Vanderbilt University Law School,
J.D. and Certificate in Law and Business, 2002
District of Columbia
Virginia USDC, Eastern District
National Association of College and University Attorneys
American Bar Association
Thompson Coburn LLP
Vatterott Educational Centers, Inc.
Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Strategic Development, 2010-2014
Dow Lohnes PLLC (now Cooley LLP)
Attorney, Postsecondary Education Practice Group, 2002-2010
The Chair of Thompson Coburn's Higher Education Practice, Aaron assists institutions to navigate a wide range of complex legal and regulatory matters.
Aaron has substantive experience in federal, state, and accrediting agency laws and standards that govern postsecondary institutions, and regularly advises on issues involving students, faculty and staff, facilities, academics, governance, and operations. He also leads the Firm's extremely active higher education transactional practice. He and his colleagues have experience negotiating, documenting, and implementing merger, asset acquisition, stock acquisition, joint venture, and religious sponsorship and affiliation transactions for both nonprofit and proprietary higher education clients. In recent years, the practice has managed numerous non-traditional arrangements, as well, including for-profit to non-profit conversions and the acquisition of distressed institutions.
Aaron and his colleagues are valued for their deep understanding of the postsecondary regulatory framework, including requirements relating to the federal financial aid programs, incentive compensation, distance education, the Clery Act, FERPA, and Title IX, among others. In October 2017, Aaron was selected by the U.S. Department of Education to serve as one of 17 negotiators charged with overhauling the Department's complex and controversial "borrower defense" rule. The Department appointed him to negotiate on behalf of general counsels, attorneys, and compliance officers at postsecondary institutions nationwide.
Aaron routinely represents institutions in administrative proceedings before state licensing entities, accrediting agencies, and the U.S. Department of Education, including matters arising from audits, program reviews, and investigations of the Office of Inspector General. He assists with the management of regulatory and government agency relationships, policy creation and implementation, strategic planning, and compliance systems design. In support of institutional initiatives, Aaron drafts and negotiates a wide variety of agreements, including domestic and international articulation, consortium, licensing, marketing, and bundled service provider (OPM) contracts.
The host of the Firm's popular Higher Education Webinar Series, and editorial director of REGucation, the Firm's higher education law and policy blog, Aaron is a frequent writer and speaker on topics relating to higher education policy and regulation. He is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and of the American Bar Association.
"The Latest in Federal Policy," University Professional & Continuing Education Association – Annual Conference March 2018
"Managing ADA Accommodations in the Clinical Setting," National Conference on Allied Health Education March 2018
"An Update on the Rewrite of the Federal ‘Borrower Defense’ Rule," National Association of State Administrators and Supervisors of Private Schools – Webinar March 2018
"Consumer Information Boot Camp and What’s Next for USED’s Borrower Defense Rule," Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Personnel - Annual Conference November 2017
"How to Project Gainful Employment Rates,"
Thompson Coburn Desk Guide, March 2016
Co-Author, "The Nuts and Bolts of Reauthorization,"
Career Education Review, October 2015
Co-Author, "Rethinking the Regulatory Environment of Competency-Based Education,"
American Enterprise Institute's Center on Higher Education Reform, May 2015
Presenter, “The State of Gainful Employment: Current and Future Challenges for Schools”;
National Association of State Administrators and Supervisors of Private Schools – Annual Conference, April 2017
Panelist, “Regulatory and Compliance Aspects of International Online and Continuing Education”;
University Professional & Continuing Education Association, February 2017
Co-Presenter, “FSA: The New Audit Guide”;
New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association, January 2017
Presenter, “Hot Topics in Higher Education”;
Louisiana Association of Private Colleges and Schools Executive Management Meeting, January 2017
Presenter, “USED Program Review Preparation and Unwrapping the Borrower Defense Rule”;
Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Personnel - Annual Conference, December 2016
Presenter, “The Borrower Defense Final Rules”;
New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association – 48th Annual Conference, November 2016
Presenter, “Gainful Employment: Preparing for the Next Six Months”;
Kansas Board of Regents – Annual State Meeting, October 2016
Presenter, “Structuring International Recruiting and Marketing Arrangements and Gainful Employment: Effectively Challenging Debt-to-Earnings Rates”;
Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities - Annual Conference, June 2016
Co-Presenter, “Federal Perspectives in Higher Education”;
United States Distance Learning Association National Conference, May 2016
Presenter, "ADA Title III Fundamentals";
Commercial Vehicle Trade Association - Fall Conference, October 2015
Panelist, "The Promise (and Perils) of Competency-Based Education";
Roundtable Webinar Series Presented by University Professional & Continuing Education Association and Penn State University, September 2015
Presenter, "Paper Nirvana: Crafting Enrollment Documentation that's Great for Students and Schools Alike";
Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities - Webinar, August 2015
Co-Presenter, "Competency-Based Education: The Path to Program Approval";
Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities - Annual Conference, June 2015
Presenter, "Managing Crime, Security, and Allegations of Sexual Misconduct on the Christian Campus";
Council for Christian Colleges and Universities - 39th Annual President's Conference, January 2015
Co-Presenter, "Rightsizing the Right Way Restructuring and Realignment in Higher Education";
Webinar, September 2014
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