International Education

Title VI international education programs provide essential federal funding for programs at the college level for the development of language skills and regional expertise.

They also work with elementary and secondary schools and businesses engaged in foreign enterprise. Administered by the Department of Education, Title VI programs include the Centers for International Business Education (CIBE) Program, Language Resource Centers (LRC) Program, National Resource Centers (NRC) Program, and the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) Program. The Department also has responsibility for the Fulbright-Hays programs authorized under the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act. The Departments of State and Defense also provide for intensive foreign language training at institutes serving U.S. foreign affairs professionals and members of the armed forces, respectively.


Title VI of the Higher Education Act (HEA) supports a multi-faceted array of institutional and fellowship grants in the area of international education. Although small in size, these programs make a significant contribution in strengthening instruction in foreign languages, and other areas of international study.

Over the years, these programs have been consistently subjected to the vagaries of political perspectives regarding current foreign policy.  However, in recent consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2022, Congress has included reauthorization and expansion of the Title VI programs.  The language is based on the Advancing International and Foreign Language Education Act, introduced by Rep. David Price (D-NC) and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN).

Funding levels for Title VI, which have always been lean, have recently ticked up because of renewed interest in these programs, however funding has not been restored to pre-2011 levels. Programs were funded at a total of $78 million in FY 2021, and both House ($93 million) and Senate ($95 million) Appropriations Committees have recommended increases for FY 2022. 


The precursor to Title VI was the National Defense Education Act (NDEA), signed by President Eisenhower in 1958 in response to the launching of Sputnik by the Soviet Union.

The NDEA established a student loan program and authorized grants emphasizing the study of math, science, and foreign languages (particularly less-commonly taught languages).

It was followed by the Foreign Assistance Act in 1961, which sent technical specialists to developing countries. That same year, the Fulbright-Hays Act was enacted for the purpose of improving mutual understanding through educational and cultural exchange.

The NDEA student loan program subsequently became the Perkins Loan program, while its foreign language provisions became Title VI of the HEA.

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What You Can Do

  • Become familiar with any Title VI grantees on your campus.
  • Urge your Senators and Representatives to support increased funding for Title VI programs.


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