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IEP vs. 504 Plan

The Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services.

The 504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment.

The major difference between the two is that the 504 plan covers ALL students with disabilities, regardless of whether the conditions are education related or not.

Important differences:

504 Plan

IEP

Offers all children with disabilities equal access to education. This includes both special education services as well as physical accommodations, such as a ramp.

Only applicable to students who need special education services. These special education services must produce educational benefits.

Highly tailored to individual students’ needs.

No timelines.

Timelines and deadlines in an IEP are very specific. No requirements for who must show up at meetings. There are specific requirements for how many people and who must show up for the IEP meeting. Reports of noncompliance are made to the Office for Civil Rights. Reports of noncompliance are made to the State’s Department for Education.

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