Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title VI, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq., was enacted as part of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The section states: “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Accordingly, a recipient under any program receiving Federal financial assistance may not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, on ground of race, color, or national origin:

(i) Deny an individual any service, financial aid, or other benefit provided under the program;

(ii) Provide any service, financial aid, or other benefit to an individual which is different, or is provided in a different manner, from that provided to others under the program;

(iii) Subject an individual to segregation or separate treatment in any matter related to his receipt of any service, financial aid, or other benefit under the program;

(iv) Restrict an individual in any way in the enjoyment of any advantage or privilege enjoyed by others receiving any service, financial aid, or other benefit under the program;

(v) Treat an individual differently from others in determining whether he satisfies any admission, enrollment, quota, eligibility, membership or other requirement or condition which individuals must meet in order to be provided any service, financial aid, or other benefit provided under the program;

(vi) Deny an individual an opportunity to participate in the program through the provision of services or otherwise or afford him an opportunity to do so which is different from that afforded others under the program (including the opportunity to participate in the program as an employee but only to the extent set forth in paragraph (c) of this section).

(vii) Deny a person the opportunity to participate as a member of a planning or advisory body which is an integral part of the program.

The policy behind the legislation is that the public funds of a nation, to which taxpayers of all races, colors, and national origins contribute, should not be spent in a way which encourages, entrenches, or results in any form of discrimination.  Title VI, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d, therefore, seeks to prevent any form of discrimination in the utilization of federal funds for any program.

If a recipient of a federal assistance discriminates and if voluntary compliance cannot be obtained, the federal agency providing the assistance will either initiate fund termination proceedings or refer the matter to the Department of Justice for appropriate legal action.  Aggrieved individuals can also file administrative complaints with the federal agency that provides funds to a recipient or the individuals may file suit for appropriate relief in federal court.

The Title VI Legal Manual issued by the U.S. Department of Justice assists federal agencies that provide financial assistance, the recipients that receive such assistance, and the actual and potential beneficiaries of programs receiving federal assistance. The Manual sets out the legal principles and standards Title VI.  Additionally, the Department has also published an Investigation Procedures Manual to give practical advice on how to investigate Title VI complaints.

In the field of education, The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for enforcing Title VI.  The responsibility to ensure that institutions that receive funds from the Education Department comply with Title VI is vested with the OCR and it is carried out through compliance enforcement.  The principal enforcement activity is the investigation and resolution of complaints filed by people alleging discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.  Also, through a compliance review program of selected recipients OCR is able to identify and remedy discrimination that may not be addressed through complaint investigations.

Given the large number of institutions under its jurisdiction, OCR is unable to investigate and review the policies and practices of all institutions receiving financial assistance.  Therefore, through a program of technical assistance, OCR provides guidance and support to recipient institutions to assist them in voluntarily complying with the law.  OCR also informs beneficiaries, such as students and applicants for admission to academic programs, of their rights under Title VI.

OCR has investigated and worked with state and local officials to resolve many kinds of civil rights problems, including the following:

• The failure of some school districts to provide equal educational opportunity for national origin minority students who have a limited proficiency in English.

• The maintenance by some state systems of higher education of separate college facilities for students based on their race, color or national origin.

• The discriminatory assignment of minority students to classes designed for students who are mentally retarded.

This regulation applies to any program for which Federal financial assistance is authorized to be extended to a recipient under a law administered by the Department.  However, these regulations do not apply to (a) any Federal financial assistance by way of insurance or guaranty contracts, (b) money paid, property transferred, or other assistance extended before the effective date of this regulation, (c) the use of any assistance by any individual who is the ultimate beneficiary under any such program, or (d) any employment practice, under any such program, or any employer, employment agency, or labor organization, except to the extent exempted.


Inside Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964