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When procuring software, you will be asked to provide a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) when reaching the accessibility review phase of the Technology Request Process.

Depending on the vendor, you may be provided with a VPAT or how to find the vendor’s VPAT/accessibility compliance. Unfortunately, since accessibility is not required for vendors, accessibility compliance and VPATs are usually unavailable or nowhere to be found.

According to SUNY’s EITA mandate for procurement accessibility, a VPAT is required when requesting software for use by more than one user, especially students.

Below you will find templates for drafting emails to vendors when requesting a VPAT or information regarding accessibility compliance when a VPAT is not available.

NOTE: Please review the vendor’s website BEFORE sending an email to them. They may have an accessibility compliance webpage and/or a VPAT publically available.

Sample email for requesting a VPAT from a vendor:

Make sure to replace the bold text below.

Dear [vendor contact name],

Fredonia is committed to creating a culture of access for an inclusive learning and working environment that ensures all campus information resources and technologies are accessible to persons with disabilities. We are therefore required to purchase the most accessible products and services.

The first step of this process is to request a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT); a comprehensive guide for your technology team to help understand the various criteria within the template(s), along with the criteria’s application to Section 508 and WCAG AA standards. Please send me your VPAT so that we may begin our review process.

If you have not created a VPAT for this product, you can find more information on VPATs as well as a template here: www.section508.gov/sell/vpat.

Thank you and please contact me if you have further questions,
[Campus requestor name]
[Contact information]

Sample email for requesting documentation if a vendor doesn’t have a VPAT:

Make sure to replace the bold text below.

Dear [vendor contact name],

Thank you for checking on the VPAT availability for this product.

In the absence of a VPAT, can you provide us with any information regarding the accessibility of the product? For example, what are known supports for accessibility criteria? What are known accessibility gaps of the product and how are those addressed? Do you have clients who require accessibility? If so, can you provide a reference for someone who can speak with us about the accessibility of your product? What experiences does your team have coding for accessibilities? What standards are used (e.g. WCAGs)? Do you do testing with users with disabilities? Does your company have a roadmap for accessibility going forward? Have you tested mobile apps with accessibility in mind? Would your company indemnify the college against legal action related to accessibility?

Is there a plan to create a VPAT for this product? We currently request and review VPATs at purchase and renewal. For purchases to move forward, a VPAT will be requested at the next purchase/renewal period. Information on creating VPATs, as well as a template, may be found here: www.section508.gov/sell/vpat.

Thank you for your assistance,
[Campus requestor name]
[Contact information]

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