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Category Archives: Higher Education

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Regional Accreditor Poised to Ban Incentive Compensation to Recruiters of International Students

Posted in Higher Education
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has proposed the adoption of a policy that would prohibit Middle States-accredited colleges and universities from providing “incentive payment” (e.g., tuition sharing or per capita payments) to recruiters “based on [their] success in securing student enrollment….” If approved, the policy would apply to the recruitment of prospective students… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Remands Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., Will Not Hear Transgender Student’s Case

Posted in Higher Education, Transgender
The Supreme Court will not review the Fourth Circuit’s decision in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. despite agreeing in October 2016 to do so. The Fourth Circuit’s decision in favor of G.G., a transgender Virginia high school student, had been stayed by the Supreme Court while it considered whether to grant the School Board’s… Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Education Rescind Obama Era Guidance on Transgender Students

Posted in Higher Education
On February 22, 2017, in its first “Dear Colleague Letter,” the Trump Administration withdrew existing U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Education guidance that interpreted Title IX’s protections against sex discrimination to encompass discrimination based on gender identity and transgender status. In this joint Dear Colleague Letter (“February 22 DCL”), the Departments point to… Continue Reading

New York Institutions: Exemption from Cybersecurity Regulations Sought by Bond Granted in Final Regulations Issued by Department of Financial Services

Posted in Cybersecurity, Higher Education
Last month, Bond, Schoeneck & King  sought  an exemption from cybersecurity regulations proposed by the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) for colleges, universities and other charitable organizations that would have been covered under the regulations solely because they operate charitable gift annuity programs.  Joined by the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, Bond submitted a… Continue Reading

9th Circuit Court of Appeals Refuses to Reinstate Trump’s Travel Ban

Posted in 9th Circuit, Higher Education, Travel Ban
After hearing oral arguments earlier this week from attorneys representing the White House and the states of Washington and Minnesota, last night, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit unanimously upheld the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington’s February 3, 2017 issuance of a temporary restraining order prohibiting the federal government… Continue Reading

UPDATE ON EXECUTIVE ORDER 13769: “PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES”

Posted in Higher Education, Immigration
We previously reported that on January 27, 2017, the Trump administration issued Executive Order 13769 entitled, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”. EO 13769 suspends: the entire US refugee admission system for 120 days; the Syrian refugee program indefinitely; and the entry of immigrants and non-immigrants from seven designated countries… Continue Reading

What President Trump’s Travel Ban Means for Colleges and Universities

Posted in Higher Education, Immigration
On January 27, 2017 President Trump signed an Executive Order (“EO”) titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”.  Given the diverse composition of colleges and universities, which includes faculty, staff and students, this EO significantly impacts the higher education community.  Specifically, the EO suspends the entire US refugee admission system… Continue Reading

A New Year, A New Form I-9

Posted in Higher Education, Immigration
On November 14, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) released a new Form I-9 (Rev. 11/14/2016 N) to replace the prior form which expired on March 31, 2016.  Beginning January 22, 2017, colleges and universities must use this updated form for the initial employment verification of all new hires (including student employees)… Continue Reading

New York Institutions: Department of Financial Services Cybersecurity Regulations Likely to Impose Significant Obligations on Many Colleges and Universities

Posted in Cybersecurity, Higher Education
Following a public comment period, the New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) has published a modified version of new regulations, previously issued on September 13, 2016, aimed at creating higher cybersecurity standards within the banking, insurance and financial services industries.  The regulations go into effect on March 1, 2017 with phased implementation thereafter,… Continue Reading

New York Institutions: New Amendments to the Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013 Signed into Law by Governor Cuomo

Posted in Higher Education
On November 28, 2016, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation enacting another round of amendments to the Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013.  The amendments should ease compliance with the NPRA’s related party transaction rules by incorporating express exceptions, allowing for committee approval, authorizing ratification of past transactions, and narrowing the universe of persons… Continue Reading

U.S. District Court in Texas Issues Nationwide Injunction Preventing New Overtime Rule From Taking Effect

Posted in Higher Education, Labor
Yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a nationwide injunction preventing the U.S. Department of Labor from implementing its regulations revising the white collar exemptions.  Therefore, the increase in the minimum salary level to $913.00 per week that was expected to go into effect on December 1 will not occur… Continue Reading

Recent IRS Audit is a Reminder to Check Whether Your Employment Agreements and Appointment Letters Comply With the Applicable Tax and Benefit Requirements

Posted in Higher Education
The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) recently notified a major university that it is being audited, and as part of that audit requested copies of the employment agreements of the president of the university, the provost of the university, and the head coaches of the University’s football team, men’s basketball team, and women’s basketball team. This… Continue Reading

