Legislation Would Improve Accessibility of Higher Education Technology for Students with Disabilities
Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, along with U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), announced the reintroduction of the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education (AIM HIGH) Act to develop voluntary guidelines that schools can use to ensure that educational technology is accessible to students with disabilities.
“Every student deserves the opportunity to learn, and it is crucial we make materials and technologies accessible to students with disabilities at their college or university,” said Bennet. “This legislation would provide guidelines for higher education institutions to help remove barriers and ensure every student can participate.”
The AIM HIGH Act would establish a commission of teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders to develop guidelines on accessibility for instructional technologies that colleges and universities use. The bill would also create a pilot program so that institutions of higher education could test these guidelines on a voluntary basis.
Currently, not all technologies used at colleges and universities are accessible to students with disabilities, even though non-discrimination laws require accessibility. Federal non-discrimination laws were drafted long before the use of electronic instructional materials and other technologies on college campuses became widespread, and they do not contain the performance criteria or specifications that are necessary for evaluating the accessibility of electronic materials.
The AIM HIGH Act builds on a 2011 report from the federal Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities, which identified the need for guidelines on accessible electronic instructional materials and technologies. The AIM HIGH Act was first introduced in 2014.
The full text of the bill is available HERE.