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About SEEP
The 1997 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) required data collection and studies to measure and evaluate the impact of the IDEA and the effectiveness of state efforts to provide a free, appropriate public education to all children with disabilities (per Sections 618 of Part B and 674).

The Special Education Expenditure Project (SEEP)—conducted by the Center for Special Education Finance (CSEF)—is the fourth project sponsored by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and its predecessor to examine the nation’s spending on special education and related services in the past 40 years.

Data Collection and Analysis
The SEEP addresses a variety of research questions about how federal, state, and local funds are used to support programs and services for students with disabilities. The SEEP reports are based on analyses of extensive data for the 1999-2000 school year. The study utilized 23 different surveys to collect data at the state, district, and school levels. Survey respondents included state and district directors of special education, district directors of special education, district directors of transportation services, school principals, special education teachers and related service providers, regular education teachers, and special education aides. Survey responses were combined with other requested documents, as well as fiscal and personnel data sets from states, schools, and districts, to create files for the analysis. The analysis files include samples of approximately 10,000 students with disabilities, more than 5,000 special education teachers and related service providers, approximately 5,000 regular education teachers, more than 1,000 schools, and well over 300 local education agencies.

Findings from SEEP were released in a series of reports that address the following questions:

  • What are we spending on special education services in the U.S.? (Report 1)
  • How does spending on special education students vary across types of public school districts? (Report 2)
  • What are we spending on transportation services for students with disabilities? (Report 3)
  • What are we spending on procedural safeguards in special education? (Report 4)
  • How does special education spending vary by disability? (Report 5)
  • What are we spending on specialized equipment for students with disabilities (Report 6)
  • What role do disability categories and functional abilities play in explaining spending variations for students with disabilities? (Report 7)
  • What are the characteristics of high-expenditure students with disabilities (Report 8)

Follow these links for additional Information about SEEP:

Click to visit the American Institutes for research homepage at
This website is operated by the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The work posted on this site has been supported by AIR, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, and other public agencies. The opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of any sponsoring agencies.
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