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Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

What is Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972?

Title IX is a landmark federal law passed in 1972 to promote equality in all aspects of education. The law prohibits sex discrimination in any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. This includes all educational institutions, such as K-12 schools, colleges, universities, and any other programs (e.g., 4-H) to widely disseminate information on Title IX protections on the basis of sex, as well as the name, address, and telephone number (or other contact information) of the designated Title IX Coordinator.

Title IX ensures every person, regardless of their sex, has the right to a safe and inclusive learning environment, free from discrimination. The law protects against discrimination in all areas of education, including admission, enrollment, academic programs, financial aid, athletics, and student services. It also prohibits sexual harassment and assault, including harassment based on sexual stereotypes.

Title IX also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. Specifically, the law provides that no person 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.”

Title IX is a crucial tool for ensuring equality in education, as it promotes fairness, safety, and equal opportunities for all students. By enforcing Title IX, educational institutions can create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment that empowers all students to reach their full potential.

USDA and Title IX

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is dedicated to promoting a safe and inclusive learning environment free from discrimination. Many know that Title IX has been used very effectively to encourage equal opportunity in athletics. However, Title IX applies to all aspects of education, including athletics, admissions, housing, and access to facilities.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR) is committed to ensuring educational programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance from USDA, its Mission Areas, agencies, or staff offices do not tolerate or perpetuate such unlawful practices. OASCR is fully dedicated to providing comprehensive resources and reporting mechanisms. OASCR will work closely with educational institutions to develop and implement effective strategies to prevent, detect, and respond to any form of sex-based discrimination, harassment to promote a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students. OASCR has the responsibility to ensure academic programs receiving USDA funding comply with Title IX and take proactive measures to prevent and address sexual harassment and assault.

The USDA will ensure its agency employees and funding recipients, such as state land-grant university partners conducting research and extension programs, comply with Federal and agency civil rights laws, rules, and regulations, which prohibit discrimination in federally assisted programs and employment practices.

USDA prohibits discrimination against its customers. If you believe you experienced discrimination when obtaining services from USDA, participating in a USDA program, or a program receiving financial assistance from USDA, you may file a complaint with USDA. OASCR will investigate and resolve complaints of discrimination in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.

Who is Covered Under Title IX?

Educational institutions: Educational institutions receiving federal financial assistance must provide equal opportunities to male and female students in all aspects of education, including academics, athletics, and employment. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in any educational program or activity, from elementary schools to postsecondary institutions in the following programs:

Admissions: Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in admissions to educational programs and activities. Educational institutions must ensure male and female applicants are not subject to discrimination on the basis of their sex.

Employees and Faculty: Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in employment by educational institutions receiving federal financial assistance. This includes discrimination in hiring, promotion, and pay. Educational institutions must ensure employees are not discriminated against on the basis of sex, including pregnancy, parental status, sexual stereotyping, and sexual harassment.

Athletics programs: Title IX requires educational institutions provide equal opportunities for male and female students to participate in sports. This includes equal access to facilities, equipment, and coaching. Educational institutions must ensure all athletes have an equal opportunity to participate and receive the same level of benefits and opportunities.

Sexual harassment and sexual assault: Title IX require educational institutions to address and prevent sexual harassment, including sexual assault, on campus. Educational institutions must have policies and procedures in place to investigate and address incidents of sexual harassment and violence and to provide support to survivors.

Requirements of Title IX?

As a Federal agency that awards funding to educational programs, USDA has Title IX regulations. See 7 CFR 15a at .

Educational administrators and leaders should consider the following steps as an outline of some necessary steps that need to be done in order to meet the requirements of the Title IX regulations:

  • Review the current Title IX policy and identify who is currently responsible for implementing Title IX and responding to incidents in the educational institution.
  • Revise the existing or draft a new Title IX policy that is compliant with the Department of Education directives.

  • Identify the Title IX office staff and clearly define their roles. Post this information on the institution’s website.

  • Identify what other personnel may be needed to effectively implement and support the institution’s Title IX policy and procedures.

  • Provide the contact information of the Title IX coordinator to all parents or guardians of students, students and employees and how to report an incident of discrimination or harassment in programs or activities the educational institution operates.

  • Understand what the Department of Education defines as actual knowledge of a Title IX incident that triggers any K-12 personnel’s duty to report it to the district Title IX coordinator.

