Textbooks in Alternate Format:
National Federation of the Blind Legislative
Agenda for Higher Education
With an estimated 1.1 million blind Americans, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) was formed to act as the voice of this population. At the second session of the 109th Congress, which met in 2006, the NFB proposed that Congress enact The Higher Education Textbook Access Act. The purpose of this act is to require publishers of textbooks used in higher education to produce electronic editions for blind students in an accessible, nonvisual standard format.
Taking a position similar to that of AHEAD, NFB contends that failure to provide equal access is a denial of equal opportunity. NFB's position is that this violates the equal access provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. NFB advocates for the enactment of a policy that contains specific standards for textbook access in higher education in order to ensure equal opportunity for blind students.
To implement such a policy, NFB is requesting that Congress enact legislation with clear, specific, and practical standards and procedures to address accessibility needs of blind students in higher education. As part of IDEA 2004, Public Law 108-446, publishers of elementary and secondary school textbooks are required to produce electronic editions which must be prepared in an accessible, nonvisual format, meeting a federally prescribed national standard (see NIMAS/NIMAC on previous page). NFB supports the enactment of The Higher Education Textbook Access Act which would require the publishers of higher education textbooks to meet the same standards.
For more information about the National Federation of the Blind, visit the website at