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Making Clery Act notifications during COVID-19

Katie Wendel Aaron Lacey May 11, 2020
Archway on college campus with bikes

As postsecondary counsel and administrators continue to manage the many changes brought on by COVID-19, they also continue to work through a wide range of compliance issues. In this post, we include a brief note regarding compliance with notification requirements under the Clery Act, a consumer protection law that, among other things, requires postsecondary institutions to disclose information about crime and emergencies occurring on or near campus. READ MORE

Colleges should prepare: ED loan discharge letters on the way

Aaron Lacey December 2, 2019

The U.S. Department of Education released two significant announcements before the holiday. The first of the two electronic announcements is titled “Implementation of School Notice Requirements Under the 2016 Borrower Defense Regulations.” The second is titled “Liabilities Associated with Closed School Discharges.” READ MORE

Making sense of ED’s State Authorization Rule

Aaron Lacey Katie Wendel August 6, 2019

Though simple in concept, crafting the “State Authorization Rule” has proven complex and controversial, as evidenced by a series of rulemakings, multiple lawsuits, and abundant, public criticism. The most recent interpretation of the rule has threatened to render online students in California ineligible for federal financial aid. READ MORE

Colleges and universities must now report all litigation to the U.S. Department of Education

Aaron Lacey May 7, 2019

Many institutions may not fully appreciate that the deadline for one of the most onerous reporting requirements under the 2016 Borrower Defense Rule is nearly upon us. By May 15, 2019, all institutions of higher education must report all of their litigation to the Department of Education. READ MORE

2016 Borrower Defense Rule now in effect: Free webinars and quick thoughts

Aaron Lacey October 17, 2018
U.S. capitol dome

As the Department of Education’s Borrower Defense Rule takes effect this week, it may be tempting for those in higher education to react quickly and aggressively. We suggest you be aware, be watchful, and be patient. Here are a few quick thoughts and a link to our four previous webinars on the 2016 Rule. READ MORE

Getting ready for ED’s new state authorization rule


The U.S. Department of Education’s new “state authorization” rule is set to become effective this coming July 1, 2018. Though there is still some possibility that the current administration will act to delay the rule, for now, institutions of higher education must prepare to comply. READ MORE

Gainful employment: Alternate earnings appeals due February 1

Aaron Lacey Katie Wendel January 22, 2018

Higher education institutions that dispute their debt-to-earnings rates as calculated by the U.S. Department of Education must submit any alternate earnings appeals no later than Thursday, February 1, 2018. READ MORE

Clarifying the status of Gainful Employment and Borrower Defense to Repayment

Aaron Lacey June 20, 2017

Last Friday, the Department of Education published two separate notices in the Federal Register impacting two significant and controversial rules: Gainful Employment and Borrower Defense to Repayment. Here we provide some clarifying information on these announcements in a Q&A format. READ MORE

Recordings now available for final Borrower Defense Rule webinars

Aaron Lacey January 6, 2017
illustration of person in front of a maze

For anyone who missed our exclusive series of webinars on the final Borrower Defense Rule, or wanted to share them with their colleagues, the recordings and PowerPoint slides are now all available (at no cost). READ MORE

Thompson Coburn hosts webinar series on Department of Education’s final Borrower Defense Rule

Aaron Lacey November 22, 2016
illustration of person in front of a maze

To help institutions understand the final borrower defense rule and its implications, Thompson Coburn’s Higher Education Team is offering a series of four in-depth, 90-minute webinars, each focused on a different aspect of the regulatory package. READ MORE

Make college great again: Higher education in the Trump era

White House

Candidate Trump had little to say on higher education policy during the primary and general elections. What should the nation’s institutions of higher education — and the students they serve — expect during the Trump presidency? READ MORE

Title IX and due process: ED tells Wesley that accused student not treated fairly

Aaron Lacey November 2, 2016
REGucation_default blog

In a rare move, the Department of Education announced on October 12, 2016, its determination that Wesley College in Delaware had violated Title IX by failing to provide appropriate procedural protections to a student accused of sexual misconduct. READ MORE

ED’s new rules for teacher preparation programs

Aaron Lacey October 28, 2016
children in classroom

On October 12, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education issued its long-awaited final rule regarding teacher preparation programs. After nearly five years and a fair amount of compromise, the final regulation has garnered some praise, but leaves many dissatisfied. 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

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

New webinar series: Unraveling the proposed Borrower Defense Rule

Aaron Lacey Jeff Fink 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

A look at the legal issues in the transgender bathrooms debate

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

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

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

Gainful employment webinar recordings now available


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

Why the GE regs apply to some programs and not others


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 campus: Title IX and the transgender community

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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