What is the difference between an IEP and 504 Plan?

A 504 Plan is a plan for how a school district will provide a child with a disability a “Free Appropriate Public Education” to ensure the child has the same access to the learning environment as their non-impaired peers. An IEP is a plan for how a school district will provide a child with a disability a “Free Appropriate Public Education” to ensure the child can make meaningful educational progress. A 504 Plan covers all students with disabilities that impair a major life activity that may interfere with the child’s ability to learn in a general education classroom. An IEP is for children with one or more of 13 specific disabilities that affect the child’s educational performance and/or the child’s ability to learn and benefit from the education curriculum. Children with IEPs have additional procedural protections if they are facing school discipline. The two plans also differ in the way that disputes are resolved; 504 Plans require schools to offer an impartial hearing to parents who have complaints, while IEP disputes are typically resolved through a due process hearing.

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