DURHAM, N.H. — The University of New Hampshire is getting a $4.3 million federal grant to help improve data on disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Education grant is going to the Institute on Disability at UNH, which was established in 1987 to provide a university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to people with disabilities.

The grant works toward improving knowledge about and access to existing disability data and generating knowledge needed to improve future disability data collection and dissemination.

“Statistics are powerful tools — in research, policymaking, program evaluation, and advocacy,” said Andrew Houtenville, research director at the Institute on Disability and principal investigator for the grant. “They are used to frame the issues, monitor current circumstances and progress, judge the effectiveness of policies and programs, make projections about the future, and predict the costs of potential policy changes. Having accurate and timely health statistics for people with intellectual disabilities is important for moving policies and practices forward.”

Some projects proposed include research on developing recommendations and measurement tools to improve the identification of the population with disabilities and measure services, and development of national and state-level annual reports on disability.