All You Need to Know About Compensatory Education

The purpose of compensatory education is to compensate for educational disadvantages and provide equitable access to education. Learn more here.

What Is Compensatory Education?

Compensatory education is a system of supplementary programs and services aimed at helping children at risk of cognitive impairment and low educational achievement succeed. The purpose of these programs by the school district is to help students who are struggling in school catch up to their peers.

Compensatory education is designed to put a student in the place they would have been had the student not been deprived of special education and related services. The content of a program of compensatory education needs to be based on a student’s individual level of performance.

The IDEA requires school districts to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with a disability by providing each eligible student with an Individual Educational Program (IEP) designed to meet that student’s unique needs.

Compensatory Education in Special Education


Special education services are available for students with disabilities under two federal laws: The individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These laws require schools to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to eligible children with disabilities. Compensatory education is often part of this program.

Compensatory services are required to remedy any educational or other deficits that result from the student with a disability not receiving the evaluations or services to which they were entitled. Providing compensatory services to a student does not draw into question a school’s good faith efforts during these difficult circumstances. It is a remedy that recognizes the reality that students experience injury when they do not receive appropriate and timely initial evaluations, re-evaluations, or services, including the services that the school had previously determined they were entitled to, regardless of the reason.

Comp ed programs are offered at no cost to the student or family and include tutoring, counseling, and mentoring. They may also include additional instruction in core subjects like reading, writing, math, and science.

The programs offer various appropriate services, including tutoring, mentoring, and career counseling. The Compensatory Education Programs also provide funding for programs such as summer school, after-school programs, and other alternative education opportunities for students who are at risk of dropping out of school or failing to meet state academic standards.

Benefits of Compensatory Educational Services

Compensatory education has several benefits, including a reduction and decrease in social inequalities and socioeconomic status based on the availability of quality education. It also decreases the gap between upper, middle, working, and lower-class students’ access to quality education and academic achievements. Moreover, it reduces the chances of poverty and unemployment for the lower working class and disadvantaged groups like people with permanent disabilities or people with special needs.

Some of the benefits include:

  1. It helps to improve students’ academic performance, which is education’s main objective.
  2. It helps reduce the drop-out rate in secondary schools and universities by increasing enrollment, retention, and completion rates.
  3. It promotes equity in education by providing equal opportunities for all children.
  4. It helps to reduce social inequalities in society by reducing the gap between rich and poor students in terms of access to quality education and academic achievement levels among them.
  5. It reduces poverty and unemployment among disadvantaged groups like people with disabilities and those with special needs.

Determining the Type and Amount of Compensatory Educational Services Provided


In general, the individualized determinations of whether and to what extent compensatory services are required must be made by a group of persons knowledgeable about the student, including, for example, school nurses, teachers, counselors, psychologists, school administrators, social workers, doctors and/or family members.

The following factors may be relevant for the group of knowledgeable persons to consider in determining the appropriate type and amount of compensatory services: • the frequency and duration of missed instruction and related services; • whether special education and/or related services were provided during the pandemic were appropriate based on the student’s individual needs; • a student’s present level of performance; • previous rates of progress; • the results of updated evaluations; • whether evaluations were delayed; and • any other relevant information.

All You Need to Know About Compensatory Education Law

Compensatory education law is the legal framework that requires school districts to provide extra educational services to students from low-income families who have been identified as needing extra help to meet academic standards.

The compensatory education law, also known as Chapter 2, has been part of federal education policy for over 50 years. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which established several programs to improve educational opportunities for children from low-income families and students with disabilities.

The ESEA was amended twice in the 1970s and again in 2001 under No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The reauthorization of the ESEA was most recently signed into law by President Obama in 2015. This update includes significant changes to how states and schools will be held accountable for achieving academic success among disadvantaged students.

Requirements for Compensatory Education Programs:


Title VI requires that you provide compensatory services to students who have been discriminated against based on race, color, or national origin. This includes any student who:

  • Was denied admission to an elementary school or secondary school;

  • Was expelled from an elementary school or secondary school;

  • Was suspended from an elementary school or secondary school for more than ten days in any one year; or

  • Was otherwise subjected to disciplinary action resulting in a change in placement as a result of being disciplined by the such public entity because such student engaged in conduct that violated any rule designed to protect the safety or well-being of other persons in the school

To receive compensatory education services, the student must demonstrate the need for such services. The need for compensatory education services must be based on an individualized assessment of the student’s academic needs.

What Is The Source of Compensatory Education Funds?


The compensatory education funding comes from the federal government.

Compensatory education funds are made available to states by the U.S. Department of Education in accordance with Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965.

These funds are administered by state education agencies, determining how they will be spent for educational benefits.

The ESEA also provides funding for state plans that serve children with disabilities and their families, including early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities, special education; compensatory education awards; and other related areas.

How Is Compensatory Education Calculated?

For the calculation of compensatory education funds, the court uses two different parameters; qualitative and quantitative.

For the quantitative approach, the court decides to provide an hour for an hour as a replacement for service lots. However, the court has recently adapted to the qualitative approach.

In the qualitative approach, the court prefers to determine the quality loss of education without considering the time spent on it. Based on this approach, the court will calculate the compensatory education based on educational loss.

Students have received their compensatory education awards based on their specific circumstances, unique to them and different from others.

Regardless of the approach used by the court, the court agrees that if the student has suffered educational loss, including child funds, the student is entitled to comp ed fund.


Compensatory Education Programs

The Compensatory Education Programs are intended to address the educational needs of students their school districts have identified as having special needs.

So what’s the verdict? Compensatory education is a great way to level the playing field for students with disabilities. Moreover, it can be used with other interventions to give these kids the best chance at success. So if you’re looking for ways to help your struggling readers, compensatory education may be a good option.