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.


  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. Example: The Harriet Tubman Express program receives money from HUD, the agency /division that Harriet Tubman Express programs are under (Health Services) must also be in compliance with Title VI rules and regulations.