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Clarifications on the use of the APH Federal Quota Fund

As we are addressing the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) Federal Quota Program and onboarding our new AEM Data Specialist, we are also exploring many changes and needs that we want to forecast to you. We will also be planning to forecast to LEAs, TVIs, families and our community partners.

There are major changes in the APH Federal Quota Program which we learned about in December of 2023. The previous eligibility criteria for the APH Federal Quota Program had modifiers which were more limiting than the Federal definition of blind and visually impaired per IDEA. The new eligibility criteria have added IDEA, here is a link to the eligibility criteria and definitions.

Nationally, Ex Officio Trustees (EOTs) are expecting to possibly triple or quadruple the number of students registered. Due to this significant increase in the registration, the amount per capita (currently $420) per registered student provided by Congress through the APH Federal Quota Program will also significantly decrease going into this next fiscal year. The APH Federal Quota Fund is meant to supplement what agencies or Local Educational Agencies (LEA) can provide. It is still the LEA’s responsibility, under FAPE, to meet all the needs of students who are blind and have low vision. When a student is not found eligible for materials through the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) Federal Quota program, any disability related needs found within a student’s IEP must be met by the Local Education Agency (LEA).

To give you a better understanding of the APH Federal Quota Program timelines, we just received the funds for the 2023 Census. This means we will be using the 2023 funds to purchase materials for students registered in the 2024 Census.

We also want to clarify the use of the Glen Stacey Memorial Fund grant.  This grant is a program which provides funding for items and services that fall outside of the scope of the FAPE obligations that LEAs have. Educators, families, and other community partners can apply for the Glen Stacey Memorial Fund. Proposals must be for equipment, programs, or projects that will directly benefit K-12 students who are blind and visually impaired.

The Glen Stacey Memorial Fund committee receives high volumes of requests for items that are part of the LEA’s FAPE obligation. For example, the committee receives requests for items such as braille embossers, braille curricula, and assistive technology devices to be purchased for CESAs and school districts, when braille production for students is their FAPE obligation. Funding may not be used for items/services individual school districts ordinarily would or should pay for as part of the student’s individualized education program (IEP). Glen Stacey Funds may not be used to fund salaries or fringe benefits. When the Glen Stacey committee rejects a grant proposal that is a district’s FAPE obligation, they receive a letter stating this.