Eligibility Criteria

Section 504 was enacted to protect qualified individuals from discrimination based soley on their disability. Whether a particular student is protected under Section 504 requires a determination that the student is an “individual with a disability” and that the student is “qualified” under Section 504. A student is “disabled” under the Section 504 regulations if the student meets any one of the three “prongs” listed in 34 CFR §104.3(j)(1). An individual is considered disabled under Section 504 if the individual:

  1. has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities,
  2. has a record of such an impairment, or
  3. is regarded as having such an impairment.

Although all students who fit the definition of disability under any of the prongs receive the nondiscrimination protections of Section 504, the requirements of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under Section 504 are more limited and require additional analysis. Being identified as a student with a disability is necessary but is not sufficient to establish a need for FAPE under Section 504. The applicable prongs of the disability definition determine which of the Section 504 protections are extended to the student. The table at the end of this module summarizes the protections that correspond to each of the three prongs of the disability definition.

Next: Click to proceed to Prong One: Current Impairment.