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.
Section 504 also 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 evaluation process.
A student who may need specialized instruction or programs within the intent of Section 504 is one who:
Students may be eligible under the provisions of Section 504 even though they do not require services pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Parents who believe that they have a child who may qualify for special services or programs under Section 504 should contact the Campus 504 Coordinator at the home campus. In addition, parents who believe that they have a child who may qualify for special education services or programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) should contact the home campus office for more information.
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.
For more information on submitting accommodation requests to College Board, please visit their website.