Section 504 is a federal civil rights law that falls under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  Section 504 prohibits discrimination against all qualified students with disabilities in any program receiving federal financial assistance.  According to Section 504, a person with a disability is defined as "those persons having a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities."

All students eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are protected under Section 504.  However, all individuals who are disabled under Section 504 may not meet the eligibility requirements under the IDEA for special education.