Section 504 requires school districts to provide Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to children with disabilities, who may benefit from public education, within the individual district's jurisdiction. Regardless of the child's disability, the school district must identify the child's educational needs and provide any regular or special education to satisfy the child's educational needs just as well as it does for the children without disabilities. This may be accomplished by developing an education plan for the child. When done so under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, it is referred to as a 504 plan. This 504 plan covers accommodations, services, and support the child will be receiving in order to have access to education at school. A 504 plan is different and less detailed than an Individualized Education Program (IEPs).
Section 504 supports rights for students for needs outside of the school day, such as extracurricular activities, sports, and after-school care, because Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. While the process for accommodating students varies per institution, schools generally comply with Section 504 by identifying students with disabilities and evaluating those students. If the students are eligible, they create a written accommodation plan, often called a "504 Plan." It is similar to, but often shorter than, the IDEA Individualized Education Program (IEP). Parents, teachers, and school staff are a part of the process. Parents have due process rights; where they disagree with the determinations of the school, they have a right to an impartial hearing.
Violations of Section 504 in the educational environment can be addressed locally with the education agency or with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education.