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Simplify higher education risk and compliance management

Protect sensitive student and faculty data, empower your institution and fulfill your duty of care. Confidently navigate higher education risk and compliance with NAVEX One.

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Regulatory adherence

Navigate complex compliance requirements across academics, finances, healthcare, human resources and athletics

Compliance best practices

Create and distribute policies, intake and manage incidents, and collect conflict of interest disclosures with ease

Proactive risk management

Build a resilient, adaptive compliance program with controls to ensure you manage your risk and break down silos

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Understanding the complexities of risk and compliance in higher education

Higher education institutions have a unique responsibility to protect their students, faculty and the community at large, with compliance woven into every aspect of campus life. Let’s unpack the key challenges: 

  • Navigating a complex web of regulations – Ever-changing federal, state and international rules make it tough to know if you’re fully in compliance 
  • Protecting sensitive information – One data breach can ruin the trust your students and faculty have in your institution 
  • Fostering a culture of inclusion – Building a campus where everyone feels safe and respected is a cornerstone of your responsibilities 
  • Ensuring conflict of interest management –  Unmanaged COIs can lead to legal and financial risks for institutions, especially those receiving federal grants/contracts, such as lawsuits, fines or loss of funding 
  • Maintaining audit integrity – Mishandling grants or incident reports can lead to hefty fines and even loss of funding 
  • Mitigating operational risks – From campus safety to emergency preparedness, protecting your students and staff takes constant vigilance 
  • Potentially losing accreditation – Compliance missteps could mean federal funding loss, damaged reputation, which can cripple student financial aid options or even shutter entire institutions
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A closer look at the numbers in higher ed compliance

Streamline operations, protect your reputation and foster student success. Here’s a snapshot of the impact of compliance in higher ed:

  • What is compliance in education?

    This means following the laws and regulations that apply to schools, colleges and universities. It includes protecting student data, ensuring accessibility and preventing discrimination.

  • Why is compliance important in higher education?

    Non-compliance can lead to fines, loss of funding, damage to your reputation and even lawsuits. It can also lead to or cause operational disruption, data loss or personal data breaches that might have severe consequences on the performance and safety of students in your care.

  • What is university compliance?

    It’s the process of ensuring a university follows all relevant rules and regulations. This includes federal, state and relevant international laws.

  • Who regulates higher education in the US?

    Regulating higher education is complex and involves multiple agencies in the U.S.: 

    • United States Department of Education (USDE): The federal agency that sets policies for student aid, data privacy (FERPA) and civil rights. It also recognizes accrediting bodies to ensure they meet federal quality standards. 
    • Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA): A non-governmental organization that evaluates and recognizes accrediting bodies of higher ed institutions. U.S.-based higher education institutions operate with a high degree of autonomy and accreditation is a voluntary process – however, being accredited plays a crucial role in ensuring quality standardization, allowing eligible students attending accredited schools to access federal aid when the accreditor is recognized by the USDE. 
    • State-level agencies: Each state has agencies that oversee licensing, approve programs and protect consumers within their borders.
  • Who regulates higher education in the EU?

    The European Union sets directives that impact all EU member states and the European Economic Area (EEA), most notably the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has significant implications for how universities collect and handle personal data.  

    The Council of Europe, a pan-European organization, also plays a key role in promoting shared values and educational standards across the EU. Key initiatives include: 

  • What are the five key areas of compliance?

    While frameworks vary, key areas typically include: 

    1. Data privacy: Protecting student, staff and research data according to laws like FISMA and FERPA (U.S.) and GDPR (EU). 
    2. Financial integrity: Responsible management of grants, student aid and budgets, including compliance with funding regulations. 
    3. Accessibility: Ensuring equal access for students with disabilities under laws like the ADA (U.S.). 
    4. Anti-discrimination: Preventing discrimination based on protected characteristics (race, gender, etc.) and upholding Title IX (U.S.). 
    5. Operational safety: Addressing health and safety risks, emergency preparedness and safeguarding the campus community.
  • What is risk management in universities?

    This is the process of identifying, assessing and addressing potential risks to your institution and higher ed compliance. This includes everything from cybersecurity threats to campus safety issues, as well as understanding which of these risks are the most likely and the most dangerous.

  • Why is risk management important in higher education?

    Proactive risk management helps protect students, staff, and the reputation of your institution. It can also prevent costly disruptions and legal liabilities – which all take your budget and resources away from providing a safe, supportive and effective education to your students!

  • What is ERM in higher education?

    ERM stands for Enterprise Risk Management. It’s a comprehensive approach to managing risks across the entire institution, from financial to operational to strategic. ERM helps identify how different risks are interconnected and how they might affect your ability to achieve your goals as an institution.

  • What is the difference between risk management and ERM?

    Risk management focuses on specific risks, while ERM takes a broader view of how different risks interact and impact the institution’s overall goals to quantify and make decisions on what activities they commit to or avoid. ERM also aims to create a risk-aware culture as part of a larger framework, integrating risk considerations into strategic decision-making.

Proactively protect your institution's future with higher ed compliance software

Protect your reputation and simplify higher education compliance with NAVEX One. Your institution is the result of tireless work – let’s safeguard it together.