Coordinating Higher Education Systems
Multiple indicators show a positive trend in the number of students with disabilities enrolling in higher education programs. Equitable access to learning for these students requires that all learning materials and activities be made accessible to them. This extends to textbooks, courseware, learning management systems, instructional software programs—in short, any and all curriculum resources required for use in academic programs.
The Critical Components for the Quality Indicators for Higher Education were first released in 2018 and include actionable language for developing a coordinated system that leads to the timely provision of accessible materials and technologies in higher education settings for all students who need them.
Critical Components for Higher Education
The purpose of the National AEM Center’s Quality Indicators with Critical Components for Higher Education is to assist institutes of higher education, both at the system and campus level, with planning, implementing, and evaluating systems for providing accessible materials and technologies for all students who need them.
Both universities and community colleges will find the Quality Indicators with Critical Components for Higher Education useful for implementing statutory requirements that mandate equitable access to learning opportunities for students with disabilities.
AEM Center at CAST
This guide will help you develop knowledge and practical skills related to the Quality Indicators with Critical Components for Higher Education. It's also useful for preparing to work with a team on systems change at the state and/or local levels.
National AEM Center at CAST
This guide is aligned with the Quality Indicators with Critical Components for Providing AEM and Accessible Technologies in Higher Education. Using the Innovation Configuration (IC) for the AEM Quality Indicators, campus/system representatives identify the level that best describes the implementation stage of each Critical Component, from “not started” to “robust.”
AEM Center at CAST
Relevant Laws and Policies
In addition to guiding higher education institutions toward more inclusive programs, the Quality Indicators address the following laws and policies related to equal access for students with disabilities in higher education:
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as relates to the provision of auxiliary aids and services in a timely manner to students with disabilities in higher education institutions that receive federal funding
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as relates to Title II and the provision of auxiliary aids and services described in Section 504, regardless of federal funding provided to the institution
- Higher Education Opportunity Act as relates to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Textbook Information
- Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as relates to federal technology accessibility standards in the procurement of digital materials and technologies