What is Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)?

What is Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)?
Coming up next: Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) in Special Education: Definition & Law

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:02 What Is FAPE?
  • 4:50 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jocelyn Cherry

Jocelyn has taught Special Education for over two decades and has three post secondary degrees all in the field of Education.

Free appropriate public education (FAPE) protects the educational rights of all children in the United States, especially those with disabilities or special needs. This lesson will define FAPE and its components.

What Is FAPE?

We hear the word. We know the acronym. But what is FAPE, really, and how do you ensure that you're abiding by its guidelines? Let's examine some common myths and actual facts about FAPE, or free appropriate public education.

FAPE Is a Fairly New Law

This is a myth. FAPE is an offspring of the original special education law, Public Law 94-142. When the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was updated in 1990, FAPE was added and defined with specificity to IDEA.

FAPE Means Exactly What It Says

This is a fact. All students in public schools have the educational right to free education, appropriate for their needs, under supervision.

Not All Students Are Entitled to 'Appropriate' Education

This is another myth. Everyone is entitled to an education; the differences show up in the type of environment that is appropriate for individual students. For some students, the best environment is a general education class with educational supports. Others excel in a general education class with related aids or services. Other options include a partial day in a general education class and a partial day in a special education class, or special education in a separate classroom for the entire day. Each unique student deserves to learn in the environment that works best for him or her.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account