The Pennsylvania State University is committed to ensuring equal access to information, programs, and activities through its technologies, Web pages, services and resources for all its constituencies.  This policy establishes standards for the accessibility of Web-based information and services considered necessary to meet this goal and ensure compliance with applicable local, state and federal regulations and laws.


This policy applies to all University Web pages used to conduct core University business or academic activities. Individual Web pages published by students, employees or non-university organizations that are hosted by the University and do not conduct University related business are encouraged to adopt the University's policy and standards, but fall outside the jurisdiction of this policy.


Pages Less Than 2 Years Old:

All Web pages published or hosted by the University that are less than 2 years old must be in compliance with the World Wide Web Consortium’s standard: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Version 2.0, AA conformance level.

Legacy Pages:

Web pages published for 2 years or longer are considered Legacy Pages. Each University college, department, program, or unit must establish priorities and timetables for updating legacy pages. Priority must be given to creating accessible Web pages for core institutional information such as course work, registration, advising, admission, catalogs, and student, faculty, staff services information.

Statement of Accessibility on all Web Pages:

Each University Web site, including Legacy Pages, must contain a statement, or  a link to a statement, referring to the University’s commitment to web accessibility. In addition, each page must have a link allowing users to contact the designated responsible position or positions within a department or college (instead of individuals, who often change positions or duties).  Suggested language:

“The [name of department or unit] is committed to making its websites accessible to all users, and welcomes comments or suggestions on access improvements.  Please send comments or suggestions on accessibility to the [position to contact].”

Specific Requests for Access to Legacy or Archived Pages:

Upon a specific request for access by an individual with a disability:

Legacy pages must be updated to be in compliance with the W3C WCAG, version 2.0 standard, AA conformance level, or the content must otherwise be made available in an equally effective accessible format to any individual requesting access in a timely manner. The unit responsible for the creation and maintenance of the information on the Web page is responsible for making it accessible.

“Equally effective” means that the alternative format communicates the same information in as timely a fashion as does the original Web page. For interactive applications or service pages, “equally effective” means that the end result (e.g., registration) is accomplished in a comparable time and with comparable effort on the part of the requester.

Web sites and pages in archive status (e.g. no longer in use but subject to records retention plans) containing core administrative or academic information, official records, and similar information must be made available in an equally effective accessible format to any individual eligible for and needing access to such Web content, by revision or otherwise.  The unit responsible for the creation and maintenance of the information on the Web page is responsible for making it accessible.

Undue Burden and Non-availability:

The following circumstances may qualify as exemptions from this policy:

Where compliance is not technically possible or may require extraordinary measures due to the nature of the information and the intent of the Web page, a request for exception must be made.  Lack of sufficient funding for any particular unit, department or college of the University would not be considered for an exemption.

Units seeking an exception to this policy must submit a written request to the Web Accessibility and Standards Review Committee (L-WEBACCESS@lists.psu.edu) detailing why compliance is not feasible and how the unit will make information from its Web pages available to individuals with a disability in an equally effective manner.

Training and Resources:

Penn State has identified considerations and helpful hints for faculty, staff, and students that will assist in making all formal units' Web pages accessible in an academic setting: http://accessibility.psu.edu/


AD52 - Links to or from Penn State Web Pages

AD54 - Web Page Design and Image

Effective Date: August 2, 2011
Date Approved: August 1, 2011
Date Published: August 2, 2011

Revision History (and effective dates):

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