Georgia Tech Research Institute

Does my university, city, county, or state website have to conform with Section 508?

Section 508 law applies only to federal agencies and departments. The standards, however, are available for anyone to incorporate in whole or in part. Thus, for example, state law may require state entities to comply with the standards.

A non-federal entity such as a university or a city, county, or state government that receives federal monies needs to comply with Section 504 (of the Rehabilitation Act) requirements to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities; however, Section 504 does not require accommodations to be provided through conformance with Section 508 accessibility standards. Adherence to Section 508 requirements can be used as a way of meeting Section 504 obligations. For example, following the Section 508 standards for captioning may be a good way to meet Section 504 obligations.

In addition, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires the programs, services, and activities of state and local governments (e.g. public education, employment, transportation, recreation, health care, social services, courts, voting, and town meetings) to be accessible to people with disabilities. Again, access to the programs may be provided through individual accommodations vs. adherence to the Section 508 standards.