Student Services

What’s the Difference between IDEA and 504?

IEP documentation:

IDEA: A written individualized education program (IEP) is required.

  • Section 504: A plan describing placement and services is required, but an IEP is not.

Related Services

  • IDEA: Related services that may help a student benefit from special education, such as speech
    therapy, are required.
  • Section 504: Services for all students must be equal. A school may provide general or special education to ensure
    equality, but additional services are not required.

Evaluation Consent

  • IDEA: Parents’ consent to perform an evaluation is
    generally required.
  • Section 504: Parents’ consent to perform an initial evaluation is
    generally required. Parents need to be notified before reevaluation.

Available Funding

  • IDEA: Federal funding is provided to help states with
    special education costs.
  • Section 504: Federal funding is not provided.

Eligibility

  • IDEA: All students eligible under IDEA are also eligible
    for Section 504.
  • Section 504: Not all students who are eligible for Section 504 are
    also eligible for IDEA.

Age Requirements

  • IDEA: In general, services must be provided to eligible
    students between the ages of 3 and 21 – ages
    may vary in different states. (Children under 3
    maybe eligible for early intervention services
    under Part C.)
  • Section 504: There are no age requirements under Section 504.

Parent Involvement

  • IDEA: Generally required. 
  • Section 504: Recommended.

Language Requirement

  • IDEA: Information must be provided to parents in 
    the language they understand.
  • Section 504: Same requirement as IDEA.

Private School Placement

  • IDEA: If a school can’t provide free, appropriate
    public education and must place a student in a
    private facility, the costs are paid for by the
    home school district.
  • Section 504: Placement decisions are generally made on a case-by case
    basis.

Costs

  • IDEA: Parents are only required to pay for fees that
    are also charged to students without
    disabilities.
  • Section 504: Parents are only required to pay fees for services that
    parents of students without disabilities must pay for,
    such as locker fees.
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Published by Shirley Carter on April 21, 2020
        

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