Section 427 of the General Education Provision Act
Section 427 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) requires U.S. Department of Education (Department) grantees, such as the Small, Rural School Achievement program (SRSA) grantees, to describe the steps the grantee will take to ensure equitable access to, and participation in, the Federally-assisted program by addressing the special needs of students, teachers, and other program beneficiaries. This provision allows applicants discretion in developing the required description. The statute highlights six types of barriers that can impede equitable access or participation: gender, race, national origin, color, disability, or age. Based on local circumstances, a local educational agency (LEA) should determine whether these or other barriers may prevent students, teachers, or other program beneficiaries from such access or participation in the Federally-funded project or activity.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How does an SRSA grantee submit a GEPA statement to the Department?
- A GEPA statement is submitted to the Department by an eligible LEA as part of the annual SRSA grant application. Each LEA eligible for SRSA funding will receive an email, directed to the LEA’s Authorized Representative each year containing a link to the LEA’s SRSA application.
- The Authorized Representative can complete the online application for the LEA by clicking the unique link included in the email. The application requires the Authorized Representative to submit the LEA’s GEPA statement. If an LEA submitted a GEPA statement as part of the prior fiscal year’s SRSA application, the GEPA statement will auto-populate into the current fiscal year’s SRSA application and the Authorized Representative can update the language if the statement is no longer consistent with the LEA’s planned activities under the SRSA program. However, if a GEPA statement was not submitted as part of the prior year’s SRSA application, or if the LEA is applying for the first time, the applicant will be required to provide a GEPA statement.
How often does an LEA need to update its GEPA statement on file with the Department?
- An LEA must only submit a GEPA statement once per year – this is done as part of the annual SRSA grant application process. It is not necessary for an LEA to inform the Department of changes made to its GEPA statement throughout the year. Further, if the information in the GEPA statement has not changed from one year to the next, the LEA is not required to make any changes to the previously submitted GEPA statement.
How can an LEA access its previous SRSA GEPA statement?
- If an LEA submitted a GEPA statement on its SRSA application during the previous fiscal year, that previous GEPA statement will be provided in the current year’s SRSA application for review and revision.
What information should an LEA provide in a GEPA statement?
- A GEPA statement must provide an explanation of how the LEA will ensure equitable access to and participation in SRSA programs by addressing the special needs of students, teachers, and other program beneficiaries, including barriers based on any federally protected categories, such as gender, race, national origin, color, disability, or age.
How long does a GEPA statement need to be?
- There is not a minimum word count for a GEPA statement, although it may not exceed 1000 characters as part of the SRSA application.