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Proposed Borrower Defense Rule webinar recordings now available

Aaron Lacey October 10, 2016
unraveling borrower defense rule

Over the past two months, Thompson Coburn’s Higher Education Practice presented a four-part webinar series examining the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed borrow defense rule. If you missed a session, would like to view a session a second time, or would like to share the information with other members of your team, the recordings are now available free and on demand. READ MORE

ED terminates recognition of ACICS: Next steps

Aaron Lacey September 23, 2016
REGucation_default blog

Though this decision has most immediate and significant importance for the institutions presently accredited by ACICS, institutions throughout higher education may also be touched by this decision, should the thousands of students and employees of ACICS-accredited institutions ultimately be displaced. READ MORE

ED issues proposed rules for higher ed distance learning programs

Paul Stoehr Aaron Lacey September 13, 2016
REGucation_default blog

The proposed rules provide new and potentially onerous requirements for state authorization of online or distance learning programs, along with new requirements for state authorization of branch locations in foreign countries. READ MORE

NLRB issues two key decisions affecting higher ed

Aaron Lacey August 26, 2016
union election sign

In the first decision, the NLRB held that graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants had the right to unionize. In a separate pair of decisions, the Board also held that religious studies faculty could be excluded from adjunct faculty unions. READ MORE

New webinar series: Unraveling the proposed Borrower Defense Rule

Jeff Fink Aaron Lacey August 24, 2016
unraveling borrower defense rule

On June 16, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education released its proposed “borrower defense” rule, a sweeping and complex set of regulatory proposals with significance for all institutions of higher education. To help institutions understand the proposed rule and its implications, Thompson Coburn’s Higher Education Team is offering a series of in-depth webinars, each focused on a different aspect of the regulatory package. READ MORE

Higher ed braces for flood of lawsuits over retirement plans

retirement plan

The same St. Louis-based law firm that filed each of the actions, Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, has previously targeted large corporations like Boeing, CIGNA, Kraft and Lockheed Martin with similar allegations, resulting in multi-million dollar settlements. Now the firm has turned its sights to private not-for-profit universities. READ MORE

A look at the legal issues in the transgender bathrooms debate

Aaron Lacey August 5, 2016
all gender bathroom sign

While athletics, record maintenance, field trips, and other such concerns continue to be part of the broader discussion about Title IX and transgender individuals on campus, it is undeniable that one issue has taken center stage: bathrooms. With this in mind, we offer in this post an overview of the legal issues underlying the public debate. READ MORE

Colorado jumps into student data privacy protection with new privacy law

REGucation_default blog

One of the less-regulated industries that has lately been receiving a lot of attention is educational institutions. As technology continues to move into virtually all aspects of education, so too has the collection, use, and storage of student personally identifying information. READ MORE

Reviewing your GE Completers List: A practical approach

Aaron Lacey July 14, 2016
REGucation_default blog

Thompson Coburn higher education attorney Aaron Lacey recently wrote a step-by-step guide for Career Education Review titled, “Evaluating Your GE Completers List: A Practical Approach.” READ MORE

FAA provides clearer skies for educational use of drones


In a nod to increased interest in the academic use of drones, the FAA has released an interpretation on the “Educational Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems,” which clarifies the use of UAS for hobby or recreational purposes at educational institutions and community-sponsored events. READ MORE

Department of Education’s best practices for transgender students deserve careful attention

Aaron Lacey May 16, 2016

In recent months, the treatment of transgender individuals on campus has come to a head, driven in large part by the stand-off between North Carolina and the federal government over the State’s recent law banning transgender individuals from using restrooms in state facilities based on their gender identity. READ MORE

Education malpractice and student litigation: Achieving early dismissal

Kim Bousquet May 10, 2016

How should an institution go about exposing educational malpractice claims? The first, and simplest, option is to move to dismiss the offending claims. Because claims involving educational malpractice can often be determined from the face of the complaint, courts will find that they are barred as a matter of law. READ MORE

Education malpractice and student litigation: How to assess claims

Kim Bousquet May 3, 2016

Claims for educational malpractice often get overlooked because they do not, on their face, clearly implicate the provision of educational services. Regardless, courts often find that claims are barred because the doctrine is broadly defined. READ MORE

Education malpractice and student litigation: New lessons learned

Kim Bousquet April 26, 2016

We begin today a three-part series exploring recent cases that have attempted to repackage education malpractice claims into various types of breach of contract or negligence actions. READ MORE

Gainful employment webinar recordings now available

Aaron Lacey April 12, 2016

If you missed a session of our “Navigating Gainful Employment” webinar series, would like to view a session a second time, or would like to share the information with other members of your team, the recordings of all five webinars are now available free and on demand. READ MORE

4 takeaways for higher ed from the Alaburda student lawsuit verdict

Kim Bousquet March 30, 2016

As increasing attention has been paid to the representations postsecondary institutions make regarding their graduates’ employment and salary prospects, federal and state laws concerning misrepresentation have been strengthened, and specific requirements relating to employment and salary disclosures have been updated and expanded. READ MORE

Drones on campus: What higher ed needs to know


Regulation of drone use is on the rise, but it is still possible for organizations to follow the registration process and successfully obtain a federal exemption to use UAS on campus for commercial purposes. READ MORE

Is your institution of higher education covered by HIPAA?

