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What is 504?

A 504 Plan helps a child with special health care needs to fully participate in school. Usually, a 504 Plan is used by a general education student who is not eligible for special education services. A 504 Plan lists accommodations related to the child’s disability and required by the child so that he or she may participate in the general classroom setting and educational programs.


What are some differences between IDEA and Section 504 Plans?
Issue
Section 504
Special Education
PurposeA Civil Rights Act that gives individuals with disabilities the opportunity to fully participate with their peers to the greatest extent possible.An Education Act, that provides a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to children who qualify under one or more of the 14 broad categories
Responsibility General EducationSpecial Education
Funding Provides no additional fundingProvides additional federal funding to states and school districts
CoversAll persons with disabilitiesAges 3-21
Administration Section 504 CoordinatorSpecial Education Director
Service PlanAccommodation PlanIndividualized Education Program
Disabilities Any disability, if eligible14 qualifying categories
Parents Should be involved in all team meetingsMust be involved in all team meetings
Procedural Safeguards Notice of consent of parents is requiredParent consent and notice required for initial evaluation, placement, and reevaluation
Evaluation and Eligibility An evaluation is necessary before it can be determined if a child is eligible under Section 504. Documentation can be gathered from a variety of sources instead of completing a formal school evaluation.Evaluation draws on information from a variety sources in the area of concern. A group decision (including parents) is made with persons knowledgeable about the student, evaluation data and placement options. Written parental consent is not required to evaluate, however prior notice must be provided.
Requirements for Delivering Services
Does not require a written plan but does require written documentation that services were provided. Requires the school to provide reasonable accommodations, supports and auxiliary aides.
Defines “Appropriate Education” as comparable to the one provided to general education students.
Requires a written Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Defines “Appropriate Education” as a program reasonably calculated to provide “educational benefit” to the student.