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The value to students

IEPs and 504 plans

IEP's and 504 plans have 5 major differences:

  • IEPs are required by law, while 504 plans are not.

  • IEPs must be reviewed and updated annually, while 504 plans do not have to be.

  • IEPs are developed by a team of educators and other professionals, while 504 plans can be developed by parents or guardians without input from school personnel.

  • IEPs must include specific goals and objectives for the child, while 504 plans do not have to.

  • IEPs can provide more specialized services and supports than 504 plans, such as related services like speech therapy or behavioral interventions.

IEP Plans vs. 504 Plans

IEP vs 504

There are many differences between an IEP and a 504 plan, but the legal one is different laws govern them. The differences between these two laws dictate what types of services a student would receive based on their disability.

IEP's are governed under special education law

  • Education Act (IDEA)

  • A function of Special Education

  • To be qualified for an IEP, there has to be a qualifying disability or condition (list 13 disabilities)

  • Also has to affect their performance in the classroom adversely

  • Concentrating on what the student is learning

  • Accommodations

  • Has specially designed instruction (SDI)

  • Requires specific team members

  • Long term plans based on 1 year progress markers and 3 year redetermination of eligibility

  • Parent consent required

  • States received additional funding for special education students

504 is governed under civil rights law

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

  • A function of General Education

  • 504 disability is getting in the way of ability to learn in the classroom

  • Concentrating on how the student is learning

  • Accommodations

  • No specially designed instruction (SDI)

  • Does not require specific team members

  • Long or short term plans based on need of the student and disability

  • Parent consent recommended (check your state and district guides to be safe)

  • State do not receive additional funding for students with 504 plans

Both IEP's and 504's require a process for student evaluation and these services are provided to the family free of charge as the schools work to meet the needs of the student receiving the plan.