Special Populations are identified in the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) as CTE students that are eligible for additional supports and services to help ensure program accessibility and assist them in overcoming barriers that may limit their opportunity for success.

Under Perkins V - the nine special populations include:

1. Students with disabilities

  1. a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual;
  2. a record of such an impairment; or
  3. being regarded as having such an impairment.

2. Students from economically disadvantaged families, including low-income youth and adults

  1. receives, or in the past 6 months has received, or is a member of a family that is receiving or in the past 6 months has received, assistance through the supplemental nutrition assistance program, the temporary assistance for needy families program, or the supplemental security income program, or State or local income-based public assistance;
  2. is in a family with total family income that does not exceed the higher of—
    1. the poverty line; or
    2. 70 percent of the lower living standard income level;
  3. is a homeless individual (as defined in section 41403(6) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 H. R. 803—12 (42 U.S.C. 14043e–2(6))), or a homeless child or youth (as defined under section 725(2) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11434a(2)));
  4. receives or is eligible to receive a free or reduced price lunch under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.);
  5. is a foster child on behalf of whom State or local government payments are made;
  6. is an individual with a disability whose own income meets the income requirement of (b.), but who is a member of a family whose income does not meet this requirement.

3. Students preparing for nontraditional fields

  1. an individual entering an occupation or field of work for which that individuals’ gender comprises less than 25% of those employed in said occupation or field of work.

4. Single parents, including single pregnant women

  1. an individual who is unmarried or legally separated from a spouse and has a minor child or children for which the parent has either custody or joint custody or is pregnant.

5. Out-of-workforce individuals

  1. an individual who is a displaced homemaker, as defined in section 3 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3102); or
  2. an individual who –
    1. has worked primarily without renumeration to care for a home and family, and for that reason has diminished marketable skills; or
      1. is a parent whose youngest dependent child will become ineligible to receive assistance under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) not later than 2 years after the date of which the parent applies for assistance under such title; and
      2. is unemployed or underemployed and is experiencing difficulty in obtaining or upgrading employment.

6. English Learners

  1. a secondary school student who is an English learner, as defined in section 8101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
  2. an adult or an out-of-school youth who has limited ability in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language and –
    1. whose native language is a language other than English; or
    2. who lives in a family environment or community in which a language other than English is the dominant language.

7. Homeless students described in Section 725 of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

  1. an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and
  2. includes –
    1. children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;
    2. children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
    3. children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
    4. migratory children (such term is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in (a) through (c).4

8. Youth who are in, or have aged out of, the foster care system

  1. a minor placed into an alternative living environment due to neglect or abuse by their legal guardian; or
  2. an individual in foster care who has reached their 21st birthday and aged-out of the system.

9. Youth with a parent who –

  1. is a member of the armed forces (such term is defined in section 101(a)(4) of title 10, United States Code); and
  2. is on active duty (such term is defined in section 101(d)(1) of title 10, United States Code.)

Special Populations Webinar Series:

Super Strategies 

Special Populations Resources