What’s the difference between an IEP and a 504 plan? First, they come from different federal statutes. IEP comes from Individuals with Disability Education Act and the 504 plans come from section 504 of the rehabilitation act. A 504 plan focuses more on accommodations. Students who qualify for a 504 plan can have any disability that interferes with their ability to learn within the classroom and 504 plans are valid not only during K-12 education but also even into college education settings. Parents are also involved less in a 504 or plan legally, however, most schools do involve parents in the 504 processes. In IEP, however, to qualify, a student must have one of 13 disabilities listed in the IDEA act.
If they don’t have one of those disabilities, unfortunately, they do not qualify for an IEP. An IEP addresses accommodations and addresses specific services such as special education that the child may need during their education process and then parents are involved more in an IEP. They’re required to attend annual meetings. Both must be notified. Parents must be notified if students are evaluated for an IEP or a 504 plan. And then lastly, IEPs are different than 504 plans because IEPs have specific goals and benchmarks that students are monitored if they’re reaching those. A 504 plan just simply gives accommodations to the children within that setting. And they’re not monitored, there are no goals that they must be hitting. Both create plans that are legally binding and both creations of an IEP and a 504 have multiple team members staff at the school. And then, as I said, most of the time, parents are involved as well. Other blogs of interest include: