Questions and Answers Regarding Title IX Procedural Requirements
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972,as amended, is a
comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any
federally funded education program or activity. In addition to traditional educational
institutions such as colleges, universities, and elementary and secondary schools, Title
IX also applies to any education or training program operated by a recipient of federal
financial assistance. Many of these education program providers/recipients became subject
to Title IX regulations when the Title IX final Common Rule was published on August 30,
2000. All federal agencies that provide funding for any education or training programs
have new responsibilities in ensuring that their recipients comply with the
nondiscrimination mandate of Title IX and its procedural requirements by establishing a
method for receiving and resolving sex-based discrimination complaints. Listed below are
questions and answers regarding some of the basic procedural requirements. For a more
comprehensive overview, refer to the Title IX Final Common Rule for 21 Federal agencies:
Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving
Federal Financial Assistance (65 Fed. Reg. 52857).
Question 1: What is the purpose of an assurance?
An assurance ensures that applicants and recipients of federal financial assistance
(FFA) are aware of their obligations to operate all of their education programs or
activities in compliance with the nondiscrimination mandates of Title IX and the Title IX
implementing regulations. See generally 65 Fed. Reg. 52867 at § .115.
Question 2: What must be contained in an assurance?
The assurance must state that the applicant or recipient will comply with all
applicable federal statutes relating to nondiscrimination by recipients of federal
financial assistance. This includes, but is not limited to, Title IX. The Title IX
regulations require that the assurance must contain language that commits the applicant or
recipient to undertake whatever remedial action is necessary to eliminate any existing sex
discrimination or to eliminate the effects of past discrimination regardless of
whether the discrimination occurred prior to or subsequent to the submission of the
The Title IX regulations do not require federal agencies to use any specific language
in the assurance but they do require the federal agencies to designate the form of the
assurance and the extent to which such assurances will be required of the applicants
or recipients subgrantees, contractors, subcontractors, transferees, or successors
Question 3: Is every application for or award of FFA required to have an assurance?
No. The Title IX regulations eliminated the requirement that assurances be provided
with each and every application for FFA. Instead, either at the application or award
stage, federal funding agencies must ensure that every application for or award of FFA
contain, be accompanied by, or be covered by a specifically identified assurance.* See
65 Fed. Reg. 52867 at § .115(a).
*Note that Title IX regulations have eliminated the requirement
contained in the Department of Educations Title IX Rule (See 34 C.F.R.
§106.4(a)) and the proposed Title IX Common Rule (See 64 Fed. Reg. 58576 at §__
.115) that every application contain or be accompanied by an assurance. This not only
gives federal funding agencies the flexibility to obtain the assurance at either the
application or award stage, but also streamlines the federal grants process by eliminating
the need for grant-by-grant certifications.
Question 4: What is the duration of the assurance obligations?
Generally, recipients of FFA are obligated to comply with the nondiscrimination
mandates of Title IX and the Title IX regulations for the period during which federal
funding is provided.
However, in the case of FFA to provide real property to operate an education program or
activity, the assurance obligations shall be in effect for the time period during which
the real property is used to provide an education program or activity. If there is a
subsequent transfer of the real property, the transferees must comply with assurance
obligations for the duration of the time period in which the property is used to provide
and education program or activity.
Where FFA is provided in the form of personal property, the recipients assurance
obligations remain in effect for the time period during which it retains ownership or
possession of the property.
Question 5: What else do federal funding agencies need to know about assurances?
Under the Title IX regulations, federal funding agencies have a duty to require that
recipients of FFA are aware of the obligations to comply with the nondiscrimination
provisions of Title IX and Title IX regulations. It is important to note that the Supreme
Court has upheld the regulatory power of funding agencies to terminate a recipients
FFA for failure to execute an assurance of compliance with Title IX.
DESIGNATION OF TITLE IX COORDINATOR*
The Title IX coordinator is the responsible employee of the recipient with major
responsibility for Title IX compliance efforts. The Title IX coordinators
responsibilities are critical to the development, implementation, and monitoring of
meaningful efforts to comply with Title IX. Therefore, Federal funding agencies must
inform their recipients of the following obligations under the Title IX regulations:
Under the Title IX regulations, a recipient must designate at least one employee
to serve as its Title IX coordinator. See 65 Fed Reg. 52867 at § .135(a). Ideally,
this person may be the employee designated to handle Section 504 complaints. The recipient
must notify all its students and employees, of the name, office, address, and
telephone number of the employee(s) designated to serve as the Title IX coordinator.
Question 1: What are the responsibilities of the Title IX Coordinator?
The Title IX coordinator has a responsibility to coordinate the recipients
efforts to comply with its obligations under Title IX and the Title IX regulations. These
responsibilities include coordinating any investigations of complaints received pursuant
to Title IX and the implementing regulations.
