Skip to Main Content

Student Project: Individualized Education Programs: Individualized Education Programs

This guide provides a collection of freely available web resources (as well as resources available through Westlaw and Lexis) that cover various areas of Individualized Education Programs, including eligibility and evaluation, the program creation process


An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written statement of the educational program designed to meet a child's specific individual needs. The IEP is created under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and is different from programs created under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Every child who receives special education services must have an IEP.


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)  aims to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) to children with qualifying disabilities. The objective of the IDEA is to provide students with disabilities the opportunity to access and benefit from FAPE.The goal is not to provide equal education or maximize academic potential. In order to accomplish the goal, the IDEA requires that an IEP be developed for eligible students.The IEP is a guide which lays out the program of special education instruction, supports, and other services that the child needs, given their unique circumstances, to make adequate progress in school.

Students with disabilities who do not qualify under IDEA, may qualify under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act for a 504 Plan instead. 504 Plans are not part of special education and do not provide the child with individualized instruction or services. Contrary to IEPs, the goal of 504 Plans is to grant students with equal access to the same education as their peers through accommodations. Dependent the circumstances, a 504 Plan may offer greater benefits.

 Comparison of IDEA IEP'S and Sec. 504 Accommodations Plan


 Source Available on Westlaw and requires subscription to view.                         Source Available on Lexis and requires subscription to view. 

 More information available (hover over icon).                                                     All other icons indicate free sources and require no subscription to view.


Profile Photo
Katy Alvarado
Elisabeth Haub School of Law,
Pace University,
J.D. Expected 2020

Minimum Requirements

At minimum, IEP's must include the following:

  • The child's present level of academic performance.
  • Measurable academic goals, including how the goals will be measured and reported.
  • Related services to be provided and the schedule of how and when they will be provided.
  • Accommodations or modifications made to the child's learning environment.
  • LRE calculations and explanations for time spent away from the general learning environment.
  • Any additional information that may be necessary, such behavior plans.
  • For older students: a transition plan.