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PEATC, Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center
Assisting families of children with special needs since 1978
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Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504, like the Americans with Disabilities Act, prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Section 504 states that it is illegal for institutions receiving federal funds to discriminate against a person with disabilities if that person is otherwise qualified to participate.

Section 504 includes a specific requirement that programs receiving federal funds be made accessible to individuals with disabilities. These accessibility requirements mean that students with disabilities cannot be denied access to programs because of architectural barriers, because of discriminatory admission practices, or because they require related services or auxiliary aides. Examples of adaptations or modifications that public school programs must make include:

  1. Modify instructional equipment, i.e., lower a drafting table to accommodate a wheelchair.

  2. Modify or adapt the manner in which the course is offered, i.e., taped versions of written materials.

  3. Provide related services that assure secondary students an appropriate education, i.e., transportation, physical therapy, etc.

  4. Make academic adjustments to allow postsecondary students with disabilities the opportunity to participate in the program. Academic adjustments include:

    • Modifying academic requirements, i.e., making adjustments in the time permitted to complete degree requirements, substituting specific courses.

    • Ensuring that course examinations do not discriminate against the person because of the disability.

    • Providing auxiliary aids such as taped texts, interpreters, or adapted classroom equipment. This does not necessarily require the aids to be of a personal nature.

The Section 504 legal requirements of reasonable accommodation are limited. The law says that accommodations are not the change the essential components of the program.

Go to Section 504

The Council of Educators for Students with Disabilities has a site with good resources on section 504, including answers to frequently asked questions.

8003 Forbes Place, Suite 310
Springfield, VA 22151
703-923-0010 (phone)
800-869-6782 (toll free)

Copyright © 2020 PEATC - Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center. All rights reserved.

Content on this site was produced, in part, with grant funds from the U.S. Department of Education, under CFDA # 84.328M, #84.310A, and #84.235F. The content herein does not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Education, any other agency of the U.S. government, or any other source.

PEATC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to building positive futures for Virginia's children by working collaboratively with families, schools and communities in order to improve opportunities for excellence in education and success in school and community life. Our special focus is children with disabilities. You can reach PEATC by calling 703-923-0010 (Voice/TTY), or sending an e-mail to

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