National Defense Education Act (NDEA), federal legislation passed in 1958 providing aid to education in the United States at all levels, public and private. NDEA was instituted primarily to stimulate the advancement of education in science, mathematics, and modern foreign languages; but it has also provided aid in other areas, including technical education, area studies, geography, English as a second language, counseling and guidance, school libraries and librarianship, and educational media centers. The act provides institutions of higher education with 90% of capital funds for low-interest loans to students. NDEA also gives federal support for improvement and change in elementary and secondary education. The act contains statutory prohibitions of federal direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution.