Which educational entities have developed web accessibility policies?

Date Updated

Many institutions of higher education have developed web accessibility policies, guidelines, and/or standards. Some of these policies address web accessibility exclusively, whereas others have incorporated accessibility into an overall web policy that also address other issues such as copyright, branding, and security. For addressing accessibility, most institutions that have policies declare a specific well-recognized set of standards or guidelines to which their websites must conform. Typically institutions either adopt the Section 508 Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards or the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The WCAG was updated in 2008, so policies that were issued prior to that tend to adopt the earlier version, WCAG 1.0. Newer policies tend to adopt the newer version, WCAG 2.0. The WCAG is structured with three conformance levels (A, AA, and AAA), Level A being the most basic level of conformance and Level AAA being much more thorough and difficult to attain. Policies that adopt the WCAG typically specify their target level of conformance, although many policies have overlooked this important detail.

Some campuses merely state the policy and expect employees developing websites to comply; others provide training and support to help campus units comply. Some inflict penalties for noncompliance; others give awards to campus units with exemplary pages. There are nearly as many approaches to web accessibility policies and support as there are institutions.

The University of Washington has compiled a short annotated list of IT Accessibility Policies in Higher Education. The policies listed on this page were determined for various reasons to be exemplary.

Also, the W3C maintains an international list of policies on their Policies Relating to Web Accessibility site. This site includes a list of U.S. state policies. In some cases, state policies may cover state educational entities.