  • Distribute and conspicuously post information and conduct training regarding the district’s approved Title IX policy and procedures.

  • Provide comprehensive and continuous training for institution personnel including athletic coaches, to ensure they are knowledgeable about new Title IX policy and procedures.

  • Ensure a prompt and equitable grievance process and effective documentation procedures are in place for how the district receives and maintains information.
What are some examples of Title IX discrimination?

Title IX protects any person from discrimination based on sex or sexual stereotyping. This includes protection against discrimination in all aspects of education, including admissions, enrollment, academic programs, financial aid, athletics, and student services. Title IX also protects against sexual harassment and assault and intimate partner violence.

Under Title IX, discrimination can take many forms, such as:

  1. Denying admission of a person into an educational or training program on the basis of sex.
  2. Disqualifying a person for a research position on the basis of sex when it is irrelevant to ability to perform the job.
  3. Providing unequal educational resources to students of one sex compared to another.
  4. Engaging in sex–based or sexual harassment such as making unwelcome sexual comments, advances, and/or name-calling on the basis of sex.

Federal courts and agencies have found Title IX prohibits sex-based harassment, including sexual harassment, when such harassment is sufficiently serious as to limit the ability to participate in and benefit from a program or activity.

Some examples of sexual harassment by entities receiving USDA funds include but are not limited to:

  1. Unwelcome and inappropriate advances to students and employees of a research lab funded by USDA made by professors, employees, researchers, teachers, and/or students.
  2. Sexual assault of a student or employee by a doctor or other medical staff in a student sports medicine program or other clinical setting receiving USDA funding.
Who is Protected Under Title IX

Title IX protects the following individuals:

  • Students - Title IX protects students in all levels of education, from K-12 through college and graduate school.
  • Faculty and Staff - Title IX protects faculty and staff members at educational institutions, including professors, coaches, and other employees.
  • Applicants - Title IX protects individuals who are applying to educational institutions, including admissions processes and financial aid.
  • Athletes - Title IX requires educational institutions to provide equal opportunities for male and female athletes.
  • LGBTQ Students, Applicant, Faculty and Staff - Title IX protects individuals from discrimination based on their sex.
  • Pregnant and Parenting Students, Applicants, Faculty and Staff - Title IX protects pregnant and parenting students from discrimination based on their sex.
Examples of Discrimination

Sex Discrimination

Sex discrimination involves treating someone (anyone participating in an educational program, service, or activity, e.g., an applicant, employee, participant, or student) less favorably because of that person's sex. This includes discrimination on the basis of sex stereotypes and sex-related characteristics, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy and related conditions.


Sex-based harassment is a form of sex discrimination. Sex-based harassment can be sexual in nature, such as unwelcome sexual advances or pressure, sexual assault, requests for sexual favors, verbal harassment such as jokes of a sexual nature or discussion of sexual topics and sharing explicit digital media. Sex-based harassment also includes harassment of an individual because of sex-related characteristics, such as that person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or nonconformance with gender stereotypes.


In addition to harassment, it is illegal discrimination to threaten, coerce, intimidate, or interfere with anyone who are exercising their rights under Title IX or who is assisting others in doing so.

Retaliation against an individual who has filed a complaint or assisted in an investigation is also illegal. This means that if someone reports an incident of sexual harassment or discrimination, they are protected from retaliation by the institution, or the individuals involved. It is important for students to understand these rights and protections so that they can speak up if they experience or witness any form of discrimination or harassment and feel safe doing so.

Know Your Rights

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights is committed to ensuring students and employees in educational settings are treated equally and fairly.

The Title IX Coordinator at your school or university is responsible for overseeing the school's compliance with Title IX and investigating complaints of sex discrimination. The Title IX Coordinator can provide information about the school's policies and procedures for handling Title IX complaints and can assist you in filing a complaint.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR) or your educational Title IX Coordinator will investigate your complaint promptly and fairly. The investigation will typically include interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence. Once the investigation is complete, OASCR or your Title IX Coordinator will issue a decision and, if necessary, work with the school or university to develop a plan to remedy the situation and prevent future violations of Title IX. It is important to note that retaliation for filing a Title IX complaint is prohibited under federal law. If you experience retaliation for filing a complaint, you should report it immediately to OASCR by sending an email to

When to File a Complaint

Under Title IX regulations, the general timeline for filing a complaint is 180 days from the alleged discriminatory conduct. However, this timeline may be extended under certain circumstances. For example, if the complainant was prevented from filing the complaint within the 180-day timeframe due to circumstances beyond their control, such as medical issues or other extenuating circumstances, the agency or institution may extend the timeframe for filing the complaint.

