An Overview of Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
Section 504 and the IDEA contain requirements for FAPE for students with disabilities, but there are some differences.
Under Section 504, FAPE is the provision of regular of special education and related aids and services that re designed to meet the individual educational needs of students with disabilities as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students are met and are based on adherence to procedures governing educational setting, evaluation and placement, and procedural safeguards.
A written Section 504 Plan is often a useful way to document that the school district engaged in a process to identify and address the needs of a student with a disability and to communicate, to school personnel, the information needed for successful implementation.
Under Section 504, FAPE must be provided free of charge to students with disabilities.
Key features of FAPE under Section 504 include:
- Evaluation and placement procedures that guard against misclassification or inappropriate placement of students.
- Periodic reevaluation of students who have been provided special education or related services and prior to a significant change in placement.
- A system of procedural safeguards that include notice; an opportunity for parents to review their child’s records; an impartial due process hearing and a review procedure.