop centers, see America’s Service Locator at
[http://www.servicelocator.org/]. For specific information on the status of one-stop centers
located in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, see [http://www.servicelocator.org/
84 Please see Katrina Recovery Job Connection Site, at [http://www.jobsearch.org/
P.L. 109-66. H.R. 3169 was introduced on June 30, 2005, by Representative
Ric Keller (FL), as part of the amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965, and
became law on September 21, 2005. The Pell Grant Hurricane and Disaster Relief
Act grants the Secretary authority to waive the amount of grant aid required to be
returned by students who withdrew or whose attendance was interrupted for students
who resided in, were employed in, or attended an IHE in an area that had been
declared a major disaster by the President in accordance with Section 401 of the
P.L. 109-67. H.R. 3668 was introduced on November 7, 2005, by
Representative Bobby Jindal (LA) as part of the amendments to the Higher Education
Act of 1965 — and became law on September 21, 2005 (P.L. 109-67). The Student
Grant Hurricane and Disaster Relief Act grants the Secretary authority to waive the
amount of student aid required to be returned by students who withdrew or whose
attendance was interrupted for students who resided in, were employed in, or
attended an IHE in an area that had been declared a major disaster by the President
in accordance with Section 401 of the Stafford Act. This pertains to all non-Pell
Grant aid authorized under Title IV of the HEA.
P.L. 109-86. H.R. 3863 was introduced on September 22, 2005, by
Representative Bobby Jindal (LA) and become public law on October 7, 2005 (P.L.
109-86). The Natural Disaster Student Aid Fairness Act authorizes the Secretary of
Education to waive certain requirements for the campus-based financial aid programs
for IHEs affected by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. Specifically the
Secretary must waive the institutional matching requirement for IHEs that are located
in areas affected by the recent hurricanes, for academic years 2004-2005 and 2005-
2006. For IHEs that enroll students affected by the hurricanes, the Secretary may
waive the institutional matching requirements for academic years 2004-2005 and
2005-2006. Further, the Secretary is directed to waive certain provisions pertaining
to the reallocation of campus-based funds so that unused funds returned by IHEs to
the Secretary will be reallocated to IHEs affected by the hurricanes; and to prevent
the affected IHEs from having future allocations reduced for returning more than
10% of their funds from the previous award year. Finally, the Secretary is granted
authority to waive provisions of law or to modify existing statutory or regulatory
procedures related to the reallocation of funds to ensure that assistance is available
to students at affected IHEs.
H.R. 3690. H.R. 3690 was introduced by Representative George Miller (CA)
on September 7, 2005 and referred to the House Subcommittee on 21st Century
Competitiveness on October 12, 2005. The Katrina College Student Relief Act
would authorize relief with respect to federal student aid provided under Title IV of
the HEA for students who were residing in, employed in, or attending an IHE located
in an area declared a major disaster under Section 401 of the Stafford Act, or who
were dependent students whose parents were residing or employed in such an area.
The bill would authorize the Secretary to waive the amount of federal student aid that
eligible students who withdraw from school during a payment period or period of
enrollment after commencing attendance would otherwise be required to return under
HEA, Section 484B. The bill would authorize student loan deferments of up to six
months for eligible students who borrowed under the FFEL, DL, and the Perkins
Loan programs. Finally, the bill would require the Secretary to recalculate EFCs for
eligible students for the current and ensuing academic years in instances where their
income or assets, or the income or assets of their family, were affected by the
H.R. 4048. H.R. 4048 was introduced by Representative George Miller (CA)
on October 7, 2005, and referred to the House Education and the Workforce
Committee on the same day. The Gulf Coast Hurricanes Student and School Relief
Act would establish several programs to assist public schools affected by Hurricane
Katrina and Hurricane Rita. The bill would authorize the Secretary to issue grants
to local education agencies to facilitate with reopening public schools and re-
enrolling students in the affected areas. Among other things, the funds could be used
to recover and replace data, damage assessment and refurbishment, rental of portable
classrooms, and, construction, modernizing and repairing public school facilities.
Eligible LEAs would receive $8,314 per relocated student and 40% of the average
per pupil expenditure for the state for children receiving services under Part B of
H.R. 4097. H.R. 4097 was introduced by Representative John Boehner (OH)
on October 20, 2005, and referred to the House Education and the Workforce
Committee on the same day. The Family Education Reimbursement Act of 2005
would establish a federal Family Education Reimbursement Account Program under
which parents of students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita would be able to
establish accounts into which federal funds would be deposited for purposes of
reimbursing public and private schools for the costs of educating their children.