Department of Education Issues Guidance on Campus Policing

Posted in Campus Safety, Higher Education
Citing the ongoing nationwide dialogue on law enforcement-community relations, racial justice and officer and public safety, on September 8 the U.S. Department of Education (in coordination with the Justice Department) released a Dear Colleague  Letter providing guidance to colleges and universities with respect to its expectations for campus policing.   In the main, the guidance encourages… Continue Reading

IRS Issues New Management Agreement Safe Harbor Provisions, Providing Enhanced Flexibility for College and University Food Service, Facilities Management and Similar Relationships

Posted in Higher Education
New management agreement guidelines were issued by the IRS today in a new Revenue Procedure (Rev. Proc.) 2016-44.  Rev_Proc_2016-44 provides revised safe harbors under which a private management contract does not result in impermissible private business use of projects financed with tax-exempt bonds.  The former limits on fixed and variable compensation in management contracts involving tax-exempt… Continue Reading

Universities Are Targets of Lawsuits over Retirement Plan Fees

Posted in Employment, ERISA, Higher Education
Three lawsuits filed in early August suggest that plaintiffs’ law firms, representing employees of colleges and universities, are looking at higher education retirement plans as potential targets for lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages. The New York Times reported[1] that class action lawsuits were commenced on August 9, 2016 against three prominent universities –… Continue Reading

Recent U.S. Department of Education Dear Colleague Letter Raises the Bar on Standards for Protecting Federal Financial Aid Data

Posted in Higher Education, Title IV
On July 1, 2016 the U.S. Department of Education issued a follow-up Dear Colleague Letter to the Dear Colleague Letter of July 29, 2015. This most recent letter reminds institutions of their legal obligation to protect student data under Title IV and sets forth the new standards and methods the DOE will use when evaluating… Continue Reading

Updated Clery Act Handbook Released

Posted in Clery Act, Higher Education
The Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting (the “Handbook”), which provides important guidance for institutions as it relates to their compliance with the Clery Act’s safety and security requirements, was recently revised and a new version (the 2016 Edition) released by the United States Department of Education. This valuable resource had not been updated… Continue Reading

New York Institutions: NYSED Activates Electronic Submission System for Article 129-A and 129-B Compliance

Posted in Higher Education
The New York State Education Department has activated its electronic submission system for institutions to file certificates of compliance with Education Law Articles 129-A and 129-B, as well as the copies of rules and policies required to be filed this year pursuant to Article 129-B.  A link to the portal, as well as instructions for… Continue Reading

The Second Coming of Fisher: UT Austin’s Race-Conscious Admissions Policy Upheld by SCOTUS

Posted in Admissions, Higher Education
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the University of Texas at Austin’s use of race in its admissions policies and procedures by rendering a decision in the second case brought by Abigail Fisher, a white woman who was rejected for admission to UT Austin over eight years ago. In June 2013, the Supreme Court remanded… Continue Reading

New York Institutions: NYSED Posts Update on Status of Article 129-A and Article 129-B Filing System

Posted in Higher Education
In a new update posted to its website, the New York State Education Department has indicated that it is continuing work on its electronic system for the submission and recording of this year’s required certificates of compliance under Education Law Articles 129-A and 129-B, and the copies of written rules and polices required to be… Continue Reading

Highlights of New York State Guidance on N.Y. Education Law Article 129-B

Posted in Higher Education, Title IX
On June 2, 2016, the New York State Education Department and the New York State Office of Campus Safety published a 52-page joint guidance document (“Guidance”) on New York Education Law Article 129-B (“the Law”), also often referred to as “Enough is Enough.” The Guidance is helpful in that it clarifies previously opaque points in… Continue Reading

New York State Education Department Publishes Interpretative Guidance on “Enough is Enough” Legislation

Posted in Higher Education
On June 2, 2016, the New York State Education Department published joint guidance from the Department and the New York State Office of Campus Safety that is intended to assist colleges and universities in complying with Education Law Article 129-B (the “Enough is Enough” sexual misconduct legislation). The guidance contains numerous interpretations of specific statutory… Continue Reading

Office of Civil Rights Releases “Dear Colleague” Letter on Transgender Students

Posted in Higher Education
On May 13, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) addressing a school’s Title IX obligations regarding transgender students, and explaining how the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will evaluate a school’s compliance with those obligations.  This DCL… Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Decides Case on Transgender Students’ Rights

Posted in Higher Education, Student Affairs, Title IX
On April 19, 2016, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision addressing transgender and gender nonconforming students. In G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board the Fourth Court was presented with the question of whether Title IX requires that schools allow transgender students to have access to restrooms consistent with their gender identities. The… Continue Reading