Sex Discrimination: Overview of the Law

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. Title IX states “No person in the United States 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[.]” All federal agencies that provide grants of financial assistance are required to enforce Title IX’s nondiscrimination mandate. The U.S. Department of Education (Department) gives grants of financial assistance to schools and colleges and to certain other entities, including vocational rehabilitation programs and libraries.

Examples of the types of discrimination that are covered under Title IX include but are not limited to: sex-based harassment; sexual violence; pregnancy discrimination; the failure to provide equal athletic opportunity; sex-based discrimination in a school’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses and programs; discriminatory application of dress code policies and/or enforcement; and retaliation.


In April 2024, the Department issued a Final Rule amending the Department’s regulations implementing Title IX. The April 2024 final regulations promote educational equity and opportunity for students across the country by strengthening and clarifying protections that address all forms of sex discrimination, including sex-based harassment and sexual violence. The April 2024 final regulations advance Title IX's promise of ensuring that no person experiences sex discrimination, as well as accountability and fairness, while empowering and supporting students and families. The final regulations restore and strengthen vital protections for students, and provide schools with information to meet their Title IX obligations while offering appropriate discretion and flexibility to account for variations in school size, student populations, and administrative structures. The final regulations also promote accountability by requiring schools to take prompt and effective action when notified of conduct that reasonably may constitute sex discrimination in their education programs or activities. The final regulations also reaffirm the Department's core commitment to fundamental fairness for all parties, the rights of parents and guardians to support their minor children, and respect for complainants' autonomy.

The April 2024 Title IX regulation, which is codified in the Code of Federal Regulations at 34 CFR Part 106, is enforced by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and is effective on August 1, 2024.

Additional information about the April 2024 Final Regulations:

  • Unofficial version of the Department’s 2024 Title IX Final Rule PDF (4.4M)
  • Read the Press Release
  • Fact Sheet PDF (197K)
  • Summary of Major Provisions of the Department’s 2024 Title IX Final Rule PDF (327K)
  • Resource for Drafting Nondiscrimination Policies, Notices of Nondiscrimination, and Grievance Procedures PDF (322K)

In April 2023, the U.S. Department of Education released a separate Notice of Proposed Rulemaking related to athletics that aims to advance Title IX’s longstanding goal of ensuring equal opportunity in athletics and would provide much needed clarity for students, parents, coaches, and schools. This NPRM was published in the Federal Register on April 13, 2023, and is available here. The Department received over 150,000 public comments and is in the process of carefully reviewing and considering all comments received during the comment period. Those comments are available for viewing here.

Links to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and its implementing regulation:

Last Modified: 04/19/2024