504 Plan

What is a 504 Plan?

A 504 Plan is a framework designed under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to ensure that a student with a disability identified under the law receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment. Unlike special education plans such as IEPs (Individualized Education Programs), which require school districts to provide individualized special education and related services, a 504 Plan modifies a student’s regular education program in a regular classroom setting. It is intended to provide equal access and opportunities to students who have disabilities that significantly impact one or more major life activities.

How do 504 plans support students in schools?

504 Plans support students by providing specific modifications, accommodations, or adaptations to help them access and benefit from their educational environment on the same basis as their non-disabled peers. These accommodations can include, but are not limited to, physical adaptations in the classroom, the use of special equipment, adjustments in teaching methods and test-taking settings, and provision of additional services such as speech, occupational, or physical therapy. The goal is to minimize the barriers that students with disabilities might face that hinder their academic performance and participation in school activities.

What are the key differences between a 504 plan and an IEP?

The key differences between a 504 Plan and an IEP (Individualized Education Program) primarily lie in their scope, legal framework, and specific provisions:

  1. Legal Framework: A 504 Plan is developed under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination based on disability in programs that receive federal financial assistance. In contrast, an IEP is governed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which requires schools to provide special education and related services to eligible students with disabilities.
  2. Eligibility: Eligibility for a 504 Plan requires a student to have any disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities. An IEP requires a student to have one of the specific disabilities listed in IDEA, which affects their educational performance and need for specialized instruction.
  3. Educational Services: While IEPs are focused on providing individualized special education and related therapeutic services, 504 Plans are designed to provide supports that allow students to stay in the general education classroom and ensure equal access to educational opportunities and activities.
  4. Plan Content: IEPs are generally more detailed and include specific educational goals, with progress closely monitored and reviewed at least annually. A 504 Plan is less prescriptive and focuses more on accommodations and modifications rather than on special education services.
504 plans

Related Articles