In some cases, the timeline may also be extended if the complainant was unaware of the discriminatory conduct or if new evidence arises that was not previously available. It's important to note that the specific circumstances and policies governing the filing of complaints may vary depending on the institution or agency involved, so it is important to consult their policies or information on their complaint procedures and timelines.

How do I request a waiver of the 180-day filing deadline?

A waiver may be granted for the following reasons: (1) the discriminatory act could not reasonably be expected to be known within the 180-day period; (2) illness or incapacitation; (3) the same complaint was filed with another Federal, state, or local agency; and (4) any other basis determined by the Center for Civil Rights Enforcement.

How to File a Complaint

To file a Title IX program discrimination complaint with USDA, you may obtain a complaint form by sending an email to You or your authorized representative must sign the complaint form. You are not required to use the complaint form. You may write a letter instead. If you write a letter, it must contain all the information requested in the form and be signed by you or your authorized representative. Incomplete information may delay the processing of your complaint.

Title IX applies to any recipient of federal funds. Any applicant to, participant in, or employee of, a program receiving federal financial assistance has the right to file a Title IX complaint through OASCR if they feel they have been discriminated against or harassed based on their sex.

Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail, fax, or email.

USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (English) (PDF, 293 KB)
USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (Spanish) (PDF, 328 KB)

You may write a letter containing all the information requested in the complaint form, along with your signature or the signature of your authorized representative and send this letter via email to:

Send your completed complaint form or letter to us via email, mail, or fax at or you may also send by postal mail to:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Director, Center for Civil Rights Enforcement
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-9410

You may also visit our website at:

How USDA Will Respond

If you file a Title IX complaint with OASCR, here are some general steps USDA will take to keep you informed:

Acknowledgment of the complaint: USDA will confirm receipt of your complaint and let you know your complaint was received.

Acceptance, Denial or Referral: If your complaint is accepted for processing, USDA will send you a letter notifying you of the acceptance and inform you of the basis and issues that will be investigated. If your complaint is not accepted for processing, USDA will send you a letter notifying you why your complaint was not accepted, and your complaint will be closed. If appropriate, your closed complaint may be referred to another agency that may assist in resolving your issues.

Notification of the investigation: USDA will inform you they will be investigating your complaint and provide you with information about the process.

Contact information: USDA will provide you with contact information for the person who will be handling your complaint. This person may be a Title IX Coordinator, an investigator, or some other point of contact.

Timelines: USDA will let you know about the expected timeline for the investigation, and when you can expect updates on the progress of the investigation.

Notice of the outcome: Once the investigation is complete, USDA will notify you of the outcome and any next steps to take.

Appeal rights: If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, USDA will provide you with information about your right to appeal.

You will be informed throughout the process to ensure your rights are protected. If you have any questions or concerns about the complaint process, do not hesitate to reach out to your school’s Title IX Coordinator or the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.

Contact Us

Whom may I contact for further information on filing a discrimination complaint?

You may contact the Office of Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Information Research Service at (866) 632-9992 (toll free) or (202) 260-1026 or send an email to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at

For inquiries related to discrimination complaints, email:

For other inquiries, email:

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 690-0443 (voice and TDD) or contact us through the Telecommunications Relay Service at 711 or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).

USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (English) (PDF, 293 KB)
USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (Spanish) (PDF, 328 KB)

Additional Resources
Webinars and Webcasts
Promising Practices

Spellman College - In 2018, Spelman College was one of 57 colleges and universities across the nation – and the only institution in Georgia – awarded funds by the Justice Department to address sexual violence on campus. Spelman College was awarded the grant again in 2021.

Spelman’s grant will support a comprehensive campus program that focuses on improving the way that the College identifies and responds to incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The funding will also cover the development of culturally appropriate, linguistically-accessible print or electronic materials to address prevention and intervention of sexual violence to create systemic, sustainable change.

University of Massachusetts - To ensure transparency of the Title IX program, University of Massachusetts (UMass) dedicates a website to Title IX resources for students, faculty, and members of the public. Examples include Title IX reporting, Title IX policies, and Title IX resources. Moreover, the website contains easily accessible contact information for individuals who may need immediate help or need to report an incident.

