Exceptional Children and Early Learning

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Published: 8/17/2023 8:06 AM
​​​Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, commonly shortened to Section 504, is the federal law that governs 504 plans and prohibits districts from discriminating against students on the basis of disability. A Section 504 plan addresses the unique learning needs of a student with a disability. It provides reasonable accommodations that enable the student to have equitable access to school programs and meet their learning needs. Under Section 504, students with disabilities are entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). ​

Section 504 defines FAPE to mean the provision of general or special education and related aids and services that are designed to meet the individual needs of students with disabilities as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met.

The U.S. Department of Education's (USED) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is the agency that oversees Section 504. For further information on Section 504 plans, please see the resources provided below:

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces Section 504 in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from USED. The OCR provides guidance specific to students' rights under Section 504 and Section 504 plans. For more information or to file a complaint, contact the OCR at 800-421-3481 or OCR@ed.gov.

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