Section 427 of the U.S. Department of Education's General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) requires grantees of federal funds to describe the steps the grantee will take to ensure equitable access to, and participation in, the federally-assisted program for students, teachers, and other program beneficiaries with special needs.

Accordion Section Title
GEPA Requirement

GEPA: Notice to All Applicants 

The purpose of this document is to provide information about a provision in the Department of Education's General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) that applies to applicants for subgrant awards under Department programs. This provision is Section 427 of GEPA, enacted as part of the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-382). 

To Whom Does This Provision Apply?

Section 427 of GEPA affects applicants for new subgrant awards under this program. All applicants for new awards MUST INCLUDE information in their applications to address this new provision in order to receive funding under this program. 

What Does This Provision Require?

Section 427 requires each applicant for funds (other than an individual person) to include in its application a description of the steps the applicant proposes to take to ensure equitable access to, and participation in, its federally assisted program for students, teachers, and other program beneficiaries with special needs. This provision allows applicants discretion in developing the required description. The statute highlights six types of barriers that can impede equitable access or participation: gender, race, national origin, color, disability, or age. Based on local circumstances, determine whether these or other barriers may prevent students, teachers, etc. from such access or participation in the federally funded project or activity. The description in the application of steps to be taken to overcome these barriers need not be lengthy; please provide a clear and succinct description of how the districts plan to address those barriers that are applicable to the district’s circumstances. In addition, the information may be provided in a single narrative, or, if appropriate, may be discussed in connection with related topics in the application. 

Section 427 is not intended to duplicate the requirements of civil rights statutes, but rather to ensure that, in designing their projects, applicants for federal funds address equity concerns that may affect the ability of certain potential beneficiaries to fully participate in the project and to achieve to high standards. Consistent with program requirements and its approved application, an applicant may use the federal funds awarded to it to eliminate barriers it identifies. 

What are Examples of How an Applicant Might Satisfy the Requirement of This Provision?

The following examples may help illustrate how an applicant may comply with Section 427.

(1) An applicant that proposes to carry out an adult literacy project serving, among others, adults with limited English proficiency might describe in its application how it intends to distribute a brochure about the proposed project to such potential participants in their native language.

(2) An applicant that proposes to develop instructional materials for classroom use might describe how it will make the materials available on audio tape or in Braille for students who are blind.

(3) An applicant that proposes to carry out a model science program for secondary students and is concerned that girls may be less likely than boys to enroll in the course might indicate how it intends to conduct "outreach" efforts to girls to encourage their enrollment. 

The NDDPI recognizes that many applicants may already be implementing effective steps to ensure equity of access and participation in their subgrant programs and appreciates your cooperation in responding to the requirements of this provision.