Question 2: What factors should a recipient consider in designating a Title IX
the tasks and responsibilities relating to the implementation and
administration of the grievance process, which include, but are not limited to:
providing consultation and information regarding Title IX requirements to
distribution of grievance forms to potential complainants
receipt of formal grievances and providing notification to complainants of
receipt of the grievance
scheduling grievance hearings
moderation of grievance procedures
notification to all parties regarding grievance decisions
notification of complainants of the right and procedures of appeal
monitoring compliance of all requirements and time-lines specified in the grievance
training of staff responsible for grievance procedures
maintenance of grievance and compliance records and files
provision of ongoing training, consultation, technical assistance, and information
services regarding Title IX requirements, grievance issues, and compliance programs
the competencies and skills necessary for the effective administration of the
grievance process and related activities, which include, but are not limited to:
in-depth knowledge of the Title IX regulation
general knowledge of other federal and state non-discrimination laws
knowledge of the recipient agencys Title IX grievance procedures
knowledge of personnel policies and practices of the recipient agency/institution
ability to prepare reports on the Title IX compliance activities and make
recommendations for action by appropriate decisionmakers
ability to communicate effectively
ability to diagnose, clarify, and mediate differences of opinion
ability to establish a positive climate for Title IX compliance efforts
basic principles regarding the effective functioning of the Title IX
coordinator within the structure of the recipient agency/institution, which cannot be
the functions and responsibilities of the Title IX coordinator are
clearly delineated and communicated to all levels of the recipient agency/institution
administration and to all employees and students
the Title IX coordinator is provided all information and authority or access
necessary to enforce compliance requirements
* Refer to the Department of Education document: "Title IX
Grievance Procedures: An Introductory Manual" for detailed information on the duties
and responsibilities of a Title IX Coordinator. This document is available by request
through the Department of Education website
Question 1: What are the obligations of federal funding agencies and
Federal funding agencies must inform their recipients of the following:
Recipients must adopt and publish internal grievance procedures to promptly and
equitably resolve complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of sex in its education
programs or activities. See 65 Fed. Reg. 52867 at § .135(b)
Question 2: What is a grievance procedure?
The grievance procedure is a mechanism used to determine whether a particular act,
policy, or practice of a recipient complies with Title IX regulations. The grievance
procedures also provide the steps necessary to correct the policy or practice that does
not comply with Title IX regulations and to remedy any effects of discrimination upon
Question 3: Can a recipient use its existing discrimination grievance procedures for
complaints of sex harassment?
Although federal law permits recipients to use their discrimination complaint
procedures for complaints of sex harassment, it is recommended that recipients develop and
use grievance procedures tailored specifically to allegations of harassment. Due to the
sensitive nature of sexual harassment complaints, confidentiality may be a higher priority
than in regular discrimination complaints. Thus, a grievance procedure that differs from
the standard grievance procedure, at least during the early stages of proceedings, may be
Question 4: Do the Title IX regulations specify a certain structure or
format for grievance procedures?
Title IX regulations do not specify a structure or format for the grievance procedures.
Instead, each recipient must develop grievance procedures that most effectively provide
for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints. For those recipients who do not have
Title IX grievance procedures or for those recipients who want to refine existing
procedures, the Department of Educations guidance document, "Title IX Grievance
Procedures: An Introductory Manual," (available by request at:
http://www.ed.gov/offices/OCR/publications.html) provides some of the basic components of developing effective
Question 5: Does the existence of Title IX grievance procedures affect the right of an
individual or group to file a federal complaint regarding possible Title IX violations?
No. Individuals or groups may file a federal complaint without using the existing Title
IX grievance procedures; alternatively, individuals may simultaneously file an internal
grievance and file a federal complaint; or after the unsatisfactory resolution of their
grievance through the recipient agency/institution grievance procedure, file a federal
Points to Consider
It is important to note that there is no private right of action for damages for a
recipients failure to establish grievance procedures under Title IX. However,
requirements under Title IX regulations to establish such procedures can be enforced
administratively by the federal funding agency.
* Refer to the Department of Education document: "Title IX
Grievance Procedures: An Introductory Manual," available by request through the
Department of Education website at
for detailed information on Title IX grievance procedures.
DISSEMINATION OF THE TITLE IX POLICY
The Title IX regulations require each recipient to take specific steps to regularly and
consistently notify the public - i.e., participants, employees, applicants, etc. that it
does not discriminate on the basis of sex in the operation of its education programs and
activities, pursuant to its obligations to comply with Title IX and the implementing
regulations. See generally 65 Fed. Reg. 52867 at § .140
Question 1: What specific information are recipients required to disseminate?
The federal funding agency may specify the information it finds necessary to be
contained in the recipientss notification in order to fully apprise the
recipients participants and/or employees of their protections under Title IX and the
implementing regulations. However, at a minimum, the notification must
contain the following:
Title IX and the Title IX regulations also apply to employment in and admission
to the recipients education programs and activities.
