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Free Appropriate Public Education

Free appropriate public education (FAPE) is a principal and statutory requirement of U.S. federal law requiring states and their local education agencies (i.e., individual school districts in the state) to educate students with disabilities as a part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (Pub. L. No. 105–17). The law requires school districts to provide special education and related services at public expense without cost to parents.

Definitions of the Component Parts of FAPE

According to sections 300.300 to 300.313 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the term free appropriate public education, or FAPE, means special education and related services that

  • are provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge;
  • meet the standards of the State Education Agency;
  • include preschool, elementary ...
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