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Appropriate Education - As Defined by Section 504


Updated August 23, 2008

Definition: Appropriate Education under Section 504 - What is an Appropriate Education?

The education amendments of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 defines a free appropriate education as:

  • Education provided by the public elementary or secondary school;
  • Including general or special education instruction;
  • Including related aids and services; and
  • Being developed to meet the individual educational needs of students with disabilities.

Section 504's definition of appropriate education does have limits, however. Under Section 504, schools are only required to meet the needs of students with disabilities to the extent that typical, non-disabled students' needs are met. Consequently, Section 504 plans need not provide advantages to a child with a disability that would help them achieve over children without disabilities or have unfair advantages.

Schools are only required to provide services when there is a demonstrated need based on evaluation, placement, and procedural safeguard requirements.

This definition of appropriate education is different from the definition of a Free Appropriate Public Education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Back to Special Education and Learning Disability Terms

Appropriate education is required under Section 504 and IDEA.

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