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High Cost Fund (HCF) Questions and Answers

 

Texas Education Agency
Division of Federal and State Education Policy
November 2013 

1. When will the HCF Eligibility Application be available?

2. What is the due date? 

3. How do I access the HCF Eligibility Application?

4. When should districts who are approved expect to actually receive the funding?

5. The application I complete before October 1 is to recoup costs that I have spent in the previous year, correct?

6. Since High Cost funds budgeted in eGrants must tie back to student-specific cost items, is it correct to assume that the High Cost funds may be used ONLY for those cost items, not other costs that may have arisen for this particular student?

7. Are we to report high cost funds for a student only at the $35,000 level once we back out SHARS? If the funding for services and support to students are tallied less than $35,000 after SHARS, do we include those students, as well?

8. Does the $35,000 eligibility amount apply to each individual student or to the district as a whole?

9. What additional costs could be included for High Cost Funds aside from personnel?

10. Can you use the funds to pay for transportation, for a high cost student who has his own individual bus and route? This bus and route would not be needed if this student was not in the district.

11. If one bus aide is assigned to ride with one or two students – does the aide only count for one student – even if identified in IEPs for both students?

12. Can the cost of converting a bus to be wheelchair accessible be considered as a part of the application, or does that cost come from transportation funding?

13. Is pro-rating of salaries allowed?

14. Do we itemize the cost of special education services (OT, PT, music therapy, etc.) for a school year to include the allocated time students receive services while attending the extended school year program (ESY)

15. If a student has a history of need for ESY and current annual review has documentation of this, why is the expense associated with it not allowed?

16. Does “residential” also mean day treatment centers? If so, should the cost for the students be coming from the 25% set aside?

17. If a student attends a Regional Day School Program for the Deaf (RDSPD), who applies for the High Cost Fund award, the LEA or the RDSPD?

18. If a student, receiving high cost funds in one district, moves to another district (within Texas), will the funds follow the student to the new district to continue implementing the student’s IEP?

19. If a high need student moves prior to expenditure of the funds, what procedure do we follow then?

20. How does High Cost Funds affect Maintenance of Effort?

21. Should High Cost funds be sub-coded for tracking?

22. What is the difference between lapsed funds and roll forward?

23. Which year or years would you look at in terms of lapsed funds? Would it be the most recent year for which you have data or would you take into consideration ANY YEAR or year where there were lapsed funds?

24. What amount of roll forward will affect the High Cost Fund award?

 

1. When will the HCF Eligibility Application be available?

A. The HCF Eligibility Application will be available online at TEASE Logon from December 2, 2013 through January 28, 2014. 

2. What is the due date?

A. The due date for the HCF Eligibility Application is 11:59 pm January 28, 2014.

3. How do I access the HCF Eligibility Application?

A. The HCF Eligibility Application is accessed at TEASE Logon. A TEA SE (Texas Education Agency Secure Environment) account is required in order to access the application. 

If the submitter already has a valid TEA SE user name and password for at least one other TEA application, the submitter can log on as usual at https://seguin.tea.state.tx.us/apps/logon.asp and click the “Add/Modify Application Access” button at the upper right of the screen. From this page, the HCF Eligibility Application can be selected from the drop down list. Once the request has been submitted and approved, the submitter will have access to the HCF Eligibility Application.

If the submitter does not already have a TEASE account, the submitter must request both an account and access to the HCF Eligibility Application at: eGrant TEASE Information

For information on how to apply for a TEASE account, access: TEASE HELP

For help with the TEASE account email: computer.access@tea.state.tx.us.

4. When should districts who are approved expect to actually receive funding?

A. The award letters are expected to be generated in February 2014. Once the award letter is received, the LEA must budget the High Cost funds via eGrants (High Cost Grant Application SPED AH14). After the review and approval process is complete, the NOGA will then be issued and will allow pre-award costs back to October 1, 2013.