Milada Goturi Aaron Lacey February 3, 2016

As a general matter, the HIPAA Privacy Rule protects confidentiality of health information and imposes various restrictions on the use and disclosure of such information. However, the Office of Civil Rights, the governmental agency that enforces the HIPAA Privacy Rule, has clarified that the HIPAA Privacy Rule generally does not apply to institutions of higher education. READ MORE

The nuts and bolts of HEA Reauthorization

Chris Murray Aaron Lacey January 20, 2016

Though referring to the reauthorization of the HEA as a whole is useful shorthand for a reporter, from a regulatory standpoint, it is not accurate. There is not one single section reauthorizing the entire HEA, but instead scores of sections “reauthorizing” the government to spend funds on individual programs and initiatives. READ MORE

Can colleges compensate recruiters based on graduation rates?

Aaron Lacey January 12, 2016

The Court’s reasoning strongly suggests that retention-based and placement-based compensation both ought to be permissible, given that both, like completion and graduation, are reasonably divorced from the enrollment process. READ MORE

Why the GE regs apply to some programs and not others

Aaron Lacey October 19, 2015

Whether a program is covered by the gainful employment regulations turns on whether it qualifies as a Title IV eligible program by fitting into a category of “eligible program” that includes the gainful employment language. READ MORE

Caitlyn on the track: Athletics, Title IX, and the transgender community

Aaron Lacey August 19, 2015

At the heart of the Department’s position is the principle that a postsecondary institution should, in all respects, treat a transgender student or employee consistent with his or her gender identity, as articulated by the transgender individual. READ MORE

Caitlyn on campus: Title IX and the transgender community

Aaron Lacey July 31, 2015
REGucation_default blog

As is always the case when developing new policies based on emerging law and guidance (a common occurrence in contemporary higher education), questions remain regarding the practical application of such guidance, and how it should be implemented when in conflict with guidance issued by other organizations. READ MORE

Gainful employment reporting: Institutional debt and unpaid charges

Aaron Lacey July 10, 2015

The new rules require institutions to report a wide range of data to the Department for each student who was enrolled in one (or more) of the institution’s GE programs during a designated period. READ MORE

Rethinking the regulation of competency-based education

Aaron Lacey May 18, 2015
REGucation_default blog

Despite the considerable potential associated with these innovative offerings, competency-based education programs face “regulatory barriers that not only fail to encourage competency-based learning but in fact impede its progress.” READ MORE

New Department of Education guidance for Title IX coordinators deserves a look

Aaron Lacey May 6, 2015

The new guidance advises institutions on the independence of the Title IX coordinator position, the allocation of adequate resources and training to Title IX compliance staff, and the core functions of the coordinator role. READ MORE

FERPA and subpoenas for student records

Aaron Lacey March 24, 2015

Many institutions assume that if they have received a subpoena or court order, they are permitted to produce the documents in question without first obtaining authorization from the affected student (or, in the case of a minor, a parent). This assumption is not entirely correct. READ MORE

How can a university manage an all-powerful college coach?

Bob Wallace, Jr. February 24, 2015

Just look at Penn State, Rutgers, or Texas Tech. An athletic program or department that operates completely independently of outside leadership or oversight can cost the school an unbelievable amount of money, as well as reputational damage that may never be restored. READ MORE

Reporting gainful employment data to DOE: Time to get started

Aaron Lacey February 16, 2015
REGucation_default blog

The new rules, which become effective July 1, 2015, include reporting, disclosure, and certification requirements, as well as new debt-to-earnings metrics designed to assess whether a program offers a reasonable return on investment. READ MORE

New desk guide: How to project gainful employment rates

Aaron Lacey December 16, 2014

The desk guide comes on the heels of the introduction of our webinar series on gainful employment rules. READ MORE

How to project gainful employment rates – Part 5

Aaron Lacey December 9, 2014

Because this SSA data is not (and presumably will not be) made available to the public, for each GE Program, you will have to develop a proxy for the SSA earnings information. READ MORE

How to project gainful employment rates – Part 4

Aaron Lacey December 4, 2014

The final step in determining the numerator for your D/E rates is to amortize the median loan debt for each GE Program over a 10-, 15-, or 20-year repayment period. READ MORE

