Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between IEP and 504

IEP vs 504

Persons with disabilities have special needs and, like normal people, they too need education. Sometimes going to a normal school is hard for them because they have special needs. For this reason governments have formulated programs to help them acquire education in a normal setting.

The Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a government program designed to help meet the educational requirements of children with disabilities. It aims at providing elementary and secondary school students with disabilities the chance to be in a normal school and to be assisted only when the need arises.

It is made especially for those who need specialized instruction and is controlled by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). All students with disabilities who meet the requirements for special education must have IEP plans, and the government requires all public schools to do so.

The IEP must include a written record of the student’s academic level and goals; his measured progress which should be reported to the parents; all services that are being rendered for the student specifying what they are; how, where, and when they are provided; and the support given to school personnel.

There must also be a list of the time that the student spends in regular classes and the time that he spends in special education classes. During state and district assessment tests, the student should be provided with proper accommodations.

After completing the 12th grade, the student is either given an IEP diploma or a high school diploma if he meets the requirements for one. By age 16, he should be provided with whatever he needs for post-secondary education.

The 504 Plan, on the other hand, is also a government program which mandates that persons with disabilities should not be excluded from participating in federally funded programs and activities such as elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education.

It is meant for students who may have disabilities but do not require special education. It specifically states the accommodations that should be extended to them such as wheelchair ramps, home instruction, tape recorder for taking notes, etc.

It is generally used for a majority of students with disabilities; those who only need special accommodations to help them move freely and interact with other students rather than actually needing special instructions in which case they must avail themselves of the IEP.


1. “IEP” refers to the Individualized Educational Plan while “504” refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
2. Both the IEP and 504 are government programs aimed at helping students with disabilities; 504 is concerned about providing students with disabilities with the right accommodations to help them move freely in school while the IEP is concerned about giving special instructions to student with disabilities.
3. The IEP is controlled by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) while the 504 is not.
4. The 504 states that no person with disabilities should be barred from participating in federally funded programs and activities such as education while the IEP sees to it that the educational requirements of students with disabilities are met.

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