Parent Training and Information Center - IDEA Part D
IEP/ 504 Frequently Asked Questions
There are many factors involved in determining a student's educational setting, especially a student with a disability. Although the assessment process for either service can at times seem stressful, it's important to remember that one service is not "better" than the other. For example, a parent may feel that because the student qualifies for a 504 plan, but not an IEP, that the child is not getting a premier educational experience. This is not the case. In fact, in many situations an IEP can add more restrictions and limitations than a 504 plan. It is always best to provide an education to a student with a disability in the least restrictive environment possible so they can access the general education curriculum and achieve greater independence. Here is a list of commonly asked questions regarding IEPs and 504 Plans.
Who is eligible for an IEP or a 504 Plan?
To be eligible for an IEP, a student has to meet all Three Prongs of Eligibility:
- The student has a disability according to the established Idaho criteria
- The student’s condition adversely affects educational performance
- The student needs specially designed instruction and related services
Eligibility for a 504 plan is determined by each district which has their own determination process
Which laws cover these services?
IEPs fall under The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
504 Plans fall under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
What are the main differences in services provided?
An IEP provides specific, individualized instruction to meet the needs of a student with a qualifying disability.
A 504 plan provides only the accommodations needed to remove barriers to allow the student to access general education.
Who is involved in the implementation of these services?
The individuals involved in an IEP are the parents, general education teacher, special education teacher and a district representative.
There are no required team members in a 504 Plan and a school can implement a 504 plan without parent consent.
What happens if there is a disagreement or dispute?
For IEPs, parents and districts have access to Dispute Resolution through the State Department of Education
For 504 Plans, each district has their own Section 504 dispute resolution process. Parents can also file complaints with the Office for Civil Rights
If you want to discuss the differences in greater detail, please call the IPUL office to speak to one of our Parent Education Coordinators.