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Articles: Asset & Investments

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently completed settlements with the greater part of municipal underwriters and an initial group of issuers under the recent MCDC (Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation) initiative.

Sarah Bassler Millar and Richard Pearl, of Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP, advise higher ed leaders that fiduciaries should be trained by outside counsel with expertise in ERISA retirement plans.

Recently, plaintiffs’ attorneys have brought dozens of lawsuits against universities alleging that their retirement plan fiduciaries breached their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). A failure to fulfill fiduciary duties under ERISA can lead to serious consequences, including personal liability under ERISA. There are steps fiduciaries can take to discharge their responsibilities and avoid these harsh results. 

Higher ed has become the latest target of retirement plan fee litigation. One firm in particular has filed class-action suits against dozens of universities, alleging breaches of ERISA fiduciary duties.

The tactic has been used for years in business, says Eric Paley of legal consultants Nixon Peabody.

Ken Artin, is a public finance lawyer at Bryant Miller Olive. He can be reached at kartin@bmolaw.com.

There is a great need for infrastructure such as classrooms, student housing, dining and wellness facilities. Public-private partnerships (P3s) are a form of contracting between the public sector and private industry that capitalizes on the potential for private investment in a project, while sharing risk between the public and private partners.

Colleges now enhance game-day experiences with more luxury suites and better wireless connectivity in an effort to lure fans away from the comforts of home and to the stadium. See a slideshow here.

Public-private partnerships are a growing trend that allow universities to fund the construction of new buildings and, if desired, turn over maintenance and operations to skilled partners. Structuring these decades-long partnerships for a successful outcome involves careful planning on the big decisions and the details.

In 2016, news outlets across the nation reported several accidents and inconveniences in private student housing developments.

In Baltimore, a Morgan State University student was fatally stabbed in such a housing complex. At the College of Charleston in South Carolina, a student fell over a sixth-floor railing and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

And on the eve of finals, 80 UNC-Charlotte students were evacuated from a private housing complex because their building was sinking and deemed unsafe.

Although Granville Towers, located across the street from UNC Chapel Hill’s campus, was built in 1964, it has been refurbished and updated multiple times by EdR, which manages the 1,327-bed residence hall. Student amenities include weekly housekeeping services for in-suite bathrooms, on-site dining hall and fitness center, a community kitchen, study lounges and a gift-wrapping station.

“What advice do you have for administrators about making long-term relationships with firms like yours beneficial for both parties?”

“Colleges and universities must clearly define their primary objectives and maintain a degree of flexibility with respect to their approach in ultimately determining the business relationship with their private sector partner. By their very nature, P3s are not ‘business as usual’ and therefore require clarity of purpose and flexibility in approach.”

Barbara Ross-Lee is VP for Health Sciences and Medical Affairs at New York Institute of Technology and  founding dean of NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University.

The U.S. may be short nearly 95,000 doctors within the next 10 years. That shortage is projected to be most acute in Southern states. In response, private medical schools—even institutions hundreds of miles away—are looking to open satellite locations on the campuses of public universities.

Campus leaders across the country are working to spend money with businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans and other underrepresented groups. An equally important goal shared by many institutions is helping these business owners develop the know-how to compete in the wider economy.

Many higher ed librarians say they have found new ways to navigate the journal-subscription system.

Librarians and their advocates are also pushing for systemic change: a transition away from the subscription-based model of scholarly communication and toward open access. This transition to free availability of published research is one librarians say university administrators should work to accelerate.

Leigh Greden is advisor to the president, and Russ Olwell is interim director of government and community relations at Eastern Michigan University.

Programs to help employees purchase housing near campus have gained favor in the past decade. A housing program that improves neglected areas only increases the profile and potential of the entire campus community.

The Venture Development Center has all the hallmarks of a typical startup: Computers running equations, whiteboards covered with revenue projections and caffeine-fueled meetings about venture capital in glass-walled rooms. But it's more than that: the center is also a University of Massachusetts, Boston incubator that houses dozens of fledgling bioscience and computer science firms.

Talent, technologies and capital converge at TechTown Detroit, an incubator formed by Wayne State University in partnership with General Motors and the Henry Ford Health System. Since 2004 TechTown has been housed in a 1920s-era building contributed by GM.

It takes more than good intentions and extra space to be successful in starting an incubator.

Here are three tips to to help campus departments of economic development go from idea to execution:

Revenue alone doesn’t drive every real estate initiative. Higher ed institutions involved in development, typically off-campus, also consider the economic revitalization of a blighted surrounding neighborhood and initiatives that support the core mission.

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