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Section 504

Tasha Fritz

Assistant Regional Administrator - Region 2

Section 504 Overview

Section 504 is a law that prohibits schools from discriminating against students with disabilities. Section 504 sets minimum standards for providing related services and aids to students with disabilities that substantially limits a major life activity. All accredited Iowa schools must comply with Section 504. This applies to elementary and secondary education, preschool and adult education, and private education. 

Who's Eligible: Under Section 504 law, a person with a disability is one who meets any of the following criteria: has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment. 

What's Required: Procedures regarding the identification, evaluation and educational placement of students with disabilities is required.  School districts must incorporate a system of procedural safeguards that include notice, an opportunity for the parents or guardian to examine relevant records, an impartial hearing, an opportunity for participation by the student’s parents or guardian, representation by counsel, and a review procedure. Section 504 requires a written plan describing placement and services. Students eligible for Section 504 services are to receive related services similar to those students eligible for special education services. 



On July 26, 2016, the OCR issued a Dear Colleague Letter regarding obligations to students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) under Section 504. Highlights of significant guidance can be found here. To view the full guidance click here. 

Sample Templates and Forms

504 Plan Sample TemplateA blank 504 plan template which districts may use to write student plans

Student Accommodation Request (SAR) FormRequired form for graduating students with 504 plans attending post-secondary education (Directions)

Medical Release Form: Iowa Department of Education release form modified with their consent to serve for Section 504; district letterhead may be placed at the top of the forms

Parental Consent FormForm to obtain parental consent prior to evaluation for 504 eligibility and notice of parental rights

Parent Guide to Section 504: sample brochure which is often used by districts to notify parents of their rights under Section 504 and serve as second notice

Section 504 ManualProvides additional guidance on responsibilities, accommodations and sample forms for districts to use. 

Educator Resources

Comparison Chart: IDEA, Section 504, and ADAComparison of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), and The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

District ResponsibilitiesProvides information on the policies and procedures that need to be in place

Building ResponsibilitiesConsiderations in providing parental notice and conducting an individual evaluation for students.

Teacher/Support Staff ResponsibilitiesSamples of accommodations and modifications for students with 504 plans. 

Decision Making Think-Abouts: questions to think-about when designing your 504 process from start to finish. 

Comparison chartIDEA vs. Section 504 process flowchart