The Difference Between IEPs and 504 Plans

Sue, Jason


APA Citation

The Understood Team. (n.d.) The difference between IEPs and 504 plans. Retrieved from


Individual Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 plans, both serve similar purposes in provided tailored education for students with special needs at no cost to the parent, but one of the differences is that Section 504 has a much broader definition to disability than the  Individual Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The means that if a child may not qualify for an IEP then he or she may qualify for a 504 plan. The team that creates an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is narrowly defined and must include a child’s parent, at least one of the child’s general educations teachers, a psychologist, and a school district special education specialist. In comparison, the regulation on the requirements of a 504 planning team is much less specific. A typical 504 planning team may include a child’s guardian, a general education teacher, and the school principal.


The Difference Between IEPs and 504 Plans is a good overview on the differences between Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 Plans. It doesn’t go into detail on either but is an outstanding resource for someone who is curious about the differences between these two programs.

Jolene Nechiporenko


Gewertz, C. (2013).  A common core for everyone. Education Week. 33(10), S4-S6.

The Common Core Challenge for Special Educators

Catherine Gewertz discuses the common core and how it will be an additional challenge for already challenged students, especially when it comes to standardized testing.  She discusses the well intended principle of universal testing and the overall stress put on educators.

“…accommodations might not be enough for some students who are used to assistive technologies that might not dovetail well with the consortium tests.  Advocates for special-needs students worry that those children’s test performances could be compromised if they’re not allowed to use the support they’re accustomed to.”

“Rhetoric around teaching the common core often points to the standards’ promise for those students most in need of deeper, more rigorous study.  But for some educators, conversations about how to fulfill that promise have stalled at a frustrating abstract level.”