In 2001, the Information Technology Industry Council partnered with the General Services Administration to create a tool that would assist Federal contracting and procurement officials in fulfilling the market research requirements specified in Section 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The result of their collaboration was the Section 508 Evaluation Template a simple checklist that allows vendors to document how their product does or does not meet the various Section 508 requirements. The Section 508 Evaluation Template is also known as the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT).
Vendors who wish to supply electronic and information technology products and services to the CSU must provide a completed VPAT to attest to their products conformance to applicable accessibility standards. Proposals or bids without a completed VPAT may be disqualified from the competition process.
Note: Occasionally a product is bought without 508 Documentation, which makes the process really difficult for the campus. Without a VPAT or other documentation, the campus is forced to issue an EEAAP (Equally Effective Alternative Access Plan) thereby assuming the product is inaccessible. Issuing that document without a VPAT reflects badly on the vendor and well as creates undue amount of effort on the campus entities using the product. Please help; submit a VPAT.
A blank VPAT form (that opens in Microsoft Word) can be downloaded by clicking this link (CSULA VPAT form). Additional guidance on filling out the form can be found by accessing the CSU Guide to Completing the VPAT. (The CSU guide is an Adobe Acrobat document in .pdf format). A free copy of the Adobe Reader viewer can be downloaded by clicking Download Adobe Acrobat Reader. The U.S. goverment also provides Section 508 information: http://www.state.gov/m/irm/impact/.
Our campus has a VPAT repository for repeat, renewal or subscription products. VPATs are not subject to copyright laws; so and existing one can be used as a template but only as a template for a similar product. See: http://www.calstatela.edu/accessibility/ati/eit-procurement-vpat-repository .
If you're having problems comprehending the legal language Section 508 uses, you can download refer to this guide from North Carolina State University: https://accessibility.oit.ncsu.edu/it-accessibility-at-nc-state/developers/accessibility-handbook/overview-understanding-the-nature-of-what-is-required-to-design-accessibly/voluntary-product-accessibility-template-vpat/.
For more information about the California State University Accessible Technology Initiative, please visit the CSU Accessible Technology Initiative home page.