Which educational entities have information technology accessibility policies?

Printable Version

AccessIT Article ID: 1150

A growing number of educational entities, particularly in postsecondary education, have developed or are developing policies or guidelines related to information technology accessibility. The majority of these policies focus exclusively on web accessibility. For more information specifically about web accessibility policies, see the AccessIT Knowledge Base article Which educational entities have developed web accessibility policies?

More extensive information technology (IT) policies, such as those covering the accessibility of an entity's computer hardware, software, and other IT, are comparatively scarce. One exception is Oregon State University (OSU), who provides IT Accessibility Guidelines that encompass hardware, software, multimedia, and web development. For more information see the AccessIT article Oregon State University: A Promising Practice in Establishing IT Accessibility Guidelines.

Some states have passed legislation and/or implemented policies, standards, or guidelines regarding technology accessibility. In some cases, the states focus exclusively on the web, but a growing number of states require that accessibility be addressed by vendors competing for procurement contracts. Whether these requirements apply to educational entities within the states varies by state. In some cases, it is specifically stated. For example, Arkansas Act 1227, a technology procurement law written specifically to address the needs of individuals who are blind, applies to any "state-assisted organization," defined as "a college, nonprofit organization, person, political subdivision, school system, or other entity supported in whole or in part by state funds." Similarly, the Minnesota Nonvisual Access to Technology standards apply to "agencies, political subdivisions, and the Minnesota state colleges and universities." However, the University of Minnesota is not considered a state university and therefore is exempt from these standards, although the standards document states that "the University of Minnesota is encouraged to consider similar standards."

The Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center (ITTATC) maintains a list of links to state accessibility laws, policies, and standards in A National Assessment of State E&IT Accessibility Initiatives.

You may also wish to view the video IT Accessibility: What Campus Leaders Have to Say in which university presidents, chief information officers, and other information technology (IT) leaders discuss the importance of IT accessibility on college campuses.

Last update or review: February 11, 2014