Impact Aid Funding Formulas

Federal funding formulas for Impact Aid include payments for the following four categories: Federal property, Basic Support Payments, payments for children with disabilities, and construction grants. The largest amount is allocated to Basic Support Payments, as illustrated in Figure 1 below, showing the percentages of total funding distributed in each category in 2009.Fiscal Year 2010 Impact Aid Funding, Total: 1.3 Billion


Figure 1. Source: Federal Education Budget Project: Federal Impact Aid Program.

Impact Aid payment calculations are based on the counts for the previous year.

While all of these areas of funding are important, School Liaisons will likely encounter a need for information about the Impact Aid Basic Support and Children With Disabilities Programs. Here are the general guidelines for all the programs:

Basic Support Payments

Basic Support Payments (BSP) account for as much as 95 percent of all Impact Aid funding. In order to be eligible for Basic Support through the Impact Aid Program, a school district must meet one of two criteria:

  • A district must have at least 3 percent or at least 400 federally connected students in their average daily attendance (ADA), or
  • Children who live on Federal property or whose parent works on Federal property must equal 10 percent of the total enrollment or 1,000 ADA.

In addition to regular Basic Support Payments, some districts are also eligible for additional funding through Heavily Impacted District Payments. A district is eligible for these payments if it is located on a military installation; has a combination of high enrollment of federally connected students, high tax rates, and low per-pupil revenues; or meets certain other criteria. In 2009, 27 school districts received these payments, which accounted for 19.7 percent of all Basic Support Payments that fiscal year.

Children With Disabilities

These payments provide additional assistance to LEAs that educate federally connected children who are eligible for services under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Supplemental payments for Children With Disabilities funds are provided in addition to Basic Support Payments. These children must have Individual Education Plans (IEP) in effect when enrollment is counted. A school district that receives these funds must use them for the increased costs of educating federally connected children with disabilities.

Payments for Property

Impact Aid also provides Payments for Property to compensate school districts for loss of local property taxes on federally owned land. These payments are for school districts that are located on military bases, Indian lands, or other types of land that are exempt from property taxes. Districts receive Impact Aid in these cases regardless of whether any school-age children live on exempted lands. Payments for Property differ from other forms of Impact Aid in this regard, as they are based on children enrolled within a given school district.

A local school district qualifies for a property payment if federally exempted lands were owned since 1938 and are equal to at least 10 percent of all assessed value within the school district.

School Construction Payments

School Construction Payments help federally impacted areas finance education capital needs, but unlike the other Impact Aid programs, they are competitive, not formula grants. Forty percent of construction funds are set aside for districts that already receive Basic Support Payments. The other 60 percent are awarded via a competitive grant process and are designed to cover emergency repairs or modernization costs.

To qualify, districts must have at least 50 percent Indian land or uniformed services children or receive funding under the Basic Support Program for Heavily Impacted Direct Payments.  Impact Aid is the only Department of Education program that allows funds to be used for school construction costs.

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