Order Code RS20042
Updated June 8, 2001
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
The Federal Emergency Immigrant Education
Analyst in Social Legislation
Domestic Social Policy Division
The Emergency Immigrant Education Program (EIEP), authorized in Title VII, Part
C of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), provides formula grants to
state educational agencies for distribution to local educational agencies serving large
numbers of immigrant children and youth. The term “immigrant children and youth”
includes foreign born individuals ages 3-21 who have been attending U.S. schools for less
than 3 years. In FY2000, the program received an appropriation of $150,000,000 and
served 862,252 immigrant students. The program received an appropriation of
$150,000,000 for FY2001. Some issues Congress may consider when discussing
program reauthorization include: whether the EIEP should be consolidated with other
federal education programs serving immigrant pupils; whether criteria should be changed
to target LEAs with greatest need for support; and whether increased accountability is
necessary to ensure effective use of federal funds. This report will be updated
periodically to reflect program developments.
Introduction and Background
The Emergency Immigrant Education Act (EIEA) was first authorized under Title
VI of the Education Amendments of 1984 (P.L. 98-511) in response to the challenges
facing school districts with large numbers of new immigrant students. The program
provides supplemental assistance to states and local educational agencies (LEAs) serving
immigrant students. Under the original act, funds were allocated to applicant states, which
then distributed the funds to eligible LEAs based on the number of immigrant students
enrolled, with a maximum payment of $500 for each immigrant child. Grants were
reduced by the amount of funds made available to state educational agencies through other
federal programs having the same purpose as the EIEA program. In 1988, the EIEA was
added to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (P.L. 100-297).
The current EIEP, authorized by Title VII, Part C of the ESEA (as amended by P.L.
103-382 in 1994), provides formula grants to states based on the number of recent
immigrant students enrolled in public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools.
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
To be eligible for assistance, during the fiscal year, LEAs must have an enrollment of at
least 500 immigrant students, or 3% of total enrollment must consist of qualified
immigrant students. Students eligible for EIEP services are those children and youth not
born in the U.S., between the ages of 3-21, and who have been attending schools in the
U.S. for less than 3 school years. Following application and distribution of formula grants
to states, the SEAs distribute funds to eligible LEAs within the state according to the
number of immigrant children and youth enrolled.1 The EIEP no longer includes grant
reductions or the $500 per child maximum.
EIEP grants may be used for the following: 1) activities to help increase parental
involvement in a child’s education; 2) salaries of personnel with specific training in serving
immigrant children and youth; 3) tutoring, mentoring or counseling for immigrant students;
4) identification and purchase of curricular materials; and 5) basic instructional services
directly related to the presence of immigrant students in the school district. The costs of
providing additional classroom supplies, overhead, construction, acquisition or rental of
space, transportation, or other services directly attributable to additional basic instructional
services are allowed. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) may also authorize other
activities related to educating immigrant students, if deemed necessary. Typically students
do not receive services aimed specifically at immigrants, but rather are treated as part of
the bilingual or ESL program, although no specific educational approach is required in this
program. 2 Bilingual education is an educational program for limited English proficient
students that makes instructional use of both English and a student’s native language.
English as a Second Language (ESL), is an educational program which places little
emphasis on the student’s native language while expecting a relatively rapid grasp of
English (2-3 years).
Each state applying for assistance must submit a count of the number of immigrant
children and youth enrolled during a specific month, specified by ED, during the fiscal year
in which the grant will be made. States then receive an allocation equal to the proportion
of the number of immigrant students enrolled in eligible LEAs, relative to the overall
number of immigrant children and youth enrolled in all states participating in the program.
Funds are then allocated to eligible LEAs by formula, based on their enrollment of
immigrant students. States may reserve up to 1.5% of the total grant for administrative
If the aggregate amount appropriated to the EIEP for a fiscal year exceeds
$50,000,000, each state educational agency (SEA) may reserve up to 20% of its allocation
to conduct a competitive grant process. At least half of these discretionary grants must
be made available to eligible LEAs having the highest numbers and percentages of eligible
Proof of legal or permanent residency status is not required for this program.