Parents of displaced students would be able to establish accounts for children aged
4 and older who have not yet completed the 12th grade. Under the program, the
Secretary would contract with a non-governmental entity to develop a national
system through which parents would register their children (via the Internet or a
toll-free telephone number) to establish accounts. Federal funds would be deposited
into these accounts and subsequently, at the request of the students’ parents, drawn
down by public or private schools to reimburse them for the costs of educating the
student. An amount up to the lesser of $6,700 or the actual cost to the school for
educating the displaced student would be made available for each student ($8,200 for
students served under Part B of IDEA). Funds paid through student accounts would
be considered assistance to students and would not be considered assistance to the
preschool or school that enrolled the student. On October 27, 2005, the House
Committee on Education and the Workforce held a markup pursuant to H.Con.Res
95, the Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2005, and the committee rejected the
proposal by a vote of 21-26.
S. 1715. S. 1715 was introduced by Senator Michael Enzi (WY) on September
19, 2005. The Child Care Disaster Assistance Act of 2005, would provide assistance
for students, educational institutions, and individuals with disabilities affected by
Hurricane Katrina. The provisions that pertain to elementary and secondary education
would do the following: make grants to LEAs for supplemental educational services
or additional programs and activities for displaced or affected students; make
payments to LEAs in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to restart school
operations; and (3) delay applicability of ESEA teacher qualification requirements
to Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi and their LEAs due to exceptional or
uncontrollable circumstances. Grants would be made to SEAs, which then make
subgrants to LEAs. In determining whether to award a payment to an LEA, the SEAs
should consider the number of school-aged children served by the LEA during the
preceding academic year, the severity of the impact of the hurricane on the LEA, and
the severity of need in the LEA. The higher education provisions would grant the
Secretary various waiver authorities with respect to the administration of the Title IV
student aid programs. Specifically, it would require: the Secretary to waive the
amount of Title IV student aid that a student would be required to return due to
his/her attendance being interrupted by Hurricane Katrina; provide IHEs in the
affected areas an extension until July 1, 2010, to return Title IV grant funds in
accordance with Section 484B; provide deferment status until June 30, 2006, for an
affected student who does not re-enroll this academic year; and provide the Secretary
authority to waive requirements to enable her to transfer work-study funds from an
affected IHE to an IHE that enrolls an affected student. The bill was read for a second
time on September 19, 2005 and placed on Senate Legislative Calendar (Calendar
S. 1764. S. 1764 was introduced by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (TX) on
September 22, 2005, and would provide for the continued education of students
affected by Hurricane Katrina. The bill would authorize the Secretary of Homeland
Security to transfer funds from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to ED. ED would be
permitted to use the funds to support activities of educational agencies authorized by
federal law. Funds could also be used to meet the educational needs of students
affected by Hurricane Katrina, specifically to pay for personnel providing
instructional services, pay for operational costs, and purchase materials and
equipment needed to serve these students. The Secretary of Education would verify
that an immediate need exists to provide this assistance and that funds to support
these activities are not available from other federal sources. The bill would require
the notification of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees three days in
advance of the transfer of funds. Funds transferred to ED would have to be obligated
by September 30, 2006. The bill was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate on
September 22, 2005, and sent to the House for consideration.
S. 1904. S. 1904 was introduced by Senator Lamar Alexander (TN) on October
20, 2005. The Hurricane Katrina Elementary and Secondary Education Recovery Act
would authorize temporary emergency impact aid85 for displaced students. Under
this program, the Secretary would make emergency impact aid payments to SEAs,
which in turn would provide funds to LEAs86 and BIA-funded schools for the
instruction of students displaced by Hurricane Katrina who are enrolled in public
schools, and for payment into student accounts established on behalf of students
enrolled in non-public schools for whom tuition and fees have already been waived
or reimbursed. An amount up to $6,000 would be made available per displaced
student (and up to $7,500 would be made available per displaced student served
under IDEA, Part B), except that with regard to depositing funds into student
accounts, no more than the cost of tuition and fees charged at the non-public school
85 Impact aid that would be provided under S. 1904 is different from aid fro the education
of federally connected students provided through the Impact Aid program authorized under
Title VIII of the ESEA.
