What is Title IX? logo

What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

The United States Department of Education (ED) maintains an Office for Civil Rights, with 12 enforcement offices throughout the nation and a headquarters office in Washington, D.C., to enforce Title IX.

Education Programs and Activities Covered by Title IX

Title IX covers state and local agencies that receive ED funds. These agencies include approximately 16,000 local school districts, 3,200 colleges and universities, and 5,000 for-profit schools as well as libraries and museums. Also included are vocational rehabilitation agencies and education agencies of 50 states, the District of Columbia, and territories and possessions of the United States.

Programs and activities which receive ED funds must operate in a nondiscriminatory manner. These programs and activities may include, but are not limited to: admissions, recruitment, financial aid, academic programs, student treatment and services, counseling and guidance, discipline, classroom assignment, grading, vocational education, recreation, physical education, athletics, housing and employment. Also, a recipient may not retaliate against any person because he or she opposed an unlawful educational practice or policy, or made charges, testified or participated in any complaint action under Title IX. For a recipient to retaliate in any way is considered a violation of Title IX. The ED Title IX regulations (Volume 34, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 106) provide a detailed discussion of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.

The Office for Civil Rights Enforces Title IX

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in ED is responsible for enforcing Title IX. OCR's responsibility to ensure that institutions which receive ED funds comply with Title IX is carried out through compliance enforcement. The principal enforcement activity is the investigation and resolution of complaints filed by people alleging sex discrimination. Also, through agency-initiated reviews of selected recipients, OCR is able to identify and remedy sex discrimination which 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 ED financial assistance. Therefore, OCR provides information and guidance to schools, universities and other agencies to assist them in voluntarily complying with the law. OCR also informs students and their parents, and those who apply for admission to academic programs, of their rights under Title IX.

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

  • the provision of less than a fair share of funds for athletic scholarships to females;
  • inequitable pay for female teachers holding similar teaching positions to those held by male counterparts; and
  • discrimination against female students on the basis of pregnancy.

Learn more at the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. Opens in new window
U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Washington, D.C.20202-1328