96% of American Colleges Deny Equal Access to Disabled
Nov 08 2022
New Report Shows Shocking Widespread Failure of Digital Inclusion; Litigation Risk
New York, November 8, 2022 - According to the new Risk INDEX™: Higher Education (opens in a new window) Report from InsurTech AAAtraq (opens in a new window), 96% of higher education websites are not accessible to people who browse the web with assistive devices, making them non-complaint with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In today’s post-secondary education environment, 19.4% of students are disabled.1
“It’s time for a reality check,”says Lawrence Shaw, CEO of AAAtraq. “This is not the time for complacency or pointing the finger at another department, or vendor. Against a backdrop of the increasing threat of litigation, failure is now an organizational risk. It’s time to get real, or get sued.”
AAAtraq’s Risk INDEX™ reports on accessibility across website homepages by sector, aiming to raise awareness of the scale of the digital inclusion problem, highlighting the potential exposure to litigation, and providing a benchmark.
Americans with disabilities are supposed to have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in mainstream American life; that includes digitally. The ADA protects American citizens living with disabilities against discrimination in places of public accommodation. Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – the ADA is an "equal opportunity" law for people with disabilities.
Unfortunately, equality in theory doesn’t mean equality in practice. 32 years after ADA’s passage into law, violations continue. Despite efforts and increasing spend on attempting to make websites inclusive, the reality is that more than 9 out of 10 of higher education websites are still non-compliant.
“Compounding the problem is a false sense of security, felt by many who believe that they have matters in hand, spurred on by service providers that promise compliance but blatantly lie and lack accountability,” says Shaw. “Until there is an approach which is led by risk control, it will continue to be a feeding frenzy for opportunistic lawyers (opens in a new window). Get ready for the tsunami.”
With non-compliance being easy to prove and hard to argue against, AAAtraq estimates the costs to settle industry-wide demands is approximately $6.62 billion. This excludes the cost of ongoing monitoring essential to ensure ongoing compliance as websites are iterative in nature, constantly being changed and updated. Using their software, AAAtraq was able to audit the entire higher education market in 30 minutes.
“Schools are paying out demands with money they should be using to buy books,” Shaw says. “It’s simple. There are only three options here. Listen to excuses. Ignore it. Or take your moral duty and legal obligation seriously and fix it by taking a risk control approach and getting a program in place.”
Manual efforts to fix the problem continue to demonstrate their limitations. Using AAAtraq,, evidence of failure can be identified right down to the line in the code. Subscribers are then given step-by-step instructions on how they can fix it, as well as train staff and manage service providers to ensure ongoing ADA compliance. Paired with litigation support and costs coverage insurance, AAAtraq’s hollistic solution is a no-brainer for operating in the digital space.
Websites, like buildings, must adhere to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Despite efforts, the majority are discriminating – resulting in distracting, expensive litigation. Offering comprehensive protection; AAAtraq combines insurance, risk clarity, and continuous mitigation from $195/month.
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1 In 2021, the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) reported that 19.4% of college undergraduates reported being disabled in 2015-2016.
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