Foreign Language and International Studies: Federal Aid under Title VI of the Higher Education Act [Updated January 9, 2008]   [open pdf - 132KB]

"Title VI of the Higher Education Act (HEA) -- International Education Programs -- authorizes a variety of grants to institutions of higher education (IHEs) and related entities to enhance instruction in foreign language and area studies (FLAS). This is one of the oldest U.S. Department of Education (ED) programs of support to higher education, having been initiated as Title VI of the National Defense Education Act of 1958. This program reflects the special priority placed by the federal government on FLAS, especially with respect to diplomacy, national security, and trade competitiveness. Interest in HEA Title VI and other federal programs supporting FLAS has increased recently due to concerns regarding terrorism arising from foreign regions which are infrequently included in American postsecondary curricula. […] There appears to be broad agreement that interaction between American society and people and cultures from throughout the world is increasing steadily, generating national security concerns involving nations large and small. International education advocates argue that since it may be impossible to predict which nations will generate such concern in the future, and substantial time is required to develop the necessary human capital, it is important that ongoing support be provided from some source for instruction in all of the world's significant languages and cultures. However, it may be questioned whether this support should be provided by the federal government, and whether it should be focused on the nation's colleges and universities, on federally operated language schools, or both."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL31625
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