Example policies in higher education
This page provides a list of information technology (IT) accessibility policies in higher education. This list is not intended to be comprehensive. Rather, it is intended to serve as a resource for institutions who are developing or considering developing their own policies. For information about the UW Non-Discrimination Policy, consult the Legal and Policy Requirements page of the current website.
- California State University Accessible Technology Initiative
The most ambitious system-wide initiative of its kind, each of the 23 campuses in the CSU system are required by the Chancellor’s Office to meet timelines and provide deliverables in the areas of web accessibility, instructional materials accessibility, and accessible electronic and information technology procurement.
- University of California Information Technology Policy
This UC system-wide policy is a relatively recent addition to this list, having been approved by the Office of the President in August 2013. The policy text includes a requirement that all UC locations adhere to the UC IT Accessibility Requirements, a separate document that requires conformance with the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 at Level AA. The policy also requires all UC locations to “develop, purchase and/or acquire, to the extent feasible, hardware and software products that are accessible to people with disabilities.”
- Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA)
The IITAA is a state law that requires Illinois agencies and universities to ensure that their web sites, information systems, and information technologies are accessible to people with disabilities. It is accompanied by standards, implementation guidelines, and procurement recommendations.
- Purdue University Web Accessibility Policy
This policy, issued in 2010, includes detailed compliance requirements and timelines over a four year period. One of the requirements is for each college, school, department, program, or unit of Purdue University to submit an annual report to their campus Equal Opportunity Officer summarizing their accessibility efforts and accomplishments over the past year, as well as their goals for the upcoming year.
- University of Minnesota Accessibility of Information Technology
This website includes the official policy, plus detailed standards for web, hardware, and software accessibility. The standards include specific techniques and technical notes.
- North Carolina State University Information and Communication Technology Accessibility Regulation
This official university regulation was originally passed as a web accessibility regulation in 2006, but was revised in August 2011. The revised regulation expands coverage to include all information and communication technologies (ICT), not just websites. It delineates between, and provides different requirements for, ICT resources that are new, active, and inactive. The NCSU policy is one of the few policies that explicitly includes an enforcement mechanism for non-compliance (see Section 4 – Remedy).
- The Ohio State University Web Accessibility Policy
Ohio State’s web accessibility policy requires any website conducting university business to meet the university Minimum OSU Web Accessibility Standards (both documents are in PDF).
- Oregon State University Policy on Information Technology Accessibility
This policy is being introduced in phases. The first phase, adopted in August 2011, covers website and web-based content accessibility, including electronic documents and multimedia. This phase of the policy requires that all new and revised content comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA. Additional phases of the policy will include, at a minimum; hardware, software and the procurement of these IT products.
- Penn State Policy and Accessibility Guidelines
Penn State’s web accessibility policy requires that all new web pages comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA. Their policy was developed in response to legal action by National Federation of the Blind. Penn State also includes accessibility requirements in their Policy on Video Productions.
- University of Texas at Austin Web Accessibility Policy
The UT-Austin policy is supported by an extensive set of internal services for educating web developers, compliance checking, and user testing. Each university website that provides entry to members of the public must contain a “Web Accessibility” link to the policy. The policy also explicitly identifies a high-level Accessibility Coordinator who is responsible for monitoring compliance and providing training to Web publishers and developers. Accessibility is integrated into the larger set of Web Publishing Guidelines.
- University of Wisconsin-Madison Web Accessibility Policy
UW-Madison’s policy was originally passed in 2000, and may have been the first of its kind in higher education. Now in its third revision, it continues to be a model policy document.
Additional resources on accessibility policy
- WAI Policies Related to Web Accessibility
The W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative maintains a long list of national laws policies from well over a dozen countries, plus state and provincial policies within the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
- State Accessibility Laws, Policies, and Standards
A database updated periodically by the Georgia Tech Research Institute.
- How can our school or district go about developing an accessible information technology policy? — DO-IT Knowledge Base article
- Is it reasonable to use an ad hoc approach to accessibility of electronic and information technology? — DO-IT Knowledge Base article
- Which set of web accessibility standards or guidelines should I comply with? — DO-IT Knowledge Base article