The purpose of this section is to assist the Department in implementing the Department's mission to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the Nation, by—
(1) ensuring equal opportunities to participate for all eligible students, teachers, and other program beneficiaries in any project or activity carried out under an applicable program; and
(2) promoting the ability of such students, teachers, and beneficiaries to meet high standards.
(b) Requirement to develop steps to ensure equity
The Secretary shall require each applicant for assistance under an applicable program (other than an individual) to develop and describe in such applicant's application the steps such applicant proposes to take to ensure equitable access to, and equitable participation in, the project or activity to be conducted with such assistance, by addressing the special needs of students, teachers, and other program beneficiaries in order to overcome barriers to equitable participation, including barriers based on gender, race, color, national origin, disability, and age.
(c) Establishment of criteria
The Secretary may establish criteria and provide technical assistance for meeting the requirements of this section.
(d) Effect on other laws
Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter in any way the rights or responsibilities established under the laws cited in section 1221(d) of this title.
Section effective July 1, 1995, for noncompetitive programs in which funds are allocated on the basis of a formula and for programs that are conducted on a competitive basis, with respect to appropriations for use under such programs in fiscal year 1995 and in subsequent fiscal years, see section 3(a)(2) of Pub. L. 103–382, set out as an Effective Date of 1994 Amendment note under section 1221 of this title.