By Christina Samuels
Students receiving accommodations under Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act—a law that predates the Individuals with Disabilities Act and creates a more expansive definition of disability than the IDEA—are more likely to be white, male, and enrolled in a school that is not eligible for Title I funds, according to an analysis of U.S. Department of Education data published in the Aug. 7 edition of the Journal of Disability Policy Studies.
(Note: The abstract of the study, linked above, gives an incorrect summary of the racial breakdown of “504 plan” students. The lead author of the study said in an interview that the abstract will be corrected.)
Students covered under Section 504 could have a variety of disabling conditions, such as cancer, epilepsy, diabetes or mobility impairments. The overall percentage of students who are given accommodations under Section 504 is small, however; about 1 percent of all students, according to the 2009-10 Civil Rights Data Collection. This compares to about 12 percent of all students who are covered under the IDEA.