A hotline is also available for those who may want to discuss a confidential matter. The website can be found at In addition to offering a plethora of Title IX resources, UMass also utilizes various proactive measures, such as the Your Intervention Strategies online sexual assault prevention training, created by UMass. These actions exhibit how transparency in Title IX services and resources can really benefit faculty, students, and members of the public. UMass’ efforts to promote Title IX awareness and providing access to Title IX resources demonstrates their commitment to non-discrimination based on sex in their programs and activities.

Laredo College - Laredo College (Laredo) is a Hispanic Serving Institution which has taken Title IX to a whole new level. Laredo has adopted an online platform known as STOP!t for anonymously reporting sexual misconduct, and other harmful and/or inappropriate behavior. This helps to increase timely reporting of, and an appropriate response to, such incidents. STOP!t is an integral part of the college’s effort to encourage the reporting of incidents of sexual misconduct, and other inappropriate behavior. This assists Laredo in its goal of timely addressing incidents of sexual harassment and assault, hazing, and other threats, in accordance with Title IX and Clery Act requirements. STOP!t can be accessed directly on the college website or through other platforms to include Android or Apple phones. Students can download STOP!t for free from iTunes or Google Play.

The application allows students to anonymously report incidents to the Title IX Coordinator. The STOP!t application allows users to send text, photos, and/or video. Also, the application allows users to communicate with Laredo staff via direct message. With this technology in place, Laredo does more than prohibit sexual harassment – it sends the message to students that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. With Laredo’s proactive approach to addressing sexual misconduct and encouraging students to say something if they see something, NIFA is confident Laredo can set the example for universities across the nation.

Pennsylvania State University - Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) supports Stand for State, which is a bystander intervention program focusing on sexual and relationship violence, mental health concerns, acts of bias, and risky drinking and drug use. Bystander intervention programs create a community of people who step in, speak up, and interrupt potential acts of violence. The program helps spread Title IX program awareness.

Moreover, the Affirmative Action Office and Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response, acting collaboratively with the University's Title IX Coordinator, provides various types of programs and services related to Title IX. These include educating students about their rights and Penn State policies and procedures in addressing incidents of sexual misconduct; facilitating accommodations for pregnant and/or parenting students; and offering resources, information, and options to individuals affected by sexual and gender-based misconduct These offices also offers training for faculty and staff, including critical student workers such as those in Residence Life, regarding these topics, as well as related topics such as the role of employees as mandatory reporters and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace.

To ensure Limited English Proficiency (LEP) populations have access to Title IX information, Penn State provides resources in several languages as part of the University's It’s On Us PA campaign. Included in the resources are several videos intended to increase awareness of options and resources for those affected by incidents of sexual misconduct and sexual violence. The videos, found at, are available to all University community members and can be used by faculty and staff in conjunction with the learning activities in classes or other group settings. Having information available in different languages to those who have a limited ability to speak, read, or understand English demonstrates a commitment to serve LEP communities. With such resources in place, Pennsylvania State University extends its Title IX resources to all, regardless of their race, color, or national origin.

Oklahoma State University - As Title IX and sexual harassment continue to be a focal point in academia, Oklahoma State University (Oklahoma State) has taken a proactive approach to ensuring faculty, staff, and students receive the appropriate training to comply with Title IX requirements, while also educating students and faculty on different Title IX principles. As such, Oklahoma State offers mandatory annual Title IX training for students, student employees, and university employees. In addition to annual training, Oklahoma State offers monthly campus events to educate students and faculty of Title IX implications. Events include Dinner and Learns, one-hour presentations which aim to educate students about consent and related Title IX topics over dinner. Oklahoma State also hosts Lunch and Learns, one-hour presentations to staff/faculty about sexual violence and related topics. Oklahoma State also hosts Don’t Do Muffin, Say Somethin!, in which it provides students a muffin and information about consent, intervention, and sexual violence reporting options on campus.

As Oklahoma State continues to spread Title IX awareness on campus, students and faculty become more aware of the consequences of Title IX violations. As a result, people are more likely to say something if they see something. Oklahoma State’s approach helps ensure the University community is educated about its rights, resources, and responsibilities under Oklahoma State’s Title IX policy and Title IX law. As a best practice, offering training and routine outreach, like Title IX campaigns, brings mindfulness to Title IX and educates students and faculty of its implications.