What is a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template?

Date Updated

The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is a standard template developed by the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) in partnership with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). Information and communication technology vendors can fill out a VPAT to document the extent to which their products comply with accessibility standards.

The first version of the VPAT was based on federal Section 508 standards, but more recent versions of the VPAT are based on the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. For more information, including links to the VPAT form and instructions, see the ITI VPAT website.

As educational entities consider the accessibility of technology products before procurement, they are faced with a challenge: How can they reasonably assess whether a product is accessible? One step worth taking is to identify whether the vendor has a VPAT. The information contained within a VPAT varies in quality and accuracy, as the individuals or groups who fill out the template may or may not have enough accessibility knowledge to accurately assess their product. Therefore, it's advisable to consider the VPAT a starting point for a conversation with the vendor about accessibility, rather than evidence of accessibility compliance.