Federal Laws Governing Accessibility


MIT is committed to the principle of equal access to all of the Institute's programs, activities, and services.   This commitment encompasses all information technology services provided at MIT through websites, applications, and courseware.   We are obligated to provide, wherever feasible, accessible technology and websites.    Accessibility is mandated by the following federal laws and regulations that protect the civil rights of students and staff with disabilities.

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. There are some provisions of the ADA that directly affect higher education. Title II applies to public universities and Title III applies to private universities. MIT falls under Title III, which states: "No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any private entity who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation"

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Section 504 is a civil right legislation applicable to all universities that receive federal funding. It states: "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States…shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…"

Section 508

In 1998, Section 508 was added to the Rehabilitation Act to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities and requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities. While Section 508 does not directly apply to MIT, it provides technical standards for accessibility AND is applicable to MIT products and services being marketed to federal agencies.