How to project gainful employment Rates – Part 3

Aaron Lacey December 2, 2014

The new regulations prominently feature two metrics intended to assess whether a program offers graduates a reasonable return on investment: (1) the Annual Earnings Rate, and (2) the Discretionary Income Rate. READ MORE

How to project gainful employment rates – Part 2

Aaron Lacey November 24, 2014

It’s not possible to project with absolute certainty whether a GE program will produce satisfactory rates. With a few educated assumptions, however, institutions should be able to project which programs will pass easily, which will be close, and which will likely fail. READ MORE

The President’s immigration orders: 5 measures that will impact higher ed

Kelly Simon November 24, 2014

For institutions of higher education that sponsor foreign national faculty, researchers and staff and those institutions with international student bodies, the anticipated changes could have significant impact on employees, students, and their families. READ MORE

How to project gainful employment rates - Part 1

Aaron Lacey November 19, 2014

While the GE regulatory framework includes reporting, disclosure, and certification requirements, it most prominently features two metrics, each ultimately intended to assess whether a program offers a reasonable return on investment: (1) the Annual Earnings Rate, and (2) the Discretionary Income Rate. READ MORE

The midterm elections and higher ed: What you need to know

Ken Salomon October 27, 2014

In the days leading up to a national election, it can be challenging to navigate the waves of analysis and prognostication that flow forth from inside the Beltway, even when your interests are narrowly focused on a specific issue or industry. With this in mind, we’ve pulled from the midterm morass the following key points for the higher education community. READ MORE

Critical first steps when preparing for a U.S. Department of Education program review

Aaron Lacey October 23, 2014

If the initial call with the Department goes as it should, following the call, your institution will have a good sense regarding the nature of the review, the locations included, the review period, and the dates for the onsite visit. READ MORE

The impact of new gainful employment regulations on… Harvard?

Aaron Lacey October 9, 2014

The proposed rules would expand student disclosure requirements significantly, by some measures tripling the information that must be reported to the Department for each GE program and disclosed on the school’s website, in pre-enrollment disclosures, and in related marketing materials. READ MORE

Why colleges in bankruptcy should have access to federal financial aid

Aaron Lacey October 7, 2014

Congress enacted a package of integrity provisions designed to eliminate fly-by-night institutions from the programs, lower loan default rates, and address certain other areas of abuse. READ MORE

Five steps to improve your Annual Security Report notice and distribution

Aaron Lacey September 16, 2014

We thought we would take a moment to discuss the notice and distribution requirements relating to the Annual Security Report (ASR) and Annual Fire Safety Report (AFSR), and to suggest some best practices for ensuring that these requirements are satisfied year-over-year, as efficiently as possible. READ MORE

Give extra thought to reporting ‘stalking’ on this year’s Clery Act Report

Aaron Lacey September 4, 2014

Of the three new crimes introduced by Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, stalking is unique in that it involves a pattern of conduct that occurs over a period of time and, potentially, in various locations. As a consequence, identifying, recording, and reporting incidents of stalking present particular challenges. READ MORE

Clery Act: 5 points to remember when crunching Clery statistics this year

Aaron Lacey August 25, 2014

The U.S. Department of Education has directed institutions to make a good-faith effort to gather and publish the new crime statistics in this year’s Annual Security Report, with the understanding that schools will be required to report the new statistics to the Department in 2015. With this directive in mind, we’ve set out below five important points to keep in mind when crunching the numbers this fall. READ MORE

Managing the announcement of a Department of Education Program Review

Aaron Lacey August 18, 2014
REGucation_default blog

Postsecondary institutions face very real challenges on a daily basis, and have little free time to spend contemplating hypothetical audits. Unfortunately, as a result, most administrators are ill-prepared to receive “the call” when it does occur. READ MORE

Tips for gathering Clery statistics for this year’s report

Aaron Lacey August 13, 2014
REGucation_default blog

Managing compliance with Title IX and the Jean Clery Act has been on many an administrator’s mind of late. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has through administrative action and announcement issued volumes of new guidance that to many in the regulated community appear to incorporate extensive new requirements. READ MORE

Can colleges reward students and alumni for referring new students?

Aaron Lacey August 11, 2014
REGucation_default blog

One of the more common questions we receive in our higher education practice concerns whether an institution may offer a student or alumni referral program without running afoul of federal law. Or, more specifically, whether such a program violates the incentive compensation regulations enforced by the U.S. Department of Education. READ MORE

Welcome to REGucation

Aaron Lacey August 10, 2014
REGucation_default blog

Welcome to REGucation, the higher education blog that strives, through practical advice and insight, to help the higher education community manage a fast-changing and increasingly complex regulatory environment. READ MORE