Skip to Content

Office of Civil Rights

Title VI Frequently Asked Questions


What is Title VI?

Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act says,”No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefit of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. (42 U.S.C.§2000d)


What is Federal Financial Assistance?

Federal financial assistance means more than just money. It is also aid that enhances the ability to improve or expand allocation of a recipient’s own resources. Examples:

  • Student aid (releases recipient’s funds for other uses)
  • Training of employees (permits better use of the employer)
  • Grants and Loans, tax-exempt bonds
  • Property
  • Loan of Personnel
  • Tax incentives and tax-exempt status
  • Technical assistance, etc.

What does Title VI do?
  • Prohibits entities from denying an individual any service, financial aid, or other benefit because of race, color or national origin
  • Prohibits entities from providing a different service or benefit, or providing these in a different manner from those provided to others under the program
  • Prohibits segregation or separate treatment in any manner related to receiving program services or benefits
  • Prohibits entities from requiring different standards or conditions as prerequisites for serving individuals
  • Encourages the participation of minorities as members of planning or advisory bodies for programs receiving federal funds
  • Prohibits discriminatory activity in a facility built in whole or part with Federal funds
  • Requires information and services to be provided in languages other than English when significant numbers of beneficiaries are of limited English speaking ability
  • Requires entities to notify the respective population about applicable programs
  • Prohibits locating facilities in any way that would limit or impede access to a Federally funded service or benefit
  • Requires assurance of nondiscrimination in purchasing of services

What does Title VI not do?
  • Does not apply to Federal assistance provided through insurance or guaranty contracts, (e.g. FHA loan insurance),
  • Does not apply to employment, except where employment practices results in discrimination against program beneficiaries or where the purpose of the Federal assistance is to provide employment
  • Does not provide relief for discrimination based on age, sex, geographical locale, or wealth
  • Does not apply to direct benefit programs such as Social Security
  • Does not apply only to contracts and set-aside programs

What programs or activities are covered by Title VI?

To ensure the broad, institution wide application of Title VI and other civil rights statutes Congress passed The Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987. This act clarifies the definition of programs and activities covered by the nondiscrimination provisions of civil rights statutes. The revised definition states that discrimination is prohibited throughout an entire agency or institution, if any part of that agency or institution receives Federal financial assistance. Examples: (1)(A) a department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or local government; or (B) the entity of such State or local government that distributes such assistance and each such department or agency (and each other state or local government entity) to which the assistance is extended, in the case of assistance to a state or local government; (2)(A) a college, university, or other postsecondary institution, or a public system of education; or system of vocational education, or other school system.

Title VI applies to discrimination throughout an agency, not just to actions involving the federally assisted program. Therefore, if an agency receives any federal financial assistance for any program or activity the entire agency is required to comply with Title VI, not just that particular program.

How does Title VI apply to public policy?

Title VI is a mechanism that directs the federal financial assistance, which drives or promotes economic development. By legislative mandate, Title VI examines the following public policy issues:

  • Accessibility for all persons
  • Infrastructure development
  • Accountability in public funds expenditures
  • Minority participation in decision making
  • Disparate impact
  • Program service delivery
  • Economic empowerment
  • Public-Private partnerships in part or whole with public funds
  • Environmental justice
  • Site and location of facilities

Who must comply?
  • State and Local Government: Agency distributing federal assistance or entity distributing federal assistance to the state or local government entity.
  • Higher education: college, university, or other post-secondary institution
  • Local education agency or system of vocational education, or other school system
  • An entire corporation (including not-for-profit), partnership, or other private organization, or an entire sole proprietorship
  • The entire plant or private corporation or other organization which is a geographically separate facility to which federal financial assistance is extended.

.