National Federation of the Blind Applauds Introduction of AIM High Act
Legislation Will Promote Equal Access to Higher Education for People with Disabilities
Baltimore, Maryland (December 6, 2019): Today, the National Federation of the Blind commends Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN) and Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT) for introducing the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act, also known as the AIM HIGH Act (H.R. 5312). This legislation will promote instructional technology and content that are accessible to the blind and other students with print disabilities.
“This legislation is critically important to all blind students and to me personally, as the father of three children, two of whom are blind,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “This issue has been ignored for too long. Blind Americans applaud Representatives Roe and Courtney for their support of this market-based approach to encouraging technology innovations to be born accessible, thus allowing all students an equal opportunity for educational excellence.”
“All students deserve the opportunity to excel in their education, which is why I am proud to reintroduce the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education (AIM HIGH) Act. This legislation encourages institutions of higher education to provide equal access to all instructional materials, which will support students with disabilities. I want to thank Rep. Courtney for again partnering with me on this important legislation, and all the stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to develop this commonsense solution that can be supported on a bipartisan basis,” said Congressman Roe.
The AIM HIGH Act will authorize a purpose-based commission comprised of persons with disabilities, developers, and manufacturers, as well as representatives from institutions of higher education. This commission will be tasked with developing accessibility criteria for instructional materials and the technologies used to access those materials. Additionally, the commission will be tasked with establishing an annotated list of existing national and international standards so that schools and developers can identify what makes a product usable by the blind. Colleges and universities will be permitted to use material that does not conform to the guidelines as long as equal access laws are still honored. While conformity with the AIM HIGH guidelines is only one path to compliance, schools can pursue a different avenue but will forfeit the combined expertise of the relevant stakeholder communities involved in the development of the AIM HIGH guidelines.
The AIM HIGH Act is a collaborative legislative initiative of the National Federation of the Blind, the American Council on Education, the Association of American Publishers, Educause®, and the Software and Information Industry Association.