The difference between IEPs and 504 plans

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2022 | Special Education Law

Modern advancements in educational technology have made it easier for disabled students to get ahead. First, students and their family members in Florida should learn about the different federal education programs that are designed to help them. There are major differences between IEPs and Section 504 plans that are essential to know about.

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a special education program for disabled public school students in the U.S. It is an individualized educational plan that is made with input from the child’s parents and suited to fit his or her personal needs. An IEP serves any public school student from the ages of three to 21 who has a specific learning disability or health impairment.

504 plans

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is an education law that protects individuals with various disabilities who participate in certain programs and activities. They are guaranteed to receive full benefits and not face discrimination when participating in a program that receives federal financial assistance.

Differences between plans

The IEP serves special needs students who have one of the 13 qualified disabilities as outlined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Students who have learning disabilities but do not qualify for IDEA and wish to participate in physical education are advised to enroll in a Section 504 Plan. The 504 Plan focuses more on describing the accommodations that disabled students need to participate in the same activities as their non-disabled peers.

Deciding which plan to use

Both IEPs and 504 plans provide different terms for assisting students with disabilities. Parents have to research which plans are best suited for their children, and then the students have to meet several eligibility requirements.