5. The application I complete before October 1 is to recoup costs that I have spent in the previous year, correct?

A.  No. The HCF Eligibility application submitted by January 28, 2014 is a projection of the costs of a high need student for 2013-2014. The itemization of costs on the HCF Eligibility Application for the high need student must be for expenses projected to be incurred between October 1, 2013 and August 31, 2014.

6. Since High Cost funds budgeted in eGrants must tie back to student-specific cost items, is it correct to assume that the High Cost funds may be used ONLY for those cost items, not other costs that may have arisen for this particular student?

A. Yes. Only those cost items that received approval in the HCF Eligibility Application may be budgeted in the eGrants application.

7. Are we to report high cost funds for students only at the $35,000 level once we back out SHARS? If the funding for services and support to students are tallied less than $35,000 after SHARS, do we include those students, as well?

A.  The costs of a high need student must total at least $35,000 to be eligible for a High Cost Fund award. Do not submit applications for students whose costs do not total $35,000 or more. A non-residential high need student's cost minus the Adjusted Allotment amount and minus the SHARS reimbursement, if applicable, must be at least $35,000.  A non-public day school student's cost minus the projected amount of state funds to be received for the non-public day school student and minus the SHARS reimbursement, if applicable must be at least $35,000.  For a residential student, the portion of the LEA's 25% residential set aside required for the residential student must be at least $35,000.

8. Does the $35,000 eligibility amount apply to each individual student or to the district as a whole?

A.  The $35,000 eligibility amount applies to each individual high need student. For example, if an LEA submits a HCF Eligibility Application that includes five student-specific applications, each of these five student’s costs must be at least $35,000 (after subtracting SHARS, if applicable, and after subtracting Adjusted Allotment for the non-residential student or subtracting the projected state amount to be received for the non-public say school student).

9. What additional costs could be included for High Cost Funds aside from personnel?

A.  Only those costs associated with providing direct special education and related services to the child that are identified in that child’s IEP are allowable with High Cost funds. The HCF Eligibility Application has a list of allowable cost items in the non-residential student section.

10. Can you use the funds to pay transportation, for a high cost student who has his own individual bus and route? This bus and route would not be needed if this student was not in the district.

A.  The excess transportation costs are allowable. The LEA must first determine the amount of state funding for transportation received for the specific student. The amount in excess of the state funding can be requested on the HCF Eligibility application.

11. If one bus aide is assigned to ride with one or two students - does the aide only count for one student - even if identified in the IEPs for both students?

A. If the bus aide is required specifically for the high need student and is identified in the child’s IEP, the aide’s salary is allowable with High Cost funds and may be pro-rated if the aide is required for more than one high need student on the bus. In that case, the pro-rated amount is allowable for each high need student. Pro-rating the salary of a regular bus aide, who is assigned to a bus regardless of whether a high need student is a passenger, is not allowable with High Cost funds.

12. Can the cost of converting a bus to be wheelchair accessible be considered as a part of the application, or does that cost come from transportation funding?

A. The costs of specialized equipment (such as special or adapted buses, lifts, and ramps), required to provide special transportation for the specific high need child for whom the HCF Eligibility Application is submitted, and as identified in that child’s IEP, can be requested on the HCF Eligibility Application if the cost is only for that specific high need student.

13. Is pro-rating of salaries allowed?

A.  Yes. You must use the electronic calculator (click on the help button in the application) to pro-rate salaries for teachers, aides and related services providers.  If you pro-rate salaries/services, you must select "yes" to the assurance on the cover page that you used the HCF pro-rating calculator tool associated with the HCF Eligibility application and a wheelchair-accessible bus is not currently available.

14. Do we itemize the cost of special education services (OT, PT, music therapy, etc.) for a school year to include the allocated time students receive services while attending the extended school year program (ESY)?

A. Yes

15. If a student has a history of need for ESY and current annual review has documentation of this, why is the expense associated with it not allowed?

