Dear Colleague Letters

OSEP provides information, guidance and clarification regarding implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in a number of ways including OSEP Memos and Dear Colleague Letters, and OSEP Policy Letters.

These are listed below in chronological order starting from the most recent issuance and going back to 2001.  To locate a letter from the chronological listing click on the year below:


Here are a list of the latest Dear Colleague letters:

Questions and Answers on U. S. Supreme Court Case Decision Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Re-1
On March 22, 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Re-1, 137 S. Ct. 988. In that case, the Court interpreted the scope of the free appropriate public education (FAPE) requirements in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This Q&A provides parents and other stakeholders information on the issues addressed in Endrew F. and the impact of the Court’s decision on the implementation of the IDEA
Dec. 07, 2017
PDF (561KB)

OSEP Memo 17-05: Eligibility Determinations for Children Suspected of Having a Visual Impairment Including Blindness under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
May 22, 2017
PDF (325KB)

OSEP Letter to TASH
April 18, 2017 letter addresses questions regarding OSEP’s 84.325K grant priority: Interdisciplinary Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services for Personnel Serving Children with Disabilities Who Have High-Intensity Needs.
PDF (141KB)

Significant Disproportionality (Equity in IDEA) Essential Questions and Answers and a Model State Timeline
These resources are a follow-up to the Equity in IDEA final regulation, which was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 19, 2016, and became effective on Jan. 18, 2017. The Q&A is a guidance document that includes questions and answers on the rule, including the standard methodology; remedies; effective and compliance dates; and a glossary of terms. It is intended to be used as a resource for states as they begin engaging with stakeholders around the implementation of the final rule. The Model State Timeline outlines the different streams of work and the timelines that states should consider as they implement the new rule.
March 31, 2017

Essential Questions and Answers
PDF (631KB)

Model State Timeline
PDF (324KB)

Updated Dear Colleague Letter on Preschool Least Restrictive Environments.
Provides updated guidance on preschool least restrictive environments (LRE) and addresses: key statutory and regulatory requirements; preschool placement options; reporting educational environments data for preschool children with disabilities; and the use of IDEA Part B funds for preschool children with disabilities.
January 9, 2017
PDF (287KB)

Dear Colleague Letter with the Office for Civil Rights on Charter Schools
Students with disabilities who are enrolled in public charter schools, like students with disabilities enrolled in other public elementary or secondary schools, have important rights under two Federal laws, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Similarly, students with disabilities who seek to enroll in public charter schools or traditional public schools have important rights secured by these two laws.
December 28, 2016
PDF (190KB)

Frequently Asked Questions about the Rights of Students with Disabilities in Public Charter Schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
This guidance provides charter schools, states, state educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), other public agencies, parents, and other stakeholders with information regarding the rights of children with disabilities attending charter schools and their parents under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
December 27, 2016
PDF (562KB)

FAQ on Early Childhood Privacy and Confidentiality
The purpose of this FAQ is to assist early childhood programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) with addressing privacy and confidentiality questions. This document is intended to provide responses to frequently asked questions to facilitate and enhance states’ implementation of IDEA privacy and confidentiality provisions and can be used in conjunction with the 2014 side-by-side guide of the IDEA and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Confidentiality Provisions.
October 20, 2016
PDF (284KB)

Dear Colleague Letter that emphasizes the requirement that schools provide positive behavioral supports to students with disabilities who need them. It also clarifies that the repeated use of disciplinary actions may suggest that children with disabilities may not be receiving appropriate behavioral interventions and supports.
August 1, 2016

Dear Colleague Letter to clarify and provide guidance on the Federal obligations of school districts that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) to students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Department’s implementing regulations.
July 26, 2016

PDF – Dear Colleague Letter
PDF – Resource Guide

Dear Colleague Letter on the Transition of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to State Education Agencies (SEAs) this letter begins this process and provides guidance regarding certain activities that are affected by this authorization.
December 18, 2015

Dear Colleague Letter on Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) that clarifies that individualized education programs (IEP) for children with disabilities must be aligned with state academic content standards for the grade in which a child is enrolled.
November 16, 2015

Dear Colleague Letter: Policy guidance to clarify that there is nothing in the IDEA that would prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in IDEA evaluation, eligibility determinations or IEP documents.
October 23, 2015

OSEP 15-10 Local Educational Agency (LEA) Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Questions and Answers
July 27, 2015

Dear Colleague Letter on Speech and Language Services for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
July 6, 2015

OSEP 15-08 Letter to Delisle:  Children with disabilities with high cognition
April 17, 2015

Dear Colleague Letter on Use of Due Process Procedures After a Parent Has Filed a State Complaint
April 15, 2015