For over 50 years, the National Association of Blind Students has worked, as an integral part of the National Federation of the Blind, to promote the equality of the blind by serving as a source of information, forum for networking and vehicle for collective action for blind students. Our work on the local, state, and national levels is firmly rooted in the conviction that blindness need not prevent one from excelling in a chosen field of study or living a full and productive life. Above all else, we are dedicated to changing what it means to be blind, by both changing perceptions among the general public of the capabilities of the blind and encouraging blind students to strive to achieve their maximum potential and realize their dreams.

NABS, formed at the 1967 convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Los Angeles, California, is the longest standing of all the NFB’s divisions. Having built upon the work begun by a small group of students in a Los Angeles hotel room fifty years ago, NABS has grown to become one of the largest and most active divisions of the NFB. For five decades, NABS has not only shared the NFB’s positive philosophy about blindness with students of all ages, but also provided blind students with opportunities to take on leadership roles within the organization. View a list of all NABS's past presidents since our founding below.

Additionally, for a more in depth history of the organization, read the text of a speech delivered by Michael Baillif  at the annual NABS business meeting in Dallas, Texas at the 1998 National Convention below.

Our Mission

The mission of the National Association of Blind Students is to promote equal access to educational and life opportunities for the blind. It is with a two-pronged approach that we strive to fulfill this objective. Within our organization, we work to provide blind students with timely and relevant information on topics of concern. NABS also serves as a forum for networking and information sharing among its members. Externally, NABS engages in educational and advocacy efforts to raise awareness among the general public of the capabilities of the blind and to ensure that blind students are able to compete with their sighted peers on terms of equality.

Our Philosophy

As a proud division of the National Federation of the Blind, we are rooted in the conviction that blindness is not the characteristic that defines blind students or their future. We know with the proper attitude, resources, and support blind students can excel in all aspects of their lives. As an organization, this means that we both equip our students with the mindset and attitude to hold themselves to high standards, while still working to break down the access barriers that resist our progress.

NABS Presidents

The National Association of Blind Students has a rich history of leaders, many of whom become prominent leaders in the National Federation of the Blind in other capacities after studenthood. Below, you'll find a list of presidents of our national student division since its inception. You can reach the current president at

1967-1971 Jim Gashel
1971-1977 Marc Maurer
1977-1981 Peggy Pinder/Elliott
1981-1983 Joanne Becker
1983-1987 Jim Mitchell
1987-1991 Michael Bailliff
1991-1993 Scott Labarre
1993-1996 Ollie Cantos
1996-1997 Carlos Servan
1997-1998 Ana Ugarte
1998-2001 Shawn Mayo
2001-2005 Angela Wolf
2005-2007 Ryan Strunk
2007-2008 Tai Tomasi Blas
2008-2009 Terri Rupp
2009-2011 Arielle Silverman
2011-2016 Sean Whalen
2016-2020 Kathryn Webster
2020-2023 Trisha Kulkarni

2023-present Lauren Altman