86 In Louisiana and Mississippi, the SEA would carry out the activities of LEAs.
would be paid. The bill was read for a second time on October 21, 2005, and placed
on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders (Calendar No. 253).
S. 1932. S. 1932 was introduced by Senator Judd Gregg (NH) on October 27,
2005. The Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 2005 provides
reconciliation instructions pursuant to H.Con.Res 95, the Budget Resolution for
Fiscal Year 2006. The bill contains numerous provisions that pertain to
reconciliation, reauthorization of the HEA, and providing financial relief to students
and institutions affected by the recent hurricanes. Specifically, S.Amdt. 2352 to S.
1932 would make emergency impact aid payments in a manner comparable to that
previously discussed for S. 1904. S. 1932 also contains the Hurricane Katrina Higher
Education Recovery Act which would grant the Secretary of Education additional
waiver authority for certain HEA provisions pertaining to students and IHEs affected
by Hurricane Katrina. Specifically, affected students and IHEs in affected areas that
received Title IV funds for the 2005-2006 award year shall not be required to return
these funds. On November 3, 2005, the bill was passed by the Senate by a vote of 52-
In the weeks following Hurricane Katrina, members of the Administration made
several speeches offering proposals for students, parents, schools, and LEAs in the
affected areas; however, the details of the proposals are limited. This section briefly
discusses the Administration’s proposals for providing aid to students and institutions
in affected areas.
Elementary and Secondary Education
The Administration has provided the most detail with respect to their proposal
for relief to parents and education facilities affected by the recent hurricanes.
Testimony given by Assistant Secretary Johnson before the Senate Education and
Early Childhood Development Subcommittee indicated that the Administration is
requesting $1.9 billion to reimburse school districts that have received students from
affected areas, and to assist those schools that were affected by the hurricane with
reopening.87 Specifically, Assistant Secretary Johnson stated that direct grants would
be provided to any district that enrolls more than 10 displaced students during the
2005-2006 school year. Further, they propose to pay each district 90% of the state’s
average per-pupil expenditure, up to $7,500.
The Administration also proposed funding for students who attend private
schools. In the same testimony, the Assistant Secretary stated, “[W]e believe that the
families of those children, as well as other families, should have the opportunity to
enroll their children in private schools in their new locations.” He further indicated
that the Administration proposes to offer one-time grants to the states, which would
then make the funding available to families. Similar to what they propose for public
87 The full speech is available online at [http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2005/09/
school, the grants for private school students would be up to 90% of the average per-
pupil expenditure for the state or $7,500, however the maximum could not exceed
the tuition for the student.
The details with respect to the Administration’s proposal for IHEs and the
students who attend these institutions are limited. An article in The Chronicle of
Higher Education, on September 16, 2005, stated that Secretary Spellings outlined
the details of the proposal which included the following: allow loan borrowers to
defer payments on loans without interest for six months; provide $1,000 per student
to IHEs that enroll a student from an IHE in an affected area; permit IHEs to retain
federal aid that they already received prior to the hurricane; relieve students who
received federal aid of their obligation to return the funds because the IHE in which
he/she enrolled temporarily closed because of the hurricane; and give the Secretary
additional waiver authority to modify provisions she determines are necessary to
assist students and IHEs.88 Some of these provisions are contained within proposed
legislation, however, to date none of these provisions have been enacted into law.
Loan borrowers have been granted a six month forbearance as opposed to a
deferment, and the Secretary has been granted certain waiver authorities to respond
to the situations presented by the recent hurricanes.
Employment and Training
In a speech delivered on September 15, 2005, the President stated that he
proposed to create Worker Recovery Accounts to help evacuees who need extra help
finding employment. Specifically, he indicated that accounts would be established
on behalf of individual displaced workers, in the amount of $5,000, and the funds
could be used for job training and education to help attain job, or for child care89
expenses while the person was searching for employment. To date, no additional
information has been posted on the White House website or the DOL website with
respect to these accounts.
88 The full text of the article is available at [http://chronicle.com/daily/2005/09/
2005091613n.htm]. Also see, “New Support for Families and Areas Affected by Hurricane
Katrina.” Available at [http://hurricanehelpforschools.gov/0916-factsheet.html].
89 The full speech is available at [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/09/