[Federal Register: May 28, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 103)]
[Page 29189-29191]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 29189]]


Part VII

Department of Education
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research; Final
Funding Priority for Fiscal Year 1999; Notice

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, National 
Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research; Inviting 
Applications and Pre-Application Meeting for a New Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Project for Fiscal Year 1999; Notice

[[Page 29190]]



National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research; 
Notice of Final Funding Priority for Fiscal Year 1999 for a Disability 
and Rehabilitation Research Project

AGENCY: Department of Education.

SUMMARY: The Secretary announces a final funding priority for a 
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP) by the National 
Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) for fiscal 
year 1999. The Secretary takes this action to focus research attention 
on areas of national need. This priority is intended to improve 
rehabilitation services and outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This priority takes effect on June 28, 1999.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of 
Education, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 3418, Switzer Building, 
Washington, DC. 20202-2645. Telephone: (202) 205-5880. Individuals who 
use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the TDD 
number at (202) 205-2742. Internet: Donna__Nangle@ed.gov.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternate format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed in the preceding 

Waiver of Rulemaking

    Pursuant to section 437(d)(1) of the General Education Provisions 
Act, the Secretary has determined that this priority is exempt from the 
Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553). Section 437(d)(1) exempts 
from rulemaking the first grant competition under a new or 
substantially revised program authority. This is NIDRR's first grant 
competition under Section 21(b)(2)(A) since that Section was amended by 
the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice contains a final priority under 
the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program 
for a DRRP on Building Research Capacity. There is a reference in the 
proposed priority to NIDRR's Long-Range Plan (LRP). The LRP can be 
accessed on the World Wide Web at: http://www.ed.gov/legislation/
    This final priority supports the National Education Goal that calls 
for every adult American to possess the skills necessary to compete in 
a global economy.
    The authority for the Secretary to establish research priorities by 
reserving funds to support particular research activities is contained 
in sections 202(g) and 204 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as 
amended (29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764).

    Note: This notice of final priority does not solicit 
applications. A notice inviting applications under this competition 
will be published in the Federal Register concurrent with or 
following the publication of the notice of final priority.

Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects

    Authority for Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects 
(DRRPs) is contained in section 204(a) of the Rehabilitation Act of 
1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 764(a)). DRRPs carry out one or more of the 
following types of activities, as specified in 34 CFR 350.13-350.19: 
research, development, demonstration, training, dissemination, 
utilization, and technical assistance. Disability and Rehabilitation 
Research Projects develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation 
technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration into 
society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic 
and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities, 
especially individuals with the most severe disabilities. In addition, 
DRRPs improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.


    Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3), the Secretary gives an absolute 
preference to applications that meet the following priority. The 
Secretary will fund under this competition only applications that meet 
this priority.

Priority: Building Research Capacity

    The Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 modified Section 21, 
Traditionally Underserved Populations. Section 21 is based on 
Congressional findings that the demographic profile of the United 
States is changing to include higher proportions of individuals from 
racial and ethnic minorities and that the prevalence of disability is 
disproportionately high among racial and ethnic minorities. At the same 
time, there have been documented patterns of inequitable treatment for 
minorities in the vocational rehabilitation process; and there is a 
need to have more qualified individuals from traditionally underserved 
populations working in the field of rehabilitation.
    Section 21 provides for a set-aside of one percent of 
appropriations for programs under certain Titles of the Act to address 
these problems through activities carried out under those programs. 
This priority, announced under Section 21(b)(2)(A), is to support an 
award to a minority entity or Indian tribe to carry out activities 
authorized under Title II of the Act. As defined by the Act in Section 
21(b)(5)(B), a minority entity means a Historically Black College or 
University (HBCU), a Hispanic-serving institution of higher education, 
an American Indian tribal college or university, or another institution 
of higher education whose minority student enrollment is at least 50 
    Section 204(a)(2)(B)(vi) of Title II authorizes NIDRR to support 
``related activities which hold the promise of increasing knowledge and 
improving methods in the rehabilitation of individuals with 
disabilities . . . particularly individuals . . . who are members of 
populations that are unserved or underserved by programs under this 
Act.'' Section 202(h)(2)(F) requires that the LRP ``specify plans for 
widespread dissemination of the results of covered activities that 
concern individuals with disabilities who are members of minority 
groups or of populations that are unserved or underserved by programs 
carried out under this Act.''
    The LRP, published in proposed form in the Federal Register on 
October 26, 1998, recognizes the existence of unique issues for 
disabled individuals from minority backgrounds, and also commits NIDRR 
to implement capacity building activities to address these problems. 
The LRP is based on a ``new paradigm of disability'' that defines 
disability as a product of the interaction between individual factors 
and the characteristics of the natural, built, cultural, and social 
environments. Two implications of the new paradigm for research are the 
need to understand and assess the contextual variables that, in part, 
comprise disability, and the concomitant need to develop the capacity 
of the research field to address these factors. These contextual 
variables include demographics, culture, income, education, familial 
supports, community accessibility, and attitudinal variables, among 
other factors.
    The LRP also identifies an ``emerging universe of disability,'' 
defined as an increasingly disproportionate distribution of disability, 
and its causes and consequences, among different social and economic 
groupings in

