Study of Foreign Languages and Related Areas:

Federal Support, Administration, Need

ID-78-46: Published: Sep 13, 1978. Publicly Released: Sep 13, 1978.

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Title VI of the National Defense Education Act of 1958 authorized federal financial assistance to institutions of higher education to promote the study of needed foreign languages and related areas. Through fiscal year 1978, about $229 million in such assistance has been provided through the Office of Education (OE). Grants were awarded to support language and area centers and research projects, and starter grants were awarded for new international studies programs.

Since 1968, overall enrollments in the study of modern foreign languages have fallen, but enrollments in languages supported by title VI have increased. Grants are being made on the basis of 1972 data from an OE study on language priorities. National language needs are still undetermined because of the many languages and fields of study and the difficulties in determining needs. Also, it has been difficult to assess the appropriate levels of federal funding for title VI programs. Conditions giving rise to the need for title VI have changed, but the need still exists in view of present international relations. The stable level of funding provided by Congress in recent years should be continued. Federal administration of title VI programs seems to be effective and management of the programs has been improved, but additional administrative improvements are needed.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare should require OE to: (1) visit centers receiving title VI grants at least once every 2 years; (2) prepare and distribute to appropriate parties a biannual report containing lessons learned based on reports from the visits to centers; (3) provide feedback reports to the centers at least once a year on their reports to OE; and (4) develop a system to evaluate the effectiveness of the program providing starter grants to new international studies projects.

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