USCIS Makes Optional Practical Training Completion Easier for F-1 Students as Agency Faces Delays

Given substantial delays in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s (USCIS) issuance of receipt notices and adjudication of I-765 applications for employment authorization by F-1 students seeking optional practical training (OPT), USCIS is making it easier for students to complete their 12-month OPT within the requisite 14 months.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm’s website.

Have COVID’s Pricing and Learning Disruptions Opened a Pandora’s Box?

A common question for colleges today is whether to reduce tuition prices if they cannot provide on-campus classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The short answer, both legally and morally, is that colleges should not charge students for services they cannot or do not deliver.

The ultimate answer is more complex and requires a disaggregating analysis of the services that that were included in the price of tuition, including a review of the value associated with in-person interactions.

To read the full text of this article by Duane Morris partner Tony Guida, please visit the University Business website.

2020 ASU GSV Summit Session Replays Available

Duane Morris was a sponsor of the 2020 ASU GSV summit. Several of our attorneys presented at this year’s virtual conference. Below are replays from select sessions.

Ed Tech Policy Session | September 29, 2020

Consumers of education services – students of all ages and the entities that serve them – are hungry for dramatic changes in the education landscape that will deliver increased access, equity, affordability, quality and workforce relevance. Ed Tech has begun to deliver on those needs in extraordinary ways, and the potential is untapped. However, innovation in the market has outpaced how existing regulations and policy govern education as a service. This session will: (1) review friction points our lawyers have observed between Ed Tech models and the current state, federal and accreditor regulatory regimes that apply to educational businesses and educational institutions (and how to spot, anticipate and plan for them), (2) report on recent changes in federal law and policy to promote and foster innovation (including the U.S. Department of Education’s new Distance Education and Innovation Final Rule and increased accreditor flexibilities) and (3) discuss threats and opportunities that may arise from the next Congress and Administration, and how Ed Tech stakeholders can help shape education policy.

Speakers

  • Katherine Brodie, Partner, Duane Morris LLP
  • Kristina Gill, Special Counsel, Duane Morris LLP
  • Nicholas Kent, Senior Education Policy Advisor, Duane Morris LLP

Schools Not Tools | September 30, 2020

EdTech providers increasingly are crossing over from a supporting role to education delivery. Join us to talk about what the regulatory and legal ramifications are to being a school.

Moderator: Tony Guida, Partner, Duane Morris LLP
Speaker: Michelle Donovan, Partner, Duane Morris LLP

Privacy, Data Protection and Intellectual Property Considerations for EdTech Startups | October 8, 2020

This interactive session will cover some of the common legal issues that emerging EdTech companies grapple with in the areas of IP ownership, privacy, and data protection.

Speaker: Michelle Donovan, Partner, Duane Morris LLP

 

COVID-19 Can Change Everything—If We Let It

According to Dave Clayton, senior vice president of consumer insights at Strada Education Network, hybrid education “was a consistently popular option” throughout a recent survey taken by his organization. It beat out both online and in-person when it came to which option Americans were likely to recommend, as well as which option offered the best preparation for joining the workforce.

Will this change higher education? Of course it will. The market to find students gets more competitive for colleges every year. That trend is predicted to continue long into the future. If today’s junior high schoolers already know that they want “both,” this shift in consumer demand won’t go unnoticed. If college leadership wants the freshman class of 2026 to enroll in their institution, they would be foolish not to adapt.

To read the full text of this article by Duane Morris partner Edward M. Cramp, please visit the University Business website.

Active Ransomware Campaign Targeting Education Institutions

By Michelle Hon Donovan

The Department of Education issued a security alert stating that multiple schools have reported that they have suffered ransomware attacks. Ransomware is a type of malware that uses encryption to block access to a computer system unless a ransom is paid. Ransomware is commonly embedded in email attachments that infect a computer when opened. However, the Department of Education states that phishing attacks have been the primary method used in these reported cases, where the attackers used phishing schemes to gain access to account credentials and then used those credentials to install the ransomware.

The Department of Education recommends that schools implement the following cybersecurity practices to protect against such attacks:

  • Establish a data backup process, ensure the backups are available and accessible, and store the backups offline
  • Implement multi-factor authentication to mitigate account compromises
  • Regularly patch hardware and software
  • Continuously monitor institutional network to detect unauthorized access and malware
  • Create and update your Incident Response Plan
  • Ensure training resources emphasize phishing, as it is frequently the compromising entry point for cyber attacks

The Department also reminds schools that ransomware attacks should be reported immediately to the FSA security team.

Colleges Fear COVID-19 Spread, Class Actions Over Tuition When Welcoming Back Students

Colleges and universities across the country are beginning to figure out what the fall semester for students will look like. In-house counsel at the schools that have chosen to bring students back to campus full-time need to worry about furthering the spread of the new coronavirus and class action litigation over refunds for tuition, housing and service fees.

It is too early to tell how courts will rule on these kinds of lawsuits, Ed Cramp, a partner at Duane Morris in San Diego said. From his perspective, how education is delivered to a student is not something guaranteed by the university. However, the suits asking for a refund of fees for services not used could be problematic.

“The issue for the institutions is that many of them just don’t have the money. It is not a matter of, ‘Let me just write you a check,’” Cramp said.

To read the full text of this article in Corporate Counsel magazine quoting Duane Morris partner Ed Cramp, please visit law.com (subscription required).

Education Institutions Prepare for Department’s Final Rule on State Authorizations, Consumer Disclosures

On November 1, 2019, the U.S. Department of Education published a final rule regarding state authorization. The new rule is effective July 1, 2020. This Alert highlights required changes for state authorization and consumer disclosures, some of which apply to institutions offering on-ground programs.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Department of Education Publishes Title IX Final Rule

On May 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education issued its final rule on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 regulations. These are the first comprehensive regulations issued under Title IX since 1975. The final rule, which applies to school districts, colleges and universities, including all institutions of higher education receiving Title IV funding, contains a number of significant changes, such as: a definition for sexual harassment, publication of Title IX materials, triggers for an institution’s legal obligation to respond and investigate, and a requirement that institutions conduct courtroomlike hearings.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.