COSMOS Corporation. New Land, New Knowledge: An Evaluation of Two Education
Programs Serving Refugee and Immigrant Students. Prepared for the U.S. Department of
Education, Contract No. LC 89022001. Washington, DC. 1993.
immigrant students. The remainder of the funds may be distributed to LEAs experiencing
a sudden influx of immigrant students but which are otherwise not eligible for an EIEP
formula grant. FY2000 and FY2001 appropriations language overrides this language,
allowing states to distribute any or all of their formula allocations through a competitive
In FY2000, 862,252 children were served by the program (Table 1). Nearly twothirds of these children live in five states: California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and
Texas. Over 20% of the total student population served was in California. The most
recent ED statistics show that during the 1995-96 school year, among the top ten
countries of origin (which made up two thirds of EIEP participants), 48% were from
Spanish-speaking countries,3 with students of Mexican origin making up 39% of the
Table 1. Emergency Immigrant Education Program, FY00 State
immigrant students, immigrant students, Percent change, Grant award for
FY99 to FY00
U.S. Department of Education. Biennial Report to Congress on the Emergency Immigrant
Education Program. Washington, DC. June 5, 1999.
immigrant students, immigrant students, Percent change, Grant award for
FY99 to FY00
Source: U.S. Department of Education.
a = There are an insufficient number of immigrant children to qualify for program participation.
na = not applicable
Funding for the EIEP doubled between FY1996 and FY1997, from $50,000,000 to
$100,000,000 (Table 2). LEAs received, on average, approximately $173 in EIEP
support per immigrant pupil for FY2000. The FY2001 appropriation is $150,000,000.
After adjusting for price level changes, program funding decreased steadily through 1993.
However, beginning in FY1994, program funding has increased, resulting in an overall
increase, in real terms, of 231% since 1984.
Table 2. Emergency Immigrant Education Program Appropriations
Year to year
Appropriation in estimated percentage changes in
These figures were calculated using the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) deflator to adjust funding data
for price level changes.
Evaluations of the EIEP, in the form of mandated biennial reports to Congress,
provide information regarding program participation and grant expenditures; however,
these reports have not provided information regarding the program’s overall effectiveness
in improving pupil outcomes. Aside from these reports, only one other evaluation of the
EIEP has been conducted. A 1993 study by COSMOS Corporation provides background
information on the EIEP, along with detailed LEA-level data. However, like the biennial
reports, this evaluation did not include information on student outcomes.
Legislation in the 106th and 107th Congresses
The 106th Congress considered several proposals for reauthorizing the ESEA,
including the EIEP. Neither of the major House and Senate proposals, H.R. 2 and S. 2,
would have made substantive changes to the EIEP. The 107th Congress has again been
considering legislation to reauthorize the ESEA, including the EIEP. H.R. 1, the “No
Child Left Behind Act of 2001” was passed by the House on May 23, 2001. S. 1, the
“Better Education for Students and Teachers Act” was reported in the Senate Committee
on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and is currently under consideration, as
amended by SA358, in the Senate. H.R. 1 would replace the current EIEP and BEA with
a consolidated program of formula grants to states for the education of students nonEnglish language backgrounds and having difficulty understanding English, either as recent
immigrants or for other reasons. Funds would be distributed based on each state’s share
of limited English proficient student enrollment. Currently, the BEA offers discretionary
grants, while the EIEP provides formula grants to states. Under S. 1, the EIEP would be
unchanged when appropriations fall below $700 million, and would be consolidated into
a state formula grant program when appropriations are above $700 million. Under the
formula program, states would receive a share of funds based 67% on limited English
proficient student enrollment and 33% based on immigrant enrollment. States would
reserve up to 15% of their formula allocations to provide discretionary grants to LEAs for
services to immigrant students, as well as their families.
Should the EIEP be Consolidated with the BEA? Consolidating the EIEP
with the BEA would eliminate the targeting of funds to LEAs serving large numbers of
immigrant students. Eliminating the EIEP as a separate program could harm LEAs
needing resources to respond to sudden influxes of immigrant children. However, most
LEAs combine EIEP funds with funding from other sources for bilingual and English
language instruction, that in addition to serving immigrant students, also serve other
children. Data reported by states indicate that the majority of EIEP funds (79% in 19931994) were used for English language instruction for immigrant students.
Should the LEA Eligibility Criteria be Changed to Target Areas Most in
Need of Support? By increasing the percentage or number of immigrant students
enrolled within an LEA to be eligible for EIEP funds, the program would target the LEAs
most in need of EIEP assistance, thus providing more funding for each student served.
However, with the increases in funding available per student since FY1997 arguments for
this approach may not be persuasive; immigrant students may be served by other
programs. In addition, this could harm LEAs with smaller overall student enrollments who
may find themselves in need of assistance from the EIEP.
Should There be Increased Accountability for Recipients of EIEP
Funds? EIEP evaluations have lacked analysis of the program’s effectiveness.
However, it is difficult to determine the effect of the EIEP on student outcomes, since
funds are pooled with other resources serving immigrant students.