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Title VI 65th Anniversary

2023 marks the 65th anniversary of Title VI programs, originally created under the National Defense Education Act of 1958 and now authorized under the Higher Education Act. The International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE) Office of the U.S. Department of Education invites you to join us in commemorating this anniversary and celebrating the importance and achievements of Title VI grant programs and fellowship recipients.

Celebrate with ED!

Join IFLE in commemorating the 65th anniversary of Title VI!

Current Title VI Programs


  • 1940’s and 1950’s – Following World War II, newly independent nations arise around the globe. Global and regional organizations emerge to address prevailing political, economic, and security concerns, leading to greater cooperation across national boundaries.
  • 1957 – The Soviet Union announces the launch of Sputnik 1, bringing global attention to the emergence of sophisticated technologies and international security threats
  • 1958 – The U.S. Federal Government builds enacts the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) to build foreign language and area studies programs at U.S. universities. NDEA creates 19 language and area centers (now referred to as National Resource Centers (NRC)), modern foreign language fellowships (the precursor to today's Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships), and the International Research and Studies (IRS) program.
  • 1960’s – A new international system evolves with the recognition of Latin America as an important arena for U.S. security as well as foreign language and area expertise. The Cuban Missile crisis demonstrates the instabilities of bipolarity and its threats to international security. President Kennedy enacts the Alliance for Progress and Peace Corps programs to help promote education, support economic integration, grow the market economy, and provide technical training in developing countries.
  • 1961 – Congress passes the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange, or Fulbright-Hays, Act. An Executive Order assigns Section 102 (b)(6) of this act to the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare because of the section's emphasis on creating an American international education infrastructure. Fulbright-Hays is positioned as the overseas counterpart to the domestic capacity-building Title VI programs.
  • 1970’s – Cold War tensions ease with the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty. The purpose of Title VI is reexamined and the programs’ scope is expanded, signaling a shift in thinking about the national importance of international education.
  • 1972 – Title VI NRCs (then 106 centers at 59 different institutions) move beyond their focus on specialist training to include outreach to elementary and secondary (K-12) education, four-year and community colleges, media, business, and the general public. Title VI begins funding two-year seed money grants to assist postsecondary institutions in internationalizing their curricula – a precursor to today's Undergraduate International Studies & Foreign Language (UISFL) program.
  • 1980’s – Détente continues as the global economy becomes increasingly interdependent. Title VI is incorporated into the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, emphasizing a greater focus on international studies' value as a part of higher education, rather than solely as support for U.S. government, military and security needs. HEA reauthorization language reflects the increasing importance of international expertise to all aspects of modern life, including business, technology, education, media, health and other professional fields. Title VI expands to include the Business and International Education (BIE) and Language Resource Centers (LRC) programs.
  • 1988 - The Centers for International Business Education (CIBE) program is created under the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act. CIBE legislation is later transferred to Title VI.
  • 1989 – The world witnesses the fall of the Berlin Wall, the disintegration of Soviet power, and the end of the Cold War. A unipolar international political system emerges with the United States the only remaining superpower.
  • 1990’s – Global information and economic as well as traditional security networks continue to grow and expand. Borders become extremely porous and national security challenges emerge in new and less recognized forms, requiring expanded area and language expertise in a variety of disciplines and professional fields.
  • 1992 – The Higher Education Act is reauthorized and establishes the American Overseas Research Centers (AORCs) program is established.
  • 1998 - Title VI legislation is reauthorized by Congress recognizing new global realities, stating: 1. The security, stability and economic vitality of the United States in a complex global era depend upon American experts in and citizens knowledgeable about world regions, foreign languages, and international affairs, as well as upon a strong research base in these areas; 2. Advances in communications technology and the growth of regional and global problems make knowledge of other countries and the ability to communicate in other languages more essential; 3. Dramatic post-cold War changes in the world's geopolitical and economic landscapes are creating needs for American expertise and knowledge about a greater diversity of less commonly taught foreign languages and nations of the world.
  • 2001 – The events of September 11 reinforce the importance of international expertise for national security and mutual international understanding. On the heels of this tragedy, Congress provides the first significant increase in Title VI and Fulbright-Hays funding since the 1960s, raising the Federal investment to a level that nevertheless remains below that of forty years ago in real dollar terms.



Last Modified: 11/07/2023