A.  Yes, costs for ESY are allowable with High Cost funds. The LEA must first determine the amount of state funding for ESY received for the specific student. The amount in excess of the state funding can be requested on the HCF Eligibility application.

16. Does "residential" also mean day treatment centers? If so, should the cost for the students be coming from the 25% set aside?

A.  Residential does not mean day treatment centers. There is no requirement for using the 25% set aside to pay for the cost of a student in day treatment. Use the non-public day school section of the application to address the costs of a student in a non-public day school. 

17. If a student attends a Regional Day School Program for the Deaf (RDSPD), who applies for the High Cost Fund award, the LEA or the RDSPD? 

A. The student's resident LEA should apply for the High Cost funds and list the RDSPD tuition/fee in the list of itemized costs.  The RDSPD should not submit the HCF Eligibility application.

18. If a student, receiving high cost funds in one district, moves to another district (within Texas), will the funds follow the student to the new district to continue implementing the student's IEP?

A.  No. The High Cost funds will not follow the high need student to the new district if transferring from one district to another. The first LEA should only draw down the amount of funds already expended for the high need student before the student leaves.

19. If a high need student moves prior to expenditure of funds, what procedure do we follow then?

A.  The answer is dependent on several factors based on the timing of when the student leaves in conjunction with whether the LEA had already budgeted the funds in eGrants, whether the LEA had already incurred expenses, and whether any expenditures had already been drawn down through the Expenditure Reporting (ER) system. Contact the High Cost funding team at 512-463-9414 when the situation occurs.

20. How does High Cost Funds affect Maintenance of Effort?

A.  34 CFR §300.204 lists High Cost funds as an exception to MOE. “. . .[A]n LEA may reduce the level of expenditures by the LEA under Part B of the Act below the level of those expenditures for the preceding fiscal year if the reduction is attributable to any of the following: . .(e) The assumption of cost by the high cost fund operated by the SEA under §300.704(c).”

21. Should High Cost funds be sub-coded for tracking?

A.  As with other grants and programs, LEAs must create and maintain adequate and sufficient documentation demonstrating that an expenditure pertained to the High Cost Fund. This may be accomplished by maintaining routine records (e.g., purchase orders, invoices, payroll records, etc.) and by utilizing a locally defined subobject code or other local option code to track expenditures. Alternatively, the LEA may indicate on all documentation (purchase orders, contracts, etc.) that the transaction will be reimbursed out of the High Cost funds. If the LEA chooses to use the funds for salary, the appropriate time and effort and/or certification reports will be required.

22. What is the difference between lapsed funds and roll forward (carry over)?

A.  If IDEA-B funds are not fully expended for the year in which they were granted, they may be “rolled forward”/"carried over" to the subsequent year. However, these carry over balances must be expended in the year to which they rolled. If not, they will “lapse.” Lapsed funds revert back to the grantor.

23. Which year or years would you look at in terms of lapsed funds? Would it be the most recent year for which you have data or would you take into consideration ANY YEAR or year where there were lapsed funds?

A.  The LEA must not have lapsed IDEA-B Formula or Formula Deaf funds during the most recent year for which TEA has data in order to be eligible for a High Cost Fund award. Therefore, for 2013-2014, the amount of funds lapsed is determined after submittal of the IDEA-B Formula and Formula Deaf Final Expenditure Report for 2013-2014 due November 1, 2013.

24. What amount of roll forward will affect the High Cost Fund award?

A.  If an LEA rolls forward 50% or more of its previous year's funds to the current year, the LEA will not be eligible to apply for a High Cost Fund award. 


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Division of Federal and State Education Policy

1701 North Congress Avenue | Austin, Texas 78701-1494

Telephone: 512.463.9414 | Fax: 512.463.9560

E-mail: sped@tea.state.tx.us

 

 

Page last modified on 12/20/2013 09:58:15 AM.