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Who Is Eligible for Federal Quota?

In order for students to be eligible for registration in The Federal Quota Program, they MUST meet the requirements as outlined in An Act to Promote the Education of the Blind.

All eligible students must:

Meet the definition of blindness (MDB)—a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less (using a Snellen chart or an acuity determined in Snellen equivalents) in the better eye with the best correction or a peripheral field of vision no greater than 20 degrees,


Function at the definition of blindness (FDB)—when visual function meets the definition of blindness as determined by an eye care specialist (ophthalmologist or optometrist) or other medical doctor such as a neurologist. Students in this category manifest unique visual characteristics often found in conditions referred to as neurological, cortical, or cerebral visual impairment (e.g. brain injury or dysfunction).

NOTE: Educational vision assessments are not acceptable documentation and medical diagnosis are not accepted to verify eligibility.


If neither are met, school-aged students may also be eligible because they:

  • Qualify under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) definition of blindness: an impairment in vision, that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance (34 CFR §300.8(c)(13)).*
  • NOTE: School-aged students should be registered as MDB or FDB first if there is a choice. IDEA is to be reported for school-aged students who qualify but do not meet MDB or FDB.

Additionally, eligible students must:

  • Be enrolled in a formally organized public or private, nonprofit educational program of less than college level.
  • School-aged students including infants, toddlers and preschool students must be enrolled with the registering school or agency on the first Monday in January.
  • Adult students must complete 120 hours of documented educational work in the preceding calendar year.

The educational programs providing services to these students can include public, private, and parochial schools.

There is NO chronological age limit for eligibility. Federal law limits registration to persons working at less than college level but places no restriction on the ages of eligible students.


Eligibility of Adults
There are two types of adults eligible for registration in the Federal Quota Program:

  1. School-aged students registered with the Department of Education, aged 22 and over, are required by the federal government to be registered as adults in their grade field. If these students have a guardian, even though they are over age 18, they must have a guardian permission on file.
  2. Adults in vocational or rehabilitation programs who have received a minimum of 120 hours of documented instruction in the previous calendar year also qualify for registration in this program. Social and leisure programs do not qualify as instruction. Student practice to develop skills can be included in instructional hours. These students should be registered by an agency serving adults in a vocational or rehabilitation program. Adults with a guardian must have parent/legal guardian permission.

Eligibility of Infants—Eligible infants (birth to three) can be registered if they are enrolled in a formally organized, regularly scheduled educational or training program and have a written education plan. An individualized family service plan (IFSP) or any other written plan may be used. They can be registered with a note from their pediatrician, or any eye care specialist, stating they meet the definition of blindness since an actual acuity is impossible to obtain at this age. Parent permissions are required for all students in the birth to three age group.

Eligibility of School-Aged Students—Eligible children (preschool through high school) can be registered if they are enrolled in a formally organized, regularly scheduled educational or training program and have a written education plan. An IFSP, an individualized education program (IEP) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or any other written education plan may be used. Parent permissions are required for all students in preschool through their eighteenth birthday. If the child has a guardian, a parent/legal guardian is still required no matter the age.

Eligibility of Homebound Students—Eligible homebound students can be registered if they are enrolled in a formally organized, regularly scheduled educational or training program, have a written education plan, and parent permission.

Home Schooled Students—In order for students who are blind and low vision and are home schooled to prove eligible for registration, the home school program should meet the guidelines and/or procedures in effect within each individual state. Students must have a written education plan and parent permission.

How does the Federal Quota Program work?

There are designated Trustees in all of the United States and outlying areas who manage Federal Quota accounts and the registration of the students in their program. These trustees participate in a yearly census and then, based on the final registration of students, the government provides federal funds for the purchase of specialized educational materials. The funds, based on the registration count provided by the Trustee, go into an account that the Trustee uses to purchase educational materials for the students they have registered.

Most Trustees use a loan program to maximize the use of different products each year since the funds are limited. Once the materials are no longer needed by a student, they are returned to the Trustee and shared with another student. This process happens every year a student is registered.

How Do I Register My Student?

To register a student, you must speak with the Trustee who manages the account where the student resides in your state. APH maintains a directory of EOTs in each state and the accounts they manage.