Compensatory Education (Comp Ed)

Parents with concerns about their child’s access to special education services can contact
DRC-NH to speak with an attorney free of charge

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Your Child’s Special Education Rights Remain in Place Despite the Pandemic

1. Young child with medium light skin tone works at their desk while wearing a white mask. Teacher with light skin tone wears a white mask and looks over the student’s shoulder. Other students and desks are visible in the background.

State and federal special education laws like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) do not contain exceptions for unforeseen circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, COVID-19 has not excused school districts from delivering the services required in a student’s individualized education program (IEP). Nor have school districts been permitted to change IEPs to accommodate school closures, if those changes do not benefit students.

Compensatory Education (Comp Ed)

Student with medium light skin tone, black hair, and blue shirt with red scarf focuses on school work at a light colored table. Containers of pencils and crayons are nearby.

When a student with a disability has not received a free appropriate public education (FAPE), the school district may be required to provide the student with compensatory education services or “comp ed.” The purpose of comp ed services is to place the student in the same position they would have been in had the student received a FAPE.

Just like all special education services, the type and amount of comp ed your child should receive is determined based on the student’s individual needs. School Districts and parents should work together to determine whether students require comp ed and what compensatory services are needed as a result of school closures and remote learning. Even if schools have been closed or are only teaching remotely, comp ed should be considered to make up required services and educational opportunities missed by students with IEPs.

Besides special education and related services, missed education opportunities may include direct instruction in core academics, like language arts and science, as well as opportunities to make progress in annual IEP goals, such as forming relationships with peers. If your student requires compensatory education services, request an IEP team meeting to discuss what services, instruction, or other educational opportunities your student requires to receive a FAPE. The school district should provide a written decision in response to your request (called a written prior notice). If you disagree with the decision, you have options like filing a complaint. You can learn more about these options at education/special-education.


Disability Rights Center – New Hampshire is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers for people with disabilities across New Hampshire. DRC is the federally designated protection and advocacy agency for New Hampshire and has authority under federal law to conduct investigations in cases of probable abuse or neglect.

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