Civil Rights Compliance Reviews for Postsecondary (Colleges and Educational Opportunity Centers)*
The New York State Education Department conducts site visits to determine compliance with federal Civil Rights Laws and Regulations as part of the State's agreement with the U.S. Department of Education. These visits seek to ensure that all post-secondary institutions which receive federal funds have take the physical and programmatic steps necessary to ensure that their academic programs and facilities are fully accessible and do not engage in discrimination.
What are the required parts of the compliance and technical assistance program?
SED is required to:
- conduct an annual review of all eligible institutions of higher education using available enrollment statistics and other information to identify areas of possible non-compliance;
- conduct comprehensive onsite reviews of 2.5% of the institutions of higher education in the annual review pool each year, identify findings of non-compliance and work with institutional officials to develop a compliance plan to remedy violations;
- monitor institutions of higher education for completion of their compliance plan; and
- respond to and help resolve civil rights complaints.
* Please note that this office does not have investigative capabilities or prerogatives.
If you believe that your federal civil rights have been infringed upon, and you wish to file a grievance regarding Title IX, Section 504, or any other alleged civil rights violations such as those based on race, color, sex/gender, national origin, age, or disability, please contact:
Office for Civil Rights (OCR) – Enforcement Office
U.S. Department of Education
32 Old Slip, 26th floor
New York, NY 10005 – 2500
What federal civil rights laws are involved?
There are five major federal civil rights laws, and the Guidelines, which are used as part of the compliance review process. These laws and their federal regulations are:
- Title VI - Civil Rights Act of 1964 , which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin. 34 CFR Part 100(Title VI)
- Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. 34 CFR Part 106 (Title IX)
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. 34 CFR Part 104 (Section 504)
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. 28 CFR Part 35, Title II of the ADA (ADA)
- Guidelines for Eliminating Discrimination and Denial of Services on the Basis of Race, Color, National Origin, Sex and Handicap in Vocational Educational Programs (34 CFR Part 100, Appendix B)
- Other publications, guidelines, and resources from the US DOE Office of Civil Rights.
- For details on the Postsecondary Civil Rights Compliance reviews as per NYSED's Methods of Administration Plan approved by the Division of Civil Rights of USDOE on October 9, 2020, please review: Methods of Administration Plan | New York State Education Department (nysed.gov)
Why does Career and Technical Education receive special civil rights attention?
Beginning in 1973, various civil rights advocacy groups, including the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP, sued the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare (now the Department of Education) on behalf of a plaintiff, alleging that the federal government was not enforcing the federal civil rights laws in education.
The Federal District Court of Washington, D.C. settled the case by issuing a consent decree in 1977 which required the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights to publish Guidelines for Eliminating Discrimination and Denial of Services on the Basis of Race, Color, National Origin, Sex and Handicap in Career and Technical Education Programs. Published in its final form in 1979, the Guidelines continue to remain in force.
The Guidelines require that each state is required to implement a compliance program to prevent, identify and remedy discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap in vocational education programs operated by recipients of federal financial assistance.
The reviews are intended to ensure that students have access to career and technical education without regard to their race, color, national origin, sex, or disability. The onsite review is conducted to ensure that institutions of higher education are in compliance with federal civil rights laws.
For Further information and Assistance
Civil Rights Compliance
New York State Education Department
Room 960, Education Building Annex
Albany, NY 12234