Funding | News

$121 Million in Federal Grants Bolster Programs for Individuals with Disabilities

The federal government is awarding $121 million in grants with the aim of improving academic and career outcomes for those with disabilities, supporting technology, technical assistance, research and other programs with the aim of "promoting inclusion, equity and opportunity for all children and adults with disabilities to help ensure their economic self-sufficiency, independent living and full community participation."

Nearly half of the total — $54 million — is being awarded through the United States Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs to support "research, demonstrations, technical assistance, technology, personnel development and parent-training and information centers."

Among the technology-related, three fell under the banner of "Stepping Up Technology Implementation" totaling about $1.5 million. SUTI, a part of the Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities Program, is designed to support students with disabilities through technology, classroom activities, making media accessible (e.g. captioning videos) and making accessible educational resources available in a timely manner to those who need them.

These awards (roughly $500,000 apiece) were given to the University of Oregon, the University of Kansas Center for Research and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Most of the other technology-related awards fell into the category of data collection, including $3.2 million to WestEd in San Francisco and $2.5 million to Applied Engineering Management Corp. in Virginia.

ED's Rehabilitation Services Administration is awarding another $47 million to support programs in the areas of "vocational rehabilitation, supported employment and independent living for individuals with disabilities."

The remainder is being awarded through ED's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research to research institutions and nonprofits "for innovative, cutting-edge research projects," according to information released by ED.

"These investments are significant in assisting individuals with disabilities to reach their full potential," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a prepared statement. "We want all individuals with disabilities to succeed and these investments symbolize our values and commitment as a nation toward achieving excellence for all."

A complete list of grant recipients and awards can be found on the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services portal.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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