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Age Discrimination
Policy Guidance

Protecting Students: Age Discrimination Overview
The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits discrimination based on age in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. This prohibition extends to all state education agencies, elementary and secondary school systems, colleges and universities, vocational schools, proprietary schools, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, libraries, and museums that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. Programs or activities that receive such funds must provide aids, benefits, or services in a nondiscriminatory manner. These 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, and housing. Though the Act does not limit protections against discrimination to a certain age group, it does allow for exceptions such as when colleges offer special programs that are geared toward providing special benefits to children and the elderly in a specific age range.




Title of Document


April 24, 2013


Guidance on the prohibition against retaliation under Federal civil rights laws


“Dear Colleague" letter from Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Seth Galanter clarifies the basic principles of retaliation law and describes OCR’s methods of enforcement.

prior to 2010

January 13, 2009

  Guidance on Assurance of Compliance-Civil Rights Certificate
    “Dear Colleague” letter from Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Stephanie Monroe, concerning the obligation of recipients of federal financial assistance from, or funds made available through, the Department to submit a signed assurance of compliance with the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act and the other laws OCR enforces. This letter is a subsequent request to recipients for whom OCR has no record of receiving a signed assurance.  The letter contains instructions for completion, and encloses a blank copy of the Assurance of Compliance – Civil Rights Certificate for submission to OCR.

July 28, 2003

  First Amendment

"Dear Colleague" letter reaffirming that OCR's regulations and policies do not require or prescribe speech, conduct or harassment codes that impair the exercise of rights protected under the First Amendment.

Last Modified: 09/25/2018