Special Education High Cost Aid Program

The Special Education High Cost Aid program is available to local education agencies (LEAs) in Wisconsin that provided services to students with disabilities ages 3 to 21 whose individual special education costs were in excess of $30,000 for a single school year. Claims are submitted based on prior year expenses. The High Cost Claim software program will open for data entry on date to be determined. Claims for expenses incurred during 2013-2014 are due December 1, 2014. The funds are paid to eligible recipients in June 2015 for 2013-2014 costs.

To reflect the average special education cost of services provided to most students with disabilities, a $10,000 line item will be automatically added to each student eligible to receive high cost aid. This $10,000 base cost will cover pro-rated costs such as teachers, supplies, and therapists (occupational, physical and speech/language). The LEAs will select items not covered by the $10,000 cost from a drop down menu in the high cost software.

A student qualifies for high cost aid if the total cost for a student is $30,000 after special education categorical aid has been deducted. Student specific amounts reimbursed by Medicaid should not be included on the claim. Only costs associated with direct educational services provided to the student qualify for aid. Costs associated with administration or overhead are not eligible for reimbursement.

Annually, approximately $3.5 million is appropriated by the Wisconsin legislature as state categorical aid and $2 million is set aside from the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) discretionary allocation to fund the High Cost Special Education Aid program.

High Cost Criteria

Eligible Applicants

  • School Districts
  • Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESAs)
  • County Children with Disabilities Education Boards (CCDEBs)
  • Independent Charter Schools – Authorized under ss. 118.40(2r) Wis. Stats.


  • To be determined - Web-based claiming system opens for data entry
  • December 1, 2015 - Web-Based claims due for costs incurred during 2013-2014
  • June 2015 - Aid Payment: On or before the third Monday in June

High Cost Webinar

High Cost PowerPoint

The webinar and powerpoint are tools that can be used when filing the high cost aid report.  The webinar will walk you through the types of costs that are allowed and how to enter them in the special education reporting portal.  The powerpoint provides a quick reference.

Base Cost Special Education Expenditures
This document explains the $10,000 line item that will be automatically added to each student eligible to receive high cost aid. This document identifies the costs that are not normally considered "high cost." 

Costs Eligible for High Cost Reimbursement
This document includes a listing of costs eligible for high cost fund reimbursement. Discussed items include transportation, aides, and equipment.

Aid Payment Information

For more information, contact: