Colleges, Higher Education Service Organizations, Online Program Managers, and Financial Institutions
We find solutions for institutions of higher education and other schools, higher education service organizations, online program managers, and financial institutions with regulatory compliance, investigations, litigation, government relations, and corporate transactions. We also represent students, professors, and administrators with Title IX and other student and faculty disciplinary matters.
Please contact Vogel Law Firm to ensure that your organization is in full compliance with applicable statutes, regulations, and administrative guidance.
We advise institutions of higher education in connection with applications for institutional and programmatic accreditation, maintaining accreditation, and responding to inquiries from accreditors.
Clery Act and Campus Safety
We advise institutions of higher education in connection with required recordkeeping, disclosures, and reporting to the U.S. Department of Education, as well as with responding to inquiries from students and third parties.
We advise institutions of higher education and other schools, higher education service organizations, and online program managers in connection with the myriad of issues that arise with online learning, including regulatory compliance, contracts, and student financing.
Due Process and Procedural Protections
We review codes of conduct, catalogs, and student handbooks to ensure that students are provided sufficient Due Process rights, as required by the U.S. Constitution for public institutions, and sufficient procedural fairness, as courts have stated is required for private institutions.
FERPA and Student Privacy
We advise institutions of higher education in connection with privacy law compliance and responding to inquiries from students and third parties.
We advise institutions of higher education and other schools, higher education service organizations, online program managers, and financial institutions on Title IV, HEA compliance, as well as federal and state law compliance with requirements that govern private lending. We also represent clients in connection with program reviews, government investigations, and litigation.
We counsel institutions of higher education and other schools, higher education service organizations, online program managers, and financial institutions in connection with legislative developments occurring in the Congress, as well as regulatory and sub-regulatory action occurring at the U.S. Department of Education and throughout the Executive Branch. We have provided summaries of pending and recently enacted legislation and regulations, drafted and submitted to the Education Department public comments in response to notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRMs), and provided strategic advice concerning governmental personnel and policy matters.
Income Share Agreements
Income share agreements (ISAs) are alternatives to student loans. Rather than borrow funds for college, a student enters into a contract with the school or with a third party to obtain the funds to attend college in return for a legally-binding promise to pay a fixed percentage of the student’s post-graduation income for a fixed number of years. ISAs include a minimum income threshold, under which the student would not have to make any payments, and ISAs include a payment cap, over which the student would not be obligated to make any further payments.
We assist institutions of higher education and other schools, higher education service organizations, online program managers, and financial institutions in connection with ISAs by providing strategic advice on the financing or servicing of ISAs, by ensuring the ISA contract is legally compliant, by negotiating a satisfactory servicing agreement with the institution or ISA servicer, and by performing other tasks to ensure the success of the ISA initiative.
Federal regulations contain many requirements in connection with an institution’s marketing of its programs. Acts of misrepresentation could result in liability for the institution, including as a basis for a borrower’s defense to repayment of the borrower’s student loans. We provide strategic advice to institutions on marketing and review proposed marketing strategies and copy for legal compliance.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Institutions are merging and are being acquired by other institutions and private equity firms. During the course of these corporate transactions, including during the due diligence phase, the participating entities require legal opinions and legal review of compliance with Title IV, HEA and other federal and state legal requirements. We represent institutions of higher education and other schools, higher education service organizations, online program managers, and financial institutions in corporate transactions to facilitate mergers, acquisitions, and other corporate transactions.
Title IX and Other Civil Rights Laws
The Title IX landscape has changed. Institutions of higher education are required to respond to complaints of sexual assault and harassment, to investigate such complaints, and to hold hearings in ways that provide more rights to the accused while still respecting the alleged victim. Institutions need to ensure that their Title IX policies and procedures are legally compliant and that they are prepared to conduct hearings at which the accused may have the assistance of legal counsel. Additionally, institutions should ensure that school-wide policies concerning everything from admissions to academic affairs are compliant with federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex; race, color, and national origin (including the federal government’s interpretation embodied within the executive order combating anti-Semitism), age, and disability.
Student and Faculty Representation
Colleges and universities govern their student populations with student codes of conduct that prohibit certain behavior and ensure academic integrity. A violation of the code of conduct could result in suspension or expulsion from the school, and even a criminal prosecution. Every school has a different disciplinary process with different procedural rules that may require a written response to the allegations, a hearing, and an opportunity to appeal a final determination. Students require legal representation to ensure that the university is following its procedures and providing the student with due process, where applicable, as well as to advocate for the student during all phases of the disciplinary process.
Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism
Alcohol and Drug Possession, Use, and Distribution
Some of the most serious charges brought by universities involve alcohol and drug possession, use, and distribution. We successfully represented a student accused by a large public university of violating an alcohol and drug policy. All charges were dismissed and a prior conviction was expunged from the student’s record.
Income Share Agreements
Personnel Actions Against Faculty
Faculty members have rights to continued employment and retirement benefits. We represent faculty members in various university matters, including proceedings related to determinations on tenure, faculty conduct, free speech, and eligibility for retirement benefits
Title IX Sexual Assault and Harassment
Under Title IX, universities are required to respond aggressively to reports of sex discrimination, particularly alleged sexual assault and harassment. Accused students have rights and need to conduct an independent investigation to prepare witness testimony and the introduction of evidence that may include digital media, such as email, text messages, and social media posts. We have successfully represented students accused of sexual assault and harassment, including a male student who was falsely accused by an elite, private university of committing assault against a female. When the university attempted to trample over our client’s right to a fair disciplinary process, we stood up to the school and the school backed down.
Stalking and Cyber Stalking
With the increasing cost of higher education, more students are looking for ways to keep costs low. By transferring credits from colleges that the student previously attended, a student can earn a degree or other credential quickly and save money in the process. We have assisted students in getting credits earned at prior colleges accepted for credit at the student’s current college.