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Employee Benefits for Higher Education

The unique aspects and complexities of higher education employee benefit plans can be time-consuming to unravel if your legal advisers are not immersed in the details.

The employee benefits attorneys in Ice Miller's Workplace Solutions Group devote a substantial part of their practice to advising and counseling public and private colleges and universities nationwide regarding benefits issues of every nature. Our exclusive focus and extensive experience regarding the legal issues common to higher education enables us to respond to our clients' needs quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively. We have the knowledge to help colleges and universities successfully navigate the increasingly complex array of federal laws that apply to their employee benefit programs. In doing so, our lawyers are sensitive to both the institutional mission and culture and the perspectives of the diverse interested constituencies.
Matters that we have recently worked on with our higher education clients include:
  • All aspects of health care reform, including the employer shared responsibility rules and employer reporting rules, particularly as they apply to challenging employment classifications such as adjuncts, part-time coaches, and graduate assistants.
  • Student health insurance programs, including with respect to subsidized coverage for graduate assistants and compliant coverage for international students.
  • Early retirement incentive programs that utilize existing or new benefit programs for faculty, staff, or particular departments.
  • Fiduciary reviews and evaluations of retirement plan investment structures, particularly in light of the recent lawsuits challenging institutions regarding retirement plan investments and fees.
  • Navigation of 403(b), 401(a), and 457 plan audits by the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor.
  • HIPAA privacy and security rules and OCR audits.
  • Restructuring retirement plan programs to better meet the needs of employees and the institution and reduce risk.
  • Executive compensation plans, employment agreements with coaches and administrators, as well as severance arrangements.
Our lawyers are nationally recognized for their work in higher education, and are frequently asked to speak and write for associations such as the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), and the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR). We also regularly update our higher education clients through e-alerts and webinars relating to legal developments in areas of particular interest to higher education.


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