Student Support - 504 Programs

Section 504 Information & Resources

What is Section 504?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a Federal Law ensuring access to public services. In education, it provides access to a Free appropriate Public Education, as laid out by the Federal Department of education.

What does a Section 504 plan do for a student?

Section 504 accommodations removes barriers for students with disabilities.

Is a 504 plan required before assessment for special education can be requested?

No.  Parents/guardians are within their rights to request special education assessment at any time with or without a 504 plan.

Requesting Section 504 Evaluation

  • If you think your child needs a 504 plan, ask to speak to the 504 coordinator (or the principal) at your child’s school, to request a Section 504 evaluation

  • Provide information regarding your child’s suspected disability to the school site (i.e. diagnosis, educational or health-related reports)
  • Be a part of the team that helps decide the appropriate accommodations for your child; you are an expert

What is the Difference between an IEP and a 504 Plan?

What it does:

  • An IEP is a blueprint or plan for a child’s special education experience at school.
  • A 504 plan is a blueprint or plan for how the school will provide support and remove barriers for a student with a disability.

What law applies:

Who is eligible

To get an IEP, there are two requirements:

  1. A child has one or more of the 13 disabilities listed in IDEA. The law lists specific challenges, like learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, and others.
  2. The disability must affect the child’s educational performance and/or ability to learn and benefit from the general education curriculum. The child must need specialized instruction to make progress in school.

To get a 504 plan, there are two requirements:

  1. A child has any disability. Section 504 covers a wide range of different struggles in school.
  2. The disability must interfere with the child’s ability to learn in a general education classroom.

Section 504 has a broader definition of a disability than IDEA. (It says a disability must substantially limit one or more basic life activities. This can include learning, reading, communicating, and thinking or others.) That’s why a child who doesn’t qualify for an IEP might still be able to get a 504 plan.

For more information visit https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/504-plan/the-difference-between-ieps-and-504-plans


Need more information regarding Section 504?

Contact the SFUSD 504 District Coordinator: Michele Mcadams mcadamsd@sfusd.edu in the Student, Family, and Community Support Department