A Primer for Managing Digital Accessibility Requirements in Higher Education
Those familiar with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act may know that the law applies to federal agencies. However, given the degree of federal funds that make their way to state programs and public higher education, many states have passed legislation and policies that reference the compliance standards of the federal law and rules for applying at the state level. In some instances, as with the example of Texas, these rules may also include provisions to make exceptions for information and communication technology categories that do not comply with federal compliance standards.
As we look at Texas’ approach of codifying its digital accessibility requirements for higher education, we can gain insight into the review process and decision-making steps when reviewing accessibility claims presented in vendor proposals.
The Texas Administrative Code (TAC), 1 RULE §213.38 Procurements imposes comprehensive requirements that govern the development, acquisition, and maintenance of products and services for institutions of higher education (institution) in Texas. Thus, the code extends into the types of accessibility attestations required from vendors, rule exclusion, exception procedures, and additional requirements that may apply for projects whose values exceed $500,000.
In his recent commentary for Mealey’s® Litigation Report, our CTO Hiram Kuykendall explores:
- The background of the Texas Administrative Code as it relates to Electronic and Information Resources (EIR)
- Determining the scope and credible evidence of accessibility information for purchasing a product or service
- Additional scope considerations factored by TAC 213.38
- The differences between exemptions and exceptions allowed under TAC 213.38
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Editor’s Note: This post is adapted from the article, “Managing Digital Accessibility Requirements in Higher Education: An Overview of Determining Accessibility Under the Texas Administrative Code”, originally published in the March 2022 issue of Mealey’s® Litigation Report: Cyber Tech & E-Commerce. Mealey’s is a subscription-based information provider and division of LexisNexis.
Purchasing Accessible Technology Resources
- Understanding Digital Accessibility in the Procurement Process
- New Course: Understanding the VPAT Analysis and Determination Process
- VPAT: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide
Microassist holds multiple Cooperative Contracts with the State of Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR). These contracts are negotiated specifically for government and higher education, taking into account public sector-friendly terms and conditions.
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