March 08, 2021

Van Hollen, Hassan, Murphy Secure Dedicated Funding to Support Students with Disabilities in COVID-19 Relief Package

Following a push from U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Chris Murphy (D-CT), the American Rescue Plan that the Senate passed Saturday includes specific funding to support students who experience disabilities.

As part of the tens of billions of dollars for K-12 education, the package includes more than $2.5 billion in state grants to support K-12 students with disabilities, $200 million to support preschoolers with disabilities, and $250 million for infants and toddlers under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Senators Van Hollen, Hassan, and Murphy had previously pushed for funding specific to students with disabilities, and the American Rescue Plan is the first COVID-19 package to include this type of dedicated funding.

“For too long, Congress has failed to uphold its promise to provide full funding to ensure a quality education for students with disabilities,” said Senator Van Hollen. “COVID-19 has exacerbated school funding shortages across the country, further widening this gap. That’s why this direct funding for IDEA is so crucial. I was proud to work with my colleagues to provide our schools and early intervention programs with these critical resources and will continue fighting to increase funds for IDEA long-term.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly tough on students, parents, and teachers," said Senator Hassan. "The American Rescue Plan makes an extraordinary investment in safely reopening schools for all students and addressing learning loss, while requiring any schools not already providing in-person instruction to develop plans to do so. Many of the students most in need of additional help also have disabilities, so they require additional supports and services to be able to access the same educational opportunities as their peers. That is why it is vital that this legislation will provide dedicated funding to support students who experience disabilities.”

“It’s critical that we make sure that students with disabilities aren’t left behind in this pandemic,” said Senator Murphy. “It’s big news that our calls to include dedicated IDEA money in the American Rescue Plan were heeded. This money will help address the unique needs of children with disabilities and the learning loss that the abrupt transition to remote school has caused. I look forward to working hard in Connecticut to make sure these IDEA funds and other education and summer programming money is used in a way that helps these students as much as possible.”