New Agreement Improves Access to Textbooks for Disabled Students at 50 Georgia Colleges and Universities

'AccessText Network' Gives Students Better Access to Alternative Texts

Sep 09, 2010, 12:31 ET from Association of American Publishers

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- College students with disabilities such as blindness and dyslexia at 50 Georgia colleges and universities now have quicker and easier access to their alternative college textbooks as the result of a new membership in a national network, managed at Georgia Tech University, which provides the alternative college materials.

The membership for Georgia's colleges and universities is funded by the Georgia Board of Regents, and will make available the materials through the AccessText Network, a national online database of alternative college materials operated at Georgia Tech. 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 this membership in the AccessText Network, Georgia students who used to wait weeks or even months for their alternative textbooks now have a streamlined process, enabling 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 Georgia Board of Regents in funding this membership in the AccessText Network. It will help level the playing field for Georgia's disabled students and help them achieve their higher education goals."

The AccessText Network is operated by the Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC) at Georgia Tech. 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 and novel titles available through the Network.

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."

An estimated 42,000 Georgians ages 16-20 have a disability, totaling 6 percent of the state's population of young people either at or nearing college age, according to the most recent statistics compiled by Cornell University.  

Disabled Georgians are more likely to lack a college education than Georgians without a disability.  Eighty-eight percent of working-age Georgians with a disability lack a Bachelor's degree, while 70 percent of Georgians without disabilities lack a Bachelor's degree.

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

AccessText Network

AccessText is a membership-based online database system that provides quick access to information about publishers' course materials and speeds the process through which institutions request electronic versions of course materials for students with print disabilities or the permission to scan these course materials.  The AccessText Network can be found at  

The Association of American Publishers

The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP's more than 300 members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies.  AAP's Higher Education group represents the needs and interests of member publishers who produce instructional materials including textbooks and digital products and services for the post-secondary educational market.  


The Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC), an initiative of the University System of Georgia, is committed to removing barriers and providing access to knowledge for individuals with physical, sensory, and learning print-related disabilities.

SOURCE Association of American Publishers