Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Children with disabilities who do not qualify for special education but need accommodations or modifications to receive an appropriate education may be entitled to what is known as a “504 Plan.”

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Children with disabilities who do not qualify for special education but need accommodations or modifications to receive an appropriate education may be entitled to what is known as a “504 Plan.”  Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on disability in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance including public pre-schools, elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools.

The purpose of Section 504 is to eliminate barriers that exclude or limit the ability of individuals with disabilities to participate in federally-funded programs to the same degree as individuals who do not have disabilities.  Under Section 504, all qualified elementary and secondary public-school students who meet the definition of an individual with a disability under Section 504 are entitled to receive regular or special education and related aids and services that are designed to meet their individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of students without disabilities are met.

Section 504 also requires, among other things, that a student with a disability receive an equal opportunity to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities. Schools are required to establish policies and procedures for evaluating and identifying qualified children with disabilities and for determining the accommodations, modifications, supports and/or services they require to have equal access to the education and programs the school offers.  In addition, schools must establish procedural safeguards including notice to parents of any action the school proposes and the opportunity for an impartial hearing to settle any related disputes.

Some resources related to Section 504 are below.  Additional resources including those relating to transition services are located on our Special Education page.


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