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Limited English Proficiency : G-130

Policy/Guideline Area

General Guidelines

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges, System Office


This guideline advises the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) System Office and its constituent institutions, as recipients of federal funds, of the obligation under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).


Definitions are part of the body of the Guideline.


  1. Access
    1. The Department of Justice defines persons with LEP as "those individuals who have a limited ability to read, write, speak or understand English." Because English is not the primary language of these individuals, they may have a limited ability to function in a setting where English is the primary language spoken, such as a TBR institution.
    2. TBR and its institutions may encounter LEP persons in the form of international students, faculty, staff and other individuals seeking services and access to programs.
    3. There are specific TBR policies and guidelines that deal with the ability to read, write, speak or understand English, including:
      1. Policy 2:03:00:00 "Admissions" - provides the basic English requirement for entering students.
      2. Guideline A-100 "Learning Support" - outlines learning support opportunities to assist students in reading and writing.
      3. Policy 2:08:30:00 "Admission and Delivery of Services to International Students and for the Employment and Delivery of Services to International Faculty and Academic Staff at TBR Institutions" - provides requirements related to English proficiency and the provision of professionally staffed ESL programs if the institution admits students not meeting those requirements.
    4. The provisions below apply to other situations involving persons with LEP.
      1. TBR System Office and campus staff will post services available to LEP persons in highly visible areas and also provide trained personnel to provide meaningful services and access to programs for these persons.
      2. TBR System Office and campus staff will promptly identify the language and communication needs of the LEP person who makes himself or herself known to the institution.
      3. TBR system Office and campus staff will then have options to address the LEP person's needs.
        1. These options may include but are not limited to:
          1. Using language identification cards (or "I speak cards") or posters to determine the language;
          2. Maintaining an accurate and current list showing the name, language, phone number and hours of availability of a staff interpreter, if applicable;
          3. Contacting the appropriate staff member to interpret, in the event that an interpreter is needed and/or if an employee who speaks the needed language is available and is qualified to interpret;
          4. If necessary, obtaining an outside interpreter if a staff interpreter is not available or does not speak the needed language.
    5. When translation of vital documents is needed, the appropriate Title VI Coordinator will submit documents for translation into frequently-encountered languages to the responsible staff person or interpreter. Documents being submitted for translation must be in final, approved form.
    6. TBR Title VI Coordinators will regularly assess the efficacy of these procedures, including but not limited to mechanisms for securing interpreter services, equipment used for the delivery of language assistance, complaints filed by LEP persons, and feedback from the public and community organizations.
    7. Individuals who believe they have not been provided reasonable access to LEP services may file a complaint with the appropriate Title VI Officer within 180 days after the last incident of denial.



T.C.A. § 49-8-203; Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.


New Guideline approved, Presidents Meeting November 7, 2012.  

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