Colleges and universities face the daunting task of keeping pace with an ever-evolving landscape of regulation. Institutions need to ensure they are complying with the law, avoiding government intervention and fines, protecting their federal funding, and preserving their reputations.

A university that is compliant is also better able to serve its community.

To protect your institution and enhance its ability to fulfill its educational mission, consider adding these seven features to your compliance program.

  • CENTRALIZE YOUR COMPLIANCE FUNCTION.

End the era of subject-matter fiefdoms. Channel all activity through a central compliance office or contact, with clear reporting lines to the board and president.

  • LOOK TO THE FEDERAL SENTENCING GUIDELINES.

Structure your university-wide compliance plan according to regulators’ expectations in today’s world. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations apply with equal force to nonprofits.

  • ENSURE ADMINISTRATIVE ACCOUNTABILITY.

​Provide reporting lines from senior administrators to the board; appropriately separate the board and administration.

  • CREATE NECESSARY OVERSIGHT POSITIONS.

These are among the positions you may need to ensure your compliance bases are covered: Chief Compliance Officer, Athletics Integrity Officer, Title IX and Clery Act Coordinator, Youth Protections Officer, Data Privacy Officer, Import/Export Officer.

  • CODE OF CONDUCT AND OTHER POLICIES.

It is vital to communicate your expectations to your community clearly. Address all significant issues in the open. Take stock of and fill any policy gaps and train appropriate individuals.

  • PROMOTE REPORTING MECHANISMS.

Publicize your hotlines and non-retaliation policy and ensure appropriate reporting lines are part of your central compliance function.

  • EMBRACE ENTERPRISE RISK MANAGEMENT.

Take regular stock of your identified as well as new risks. Give the board oversight of risks.