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Section 504

Section 504

Guidelines for the Implementation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973



Background Information

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 required that federal fund recipients make their programs and activities available to all individuals with disabilities. Section 504 of the Act protects persons from discrimination based on their disability status. A person is disabled within the definition of Section 504 if he or she:


  1. Has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activities.
  2. Has a record of such impairments.
  3. Is regarded as having such impairment.

“Major life activities include functions such as caring for one ’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.” When a condition does not substantially limit a major life activity, the individual does not qualify under Section 504.


Points to Consider


  1. Services that are provided under Section 504 are to occur within the regular classroom setting.
  2. Students that are suspected of having a disability that falls under Section 504 will need to be evaluated.
  3. A group of educators (preferably a Student Assistance Team or group of educators that is familiar with the student) must review the nature of the disability and how it affects the student’s education.
  4. All decisions about Section 504 eligibility and services must be documented in the student’s file and reviewed periodically.
  5. Although Section 504 does not require an IEP with annual goals and objectives, it is recommended that the school document the services and/or accommodations for each eligible Section 504 student as provided. Section 504 requires appropriate accommodations for student assistance and success.
  6. Procedures that have been outlined for the verification of students suspected of having a verified disability (the Student Assistance Process) may also be used to evaluate students that are suspected of qualifying for services under Section 504. It is important to remember that special education and Section 504 programs are not combined, since the 504 accommodations are provided in the regular classroom setting.

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