What is an IEP and 504?

What is an IEP?

IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. An IEP is written for a student with a disability who qualifies for special education services. The IEP is a written document that provides information on the student’s current behavior, academic performance, identified needs, goals for improvement, how the school can assist the student, and what services the school will provide. IDEA law requires that any student receiving special education services must have an up-to-date IEP.

What is a 504?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 guarantees persons with disabilities are given the same access to education. Section 504 is not a special education law and having a 504 plan does not mean that an individual will necessarily receive special education services. Instead, a 504 plan guarantees a right to education and provides individuals with accommodations (such as increased time on testing, or an environment with less stimulation) that will help them gain access to equal educational opportunities.

What is the difference between an IEP and 504?

Not all students who have disabilities require specialized instruction. For students with disabilities who do require specialized instruction, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) controls the procedural requirements, and an IEP is developed. The IDEA process is more involved than that of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and requires documentation of measurable growth. For students with disabilities who do not require specialized instruction but need the assurance that they will receive equal access to public education and services, a document is created to outline their specific accessibility requirements. Students with 504 Plans do not require specialized instruction, but, like the IEP, a 504 Plan should be updated annually to ensure that the student is receiving the most effective accommodations for his/her specific circumstances.

Source: University of Washington: What is the difference between an IEP and 504? Retrieved June 2015

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