Inquiries regarding Title IX and the Title IX regulations can be referred to the
recipients designated Title IX coordinator or to the federal funding agency.
Question 2: When do recipients have to issue this notification?
Under the Title IX regulations, each recipient is required to make its initial
notification within 90 days or September 29, 2000 or as of the date the Title IX
regulations apply to the recipient - whichever is the later date.
Question 3: Where must the notifications be disseminated?
Title IX regulations require recipients to notify the public of the protections assured
to them under Title IX and the implementing regulations by:
publishing the notification in newspapers* and magazines operated by the
recipient or by student or alumnus groups for or in connection with the recipient; and
publishing the notification in memoranda or other written communications
distributed to every student or employee of the recipient
*Note that unlike Dept. of Education requirements (See 34 C.F.R.
§106.9(2)(a)) and the proposed Title IX Common Rule (See 64 Fed. Reg. 58577 at
§__ .140(2)), the final Title IX regulations do not require publication in local
Each recipient must prominently publish a statement of its Title IX policy in each
announcement, bulletin, catalog, or application form that it makes available to the public
or is used in connection with any recruitment of students or employees.
Recipients must ensure that the notification is widely disseminated and easily
Question 4: What else do recipients need to know about distributing their Title IX
Recipients must not use or distribute a publication that suggests by its text or
illustration that it treats applicants, students, or employees differently on the basis of
sex - except as permitted under the Title IX regulations.
Each recipient must distribute its Title IX policies, without discrimination on the
basis of sex, and must inform each of its admission and employment recruitment
representatives of Title IXs nondiscrimination policies. Each recipient must ensure
that these representatives adhere to these policies.
REMEDIAL ACTION, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, SELF-EVALUATION &
Question 1: What type of remedial action must recipients provide under Title IX
If the federal funding agency finds that the recipient violated Title IX, the recipient
must undertake the remedial action the federal funding agency deems necessary to overcome
the effects of such discrimination.
Question 2: Can a recipient take affirmative steps to address the results of past sex
Yes. Even where there is no finding of a Title IX violation, a recipient may take
affirmative steps consistent with the law to overcome the effects of conditions that
resulted in limited participation of persons of a particular sex in the recipients
education program or activity.
Question 3: Does every recipient have to conduct a self-evaluation of its current
policies and practices as it relates to Title IX?
No. Although § .110 of the Title IX regulations states that recipients must conduct a
self-evaluation, it should be noted that this requirement only applies to recipient educational
institutions. Most such recipients are covered by the Department of Educations
Title IX regulations and have complied with this provision. However, an "educational
institution" includes an institution of vocational education* and many of
these schools may not have conducted a self-evaluation if they do not receive FFA from the
Department of Education.
*defined under the Title IX regulations as "a school or
institution...that has as its primary purpose preparation of students to pursue a
technical, skilled, or semiskilled occupation or trade, or to pursue study in a technical
field, whether or not the school or institution offers certificates, diplomas, or degrees
and whether or not it offers full-time study
Question 4: For those recipient education institutions that have NOT conducted a
self-evaluation yet, what do the Title IX regulations require?
Those recipient education institutions that have not conducted a self-evaluation are
required under the Title IX regulations to evaluate their current policies and practices
and the effects of such policies and practices on the admission and treatment of students,
and the employment of academic and non-academic personnel working in connection with the
recipient education program or activity. See 65 Fed. Reg. 52867 at § .110(c)(1).
Recipient education institutions are also required to modify any of these policies and
practices that do not or may not meet the requirements of the Title IX regulations. Id.
at § .110(c)(2). In addition, these institutions must take appropriate remedial steps to
eliminate the effects of any discrimination that resulted or may have resulted from such
policies and practices. Id. at § .110(c)(3). After completion of the evaluation,
these institutions must maintain on file for at least three years all self-evaluation and
related materials and shall provide information regarding any modifications or remedial
steps taken pursuant to the self-evaluation to the recipient agencys Title IX
Question 5: For those recipient education institutions that have not conducted a
self-evaluation yet, when must they comply with this Title IX regulation requirement?
For those recipient education institutions that have never conducted a self-evaluation
pursuant to the Title IX regulations, they are required to conduct the self-evaluation
within one year of September 29, 2000.
Question 6: What are transition plans?
Title IX regulations state that a Title IX transition plan means a plan that is subject
to the approval of the Secretary of Education under which an educational institution makes
the transition from being an educational institution that admits students of one sex to
being one that admits students of both sexes without discrimination. Note that the
obligation to submit a transition plan is applicable only to those education institutions
that receive FFA from the Department of Education since those are the only ones over which
the Secretary of Education would have authority.