About OSEP


OSEP is the acronym for The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). OSEP is a division within the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)

The mission of OSEP is to lead the nation's efforts to improve outcomes for children with disabilities, birth through 21, and their families, ensuring access to fair, equitable, and high-quality education and services. OSEP's vision is for a world in which individuals with disabilities have unlimited opportunities to learn and to lead purposeful and fulfilling lives.

OSEP administers the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which authorizes formula grants to states under Part B, grants to lead agencies for the infants and families program under Part C, and discretionary grants under Part D to institutions of higher education and other non-profit organizations to support grants for state personnel development, technical assistance and dissemination, technology, personnel development, and parent-training and information centers.


OSEP is divided into two sections, Research to Practice (RTP) and Monitoring State Improvement Planning (MSIP). 

OSEP consists of:
The Office of the Director
Research to Practice Division
Monitoring & State Improvement Plan Division

Reference https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep/about.html


Office of the Director 

The Office of the Director in the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) ensures the effective implementation of OSEP's legislative mission, advises the Assistant Secretary on Federal educational policy related to individuals with disabilities, and provides leadership in addressing problems of American education for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities through the activities of OSEP and within the context of the policies of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, the Department of Education, and the Congress.


The Office of the Director is responsible for providing leadership to the policy development, management, and resource allocation activities of OSEP. The Office of the Director ensures coordination between the formula and discretionary grant programs administered by OSEP. The Office of the Director serves as the primary communication link between OSEP and constituencies such as parents, professional groups, and organizations of individuals with disabilities. As such, it is responsible for communicating the Administration's priorities and initiatives in early intervention and the education of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities, responding to constituency concerns and needs, and providing leadership for development of national consensus on the issues facing special education.


The Program Support Services Group (PSSG), located within the Office of the Director, is responsible for coordinating various OSEP-wide functions including program and administrative budget planning; strategic planning; control mail and messenger services; workload scheduling and master calendar; website; generation of IDEA formula grants; travel and training planning for OSEP staff; and preparation of the OSEP weekly reports.


Reference: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep/od.html


Research to Practice 

The Research to Practice Division (RTP) within the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) administers the discretionary grant programs designed to help infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities achieve improved educational results and functional outcomes. RTP's goal is to positively influence the field of early intervention and special education policy and practice, and respond to the needs of state educational agencies and lead agencies, along with local districts, schools and programs, as they work to improve and deliver practices based on evidence for children and families.


The core functions of RTP to meet its goal are:

  • Serving as a national leader in early intervention and special education programs, policies, and activities;

  • Collaborating with federal partners and key stakeholders in education and related fields;

  • Developing and administering grants and contracts; and

  • Providing information and data to the public, including policy leaders and other stakeholders


The division is organized into five teams for administrative purposes:

  • Office of the Director

  • Early Childhood and Parent Team

  • Elementary and Middle School Team

  • Secondary, Transition, and Post-Secondary Team

  • National Initiatives Team


The discretionary grant programs administered by RTP are authorized under:

  • Part D of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which include:

    • Personnel Development Grant

    • Technical Assistance and Dissemination Grants

    • State Personnel Development Grants

    • Parent Training and Information Grants

    • Educational Technology, Media, and Materials Grants

  • Part B of IDEA

    • Technical Assistance on State Data Collection

Visit https://osepideasthatwork.org/ for more information on both discretionary and formula grants funded by OSEP.  


In addition, RTP is responsible for providing an Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of IDEA.


Reference: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep/rtp.html


Monitoring and State Improvement Planning (MSIP)

The Monitoring and State Improvement Planning (MSIP) Division carries out major activities related to the Part B, Part C (formally Part H), and 619 formula grant programs. The Division is responsible for State Plan review and approval, and for monitoring OSEP's formula grant programs to ensure consistency with Federal requirements and to ensure that States and other public agencies continue to implement programs designed to improve results for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities. Additionally, the Division provides leadership to OSEP's technical assistance provided to the States through the Regional Resource Centers. The State Improvement Planning activities are also managed by the MSIP Division through a cross-cutting team made up of staff from throughout OSEP.


The MSIP Division is divided into four Monitoring and State Improvement Planning Teams, each Team having expertise in the Part B and Part C programs and the capability to carry out functions related to those programs in assigned States and entities. The Monitoring and State Improvement Planning Teams have primary responsibility for reviewing and recommending approval of State eligibility documents. Additionally, the Teams monitor and provide/coordinate technical assistance to State Education Agencies and Part C Lead Agencies to ensure effective implementation of early intervention and special education services to infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities. These Teams work with customers to assist them in accessing a free appropriate public education and appropriate early intervention services.


In performing their responsibilities, Monitoring and State Improvement Planning Teams:

  • Develop and implement an annual program of monitoring, including self-assessment and data collection activities, to identify areas of commendation and areas of noncompliance that require corrective action by the States.

  • Provide or coordinate with other OSEP programs to provide technical assistance to the States as needed in the development and implementation of the corrective action activities.

  • Review State eligibility document submissions, prepare grant award letters, and provide appropriate technical assistance to States to ensure consistency with Federal requirements and a timely release of Federal funds.

  • Disseminate information by phone and in writing and coordinate with the Regional Resource Centers, clearinghouses, and others to provide technical assistance to customers and partners in response to general and policy interpretation requests in general and controlled correspondence, including Freedom of Information requests for OSEP.

  • Manage the award process for State Improvement Grants and Regional and Federal Resource Centers, including development of priorities, review, evaluation, and documentation of all applications for funding.

  • Participate in the development and dissemination of policy guidance, regulations, and program guidance in all areas or responsibility.

  • Manage the resolution of audit findings (single audits, Inspector General audits, Government Accounting Office reports) including grantbacks, primary and collateral determinations.

  • Provide information to customers concerning the complaint process, analyze States' resolution of complaints, and provide technical assistance to States to improve their procedures.


Reference: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep/msipd.html