Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Statewide Agreements in Three States Improve Access to Textbooks for Disabled College Students

/PRNewswire/ -- Students with disabilities such as blindness and dyslexia at hundreds of colleges and universities in three states now have quicker and easier access to alternative college textbooks as the result of agreements for those states to fund access to the alternative textbooks for colleges and universities.

Separate statewide agreements for colleges and universities in Georgia and Ohio, as well as 112 community colleges in the California system, have been finalized to fund memberships in the AccessText Network, a national online database of alternative college materials. The AccessText Network makes it quicker and easier for students with disabilities such as blindness, dyslexia, or physical impairments that prevent the use of traditional hardcopy textbooks, to get the alternative electronic textbooks they need for college.

"With these statewide membership agreements in the AccessText Network, thousands of college students who used to wait weeks or even months for their alternative textbooks now have a streamlined process, allowing them to receive their course materials in just a few days," said Tom Allen, president and chief executive officer of the Association of American Publishers, whose higher education members donated almost $1 million to launch the non-profit venture. "I congratulate the funders of these memberships in the AccessText Network. It will help level the playing field for disabled students in these states, helping them achieve their higher education goals."

The three statewide agreements being announced for the AccessText Network:
-- California - The agreement will provide memberships for the Alternate
Text Production Center, which serves the 112 community colleges in the
state.
-- Georgia - The agreement will provide memberships for 50 colleges and
universities in the state through the Alternative Media Access Center.
The membership for Georgia's colleges and universities is funded by
the Georgia Board of Regents.
-- Ohio - The membership for The University System of Ohio's colleges and
universities, funded through a joint initiative of the State Board of
Regents and the state's Rehabilitation Services Commission, will
provide membership for 61 public colleges and universities in the
state.


"Textbook publishers are dedicated to helping all students succeed, and we are proud to see the AccessText Network being utilized in these states to make college education a reality for thousands of students with disabilities," Allen said.

Christopher Lee, director of AMAC, said the new network is fulfilling orders for students in about four days on average. "In the past, the system was so slow and bureaucratic that disabled students were often still waiting for their alternative textbooks several weeks into the semester," Lee said. "That's an unacceptable scenario for any student striving to succeed in college."

The AccessText Network is operated by the Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC) in Atlanta. The Network has more than 500 colleges and universities in 49 states enrolled to participate in the system. There are more than 360,000 textbook titles available through the Network.

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