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The enrollment cliff. Sunset of pandemic subsidies and waivers. Higher operating expenses. Changes in guidance by the United States Department of Education. Claims asserted by present and former students. These and other matters have elevated risks—and potential opportunities—for educational institutions.

Loeb & Loeb’s multidisciplinary Higher Education team represents colleges, universities, workforce development organizations, certification programs and education services providers to meet day-to-day challenges and to prepare, protect and promote their visions for the future.  

Drawn from practices across the firm, our team brings a holistic view of the higher education and workforce development landscape, including regulatory and legal changes. We provide valuable insight and targeted counsel to assist our clients in the following areas:
  • The challenges that the broader higher education industry faces contribute to mergers, acquisitions, affiliations and closures/teach-outs in the higher education and workforce development sectors. Our lawyers have represented participants in more than 100 of these changes in control. As a result of this experience, we are very familiar with the corporate, tax, education regulatory, real property, employment and employee benefit and privacy aspects of these transactions as well as market norms for risk allocation in agreements for these transactions. Our lawyers understand, and have extensive experience in, navigating the U.S. Department of Education’s two-step merger process, including how this process is implemented by different accrediting bodies. We employ a project management approach to help our clients organize, communicate and efficiently complete change-in-control transactions.
  • We understand the regulation of higher education institutions and workforce development companies by the U.S. Department of Education, accrediting bodies and state education agencies. The U.S. Department of Education has recently been engaged in the process of amending regulations and revising sub-regulatory guidance to an unprecedented extent. We follow this activity closely and advise higher education institutions and other parties on the impact of these changes. Our lawyers understand how regulatory provisions impact change-in-control and other transactions, and we reflect this impact in our project management process. We understand regulators’ perspectives as a consequence of representing institutional and programmatic accrediting bodies and the prior service of our lawyers in senior governmental positions.
  • Our leading Nonprofit and Tax-exempt Organization practice provides a wide range of legal services to address tax compliance and governance needs. For higher education institutions, we serve as go-to counsel for the general counsel, the board of trustees, the CFO/treasurer, the development team and the athletic department. Our lawyers are often called upon to advise on matters involving executive compensation, major gifts, governance policies and IRS audits.

    With the former director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division and the former chief of the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau on our bench, we help our education clients navigate the full range of potential government inquiries, including IRS audits and appeals and state attorneys general investigations.
  • We understand the elements of public-private partnerships in higher education from negotiating these transactions and attending top industry conferences. In addition to our Real Estate and Land Use practices, we possess a transactional and regulatory Energy practice experienced in energy infrastructure development and transfer. Lawyers in our Technology & Sourcing practice have also represented universities and service providers in a variety of services and license arrangements, including agreements for learning management and student information systems and development and offering of new programs in online and hybrid modalities.

    We represent both universities and providers of capital in debt financing and alternative financing arrangements for a variety of special projects, including public-private partnerships. Our team combines debt financing capabilities in both real estate and non-real estate scenarios with deep education regulatory experience.
  • Our lawyers advise higher education institutions on the impact of privacy laws on their operations, including marketing, entering into service agreements and other relationships with third parties, and change-in-control transactions. As part of our comprehensive Privacy, Security & Data Innovations practice, we have experience advising on Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and other privacy laws relevant to the connection of education information. Our lawyers also help higher education institutions build out privacy programs and provide breach counsel in the event of a security incident.
  • Loeb’s nationally recognized estate planning, nonprofit and tax lawyers advise colleges and universities on all aspects of their charitable and planned giving initiatives, including regulatory and governance issues, as well as the unique tax considerations impacting nonprofit educational institutions. We also work with donors making gifts of money, art and other assets to academic institutions to realize their philanthropic goals.
  • Our real estate practitioners have decades of experience helping educational institutions develop, build and maintain their facilities. We guide colleges and universities in conceiving and implementing master plans, securing land use entitlements and environmental permitting, managing and executing strategic land use projects, negotiating with state and local agencies and community groups, and handling related litigation. We also counsel on environmental law issues that often arise in development projects.
  • Intellectual property (IP) is a critical asset to today’s colleges and universities. Our IP lawyers work with higher education clients to define, protect, promote, and monetize their research and innovations through strategic patent prosecution and counseling, and enforcement of patents, trademarks and copyrights. We guide clients in structuring, preparing and negotiating agreements for a variety of intellectual property and technology-centered agreements, including licensing, technology transfer, complex partnering, strategic alliance and joint development transactions.
  • Our lawyers have extensive experience advising on name, image and likeness (NIL) matters. Our lawyers have structured and counseled a number of NIL collectives, and we frequently advise on the federal tax law and state charitable regulatory framework for nonprofit charitable NIL collective platforms.
  • Loeb & Loeb advises on all sides of negotiations regarding executive compensation and employee benefits. We have extensive experience representing college and university trustees (collectively and individually) as well as presidents and provosts in employment- and compensation-related matters, including benchmarking compensation required to be undertaken by exempt organizations. We also help in-house general counsel, financial officers, HR directors and board compensation committees in designing and documenting employment agreements, incentive and performance plans, health care plans, and retirement and deferred compensation plans, as well as executive life, disability and long-term care insurance coverage, and other fringe benefits.