Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Are federal agencies authorized to collect data to determine civil rights compliance under Title VI?
Yes. The Title VI regulations of all federal funding agencies and the Title VI Coordination Regulations unambiguously authorize agencies to collect necessary information to determine compliance with Title VI. Agencies’ authority and purpose for collecting information and data from applicants for and recipients of federal financial assistance is rooted in the agencies’ investigative and enforcement responsibilities under Title VI. Importantly, agencies are not limited to collecting relevant demographic data only in response to a complaint, but may do so related to compliance reviews or other federal agency efforts to monitor recipients’ compliance with Title VI. Courts have recognized that routine monitoring through data collection is a form of enforcement and that agencies have broad discretion in selecting the data they need to fulfill the congressional mandate to enforce Title VI through monitoring.
What is the role of data collection in Title VI enforcement?
Civil rights data collection is the cornerstone of effective Title VI enforcement. The importance of diligently gathered and thoroughly analyzed data cannot be overstated. It is indispensable to the investigatory process in assessing allegations of discrimination and can form the basis for initiating compliance reviews focusing on particular issues or systemic problems that require technical assistance, policy guidance, litigation, or other enforcement mechanisms to remedy discrimination. It is also an effective mechanism to support agency oversight and ensure that discrimination does not recur. Although collecting civil rights data is a vital part of Title VI enforcement, merely gathering information is insufficient. To effectively address Title VI issues, agencies must analyze the data it collects, determine whether the recipient is in compliance or in need of technical assistance, and take such actions as needed to promptly and equitably address problems and ensure compliance.
What types of information are recipients of federal financial assistance required to submit to comply with the requirements of Title VI?
Recipients must cooperate with requests from federal agencies for information to demonstrate compliance. This may include demographic information related to the beneficiaries of the federally funded program and information demonstrating nondiscrimination in the decision-making process and implementation of the program, among others. Federal agencies are expected to provide guidance and assistance to their recipients on this obligation. All agencies’ Title VI regulations require recipients to keep such records and to provide the federal agencies with timely, complete, and accurate compliance reports. (See, e.g., 28 C.F.R. § 42.106(a)-(b) (Department of Justice Title VI regulations)) Recipients must provide this information at such times and in such form and containing such information as the agencies may determine is necessary to determine whether recipients are complying with Title VI.
Racial and ethnic data showing the extent to which members of minority groups are beneficiaries of recipients’ federally assisted programs are fundamental and must be made available to the federal agencies. Where the primary recipient extends federal financial assistance to subrecipients or subgrantees, these entities are required to submit data and information necessary for the primary recipient to comply with its compliance reporting obligations under Title VI. See, e.g., 28 C.F.R. § 42.106(b). Resources such as Census data and the data collection requirements of federal agencies’ program statutes may be useful to recipients in fulfilling these civil rights obligations.
Is submitting Title VI information or data directly to the federal agencies the only requirement?
No. When recipients receive federal financial assistance, not only are they bound to maintain the data necessary to evaluate Title VI compliance, they must also provide federal agencies with access to the data. Access includes viewing relevant documents, inspecting facilities, and interviewing recipient personnel during normal business hours. If recipients are not in possession of the required information and cannot obtain it, they must so certify to the federal agencies in a report detailing the efforts made to obtain the information from an agency, institution, or person who fails or refuses to furnish the information. See, e.g., 28 C.F.R. § 42.106(d).
What Title VI information and data are recipients required to make available to the public?
Under the Title VI regulations, recipients are required to inform the public, beneficiaries, participants and other interested persons of the applicability of Title VI to their federally funded programs and activities. Also, federal agencies may find that effective Title VI enforcement requires recipients to make information or data on Title VI compliance available to the public. In these circumstances, recipients are required to make such information available as the federal agency deems necessary. See, e.g., 28 C.F.R. § 42.106(d).