[[Page 29191]]

American society. In particular, the increasing importance of poverty, 
isolation, and low educational levels--all of which are strongly 
correlated with minority status--as both causes and consequences of 
disability has important implications for how research is conducted and 
for the development of the capacity of researchers to conduct studies 
of these factors.
    The LRP also commits NIDRR to advance the capacity for rigorous 
qualitative and quantitative research and use of state-of-the-art 
methodologies by providing advanced training for researchers, including 
those with disabilities and those from minority backgrounds; develop 
the capacity of researchers to explicate disability as a contextual 
phenomenon; and to prepare researchers to conduct disability studies 
that incorporate the cultural context of disability. The LRP also 
includes a specific provision for increasing the disability research 
capacity of institutions of higher education that serve primarily 
minority students. NIDRR has a history of and commitment to making 
research an inclusive, collaborative, and coordinated undertaking. 
Adherence to this principle has resulted in on-going capacity building 
efforts that involve training those who participate in all aspects of 
the disability and rehabilitation research field.
    NIDRR recognizes the need to expand the scope of its capacity 
building activities to increase the participation of persons from 
minority backgrounds and to increase awareness of minority issues among 
all NIDRR researchers. NIDRR believes that the quality and benefits of 
research related to minorities with disabilities can be enhanced by 
providing information, training, collaborations, and linkages to 
expertise for both minority and other researchers in the disability 


    The Secretary will establish a DRRP to improve the quality and 
utility of research related to minority individuals with disabilities 
by (a) building capacity of researchers, especially those from minority 
backgrounds, to conduct disability research, especially related to 
rehabilitation of minorities, and (b) enhancing knowledge and awareness 
of issues related to minority individuals with disabilities among 
disability and rehabilitation researchers generally. The project must:
    (1) Identify barriers to collaboration and information exchange 
among minority entities, Indian tribes, and other disability 
researchers, especially NIDRR-funded projects and centers, and develop 
strategies to overcome those barriers;
    (2) Facilitate on-going communication, collaboration, and exchange 
of expertise between minority entities--including Indian tribes--and 
researchers, especially NIDRR grantees, to implement the strategies 
identified in paragraph (1); and
    (3) Develop and provide training activities, including but not 
limited to conferences, workshops, in-service training, and distance 
education, that will: (a) expand knowledge about minorities with 
disabilities; (b) improve research skills and familiarity with 
appropriate methodologies, including the skills of researchers from 
minority populations; and (c) enhance the capacity for appropriate 
dissemination of information about and to underserved populations with 

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may review this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at either of the 
following sites:

    To use the PDF you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader Program with 
Search, which is available free at either of the preceding sites. If 
you have questions about using the PDF, call the U.S. Government 
Printing Office (GPO) at (202) 512-1530 or, toll free at 1-888-293-

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO access at:


    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR Part 350.

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 760-762.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.133A, Disability 
and Rehabilitation Research Projects)

    Dated: May 25, 1999.
Judith E. Heumann,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 99-13646 Filed 5-27-99; 8:45 am]