Disability compliance may emerge as key issue for higher ed
- Federal officials have completed amending a section of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which could create new standards of compliance for colleges and universities in their website and IT management duties.
- The updates include new standards for access of telecommunications equipment, operating systems, screen and sound magnification and access points for websites.
- The new rules are scheduled to take effect in January 2018, but some observers question if the new administration will be active in forcing timely compliance.
The amendment is an unusual turn for an administration that has emphasized its priorities of rubbing out all elements of federal overreach in higher education, but is a worthy change that college leaders should embrace. As lawsuits for accessibility and discrimination become more prevalent for all kinds of campuses, leaders must focus on the areas of importance, such as student services and laboratory technology, in order to efficiently target where upgrade budgets must be amended.
Leaders should also make reporting for special needs more present and available during the application process, and in the admissions culture of the university. Campuses shouldn't wait for students to be placed at disadvantage, when they can proactively determine needs and solutions early in academic entry.
- Inside Higher Ed New baseline for accessibility
- United States Access Board About the update of the section 508 standards and section 255 guidelines for information and communication technology