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Join us for a Virtual Workshop:

Discussion and Analysis of Recent USDOE Rules Impacting Higher Education

May 23, 2024

The Virginia Regional Accreditation Symposium is pleased to join with Thompson Coburn, LLP in presenting a half-day workshop entitled “Discussion & Analysis of Recent USED Rules Impacting Higher Education.” Please see details in the embedded image below. Registration is free; visit to register.

 Primary topics covered will be rules relating to gainful employment, borrower defense, and professional licensure preparation program disclosures. Please share this information with others in your organization who work with issues related to the topics above, as well as with those may be interested.

 Scott Goldschmidt and Hope Watson from Thompson Coburn, LLP will describe rules relating to each topic and strategies for implementation, followed by Q&A session focused on each topic. Bios for Scott and Hope are below.


 Scott Goldschmidt, Partner at Thompson Coburn

A former deputy general counsel for a private university, Scott understands the unique challenges that our higher education clients face and how to best help them achieve their goals. Drawing on his experience in a university general counsel's office, Scott brings a practical, ‘in-house' perspective to the complex legal, regulatory, and compliance issues of our clients. He knows that each institution has its own priorities, goals, and challenges, and that legal advice must be tailored to fit the culture and business model of the school. Scott is well-versed in navigating all types of day-to-day and long term legal demands facing colleges and universities, but has particular experience in the areas of discrimination law, student affairs, contract drafting and review, policy development, and implementing controls to mitigate risk. He also handles a wide variety of regulatory and transactional work for institutions of higher education.

 Hope Watson, Associate at Thompson Coburn

Throughout her career, Hope has always found ways to help public institutions achieve their goals. At Thompson Coburn, she works with the higher education group on regulatory and corporate matters. Specifically, Hope helps colleges and universities with state and federal compliance issues. She has particular experience working with technical schools who are navigating the many licensing requirements that they are subject to. Additionally, Hope also assists clients with day-to-day corporate matters that institutions of higher education frequently encounter, such as contract drafting and review. She also works with these organizations on their strategic initiatives, including mergers, acquisitions, and development.

2024 Conference

VRAS is excited to once again partner with the Virginia Assessment Group (VAG) to offer the 2024 Conference, which will be held at the historic 

Hotel 24 in Staunton, VA on November 20-22, 2024.

Details will be available in late Spring/early Summer 2024.

About VRAS

VRAS Listserv

Subscribe to the VRAS email listserv or email Matt Smith.


VRAS, an active, purposeful network of higher education colleagues in Virginia, advances open discussion and dissemination of knowledge to support institutions’ achieving and sustaining SACSCOC accreditation.


VRAS serves the higher education community in Virginia by facilitating inter-institutional relationships and providing accurate information and reliable interpretation of SACSCOC policy.


The purposes of the VRAS are to:

  1. Build relationships among faculty and staff responsible for compliance with SACSCOC policies and principles.
  2. Provide resources for faculty and staff that deal with the intersection of state recognition and regional accreditation.
  3. Serve as a forum for discussion about salient accreditation-related issues and how they affect Virginia institutions.
  4. Share accreditation-related knowledge and experiences among Virginia institutions that may serve as an example or guidance to colleagues.
  5. Welcome, engage, and mentor new members from within our own and other accredited institutions within the Commonwealth to share knowledge and ensure the future growth of the VRAS.

Spring 2024 Events

Discussion and Analysis of Recent USDOE Rules Impacting Higher Education, May 23, 2024

Reading the Tea Leaves and Trends of Accreditation: A Conversation with Consultants, February 8, 2024

Past Symposia and Events

The 2023-24 VRAS Planning Board

Linda Birtley (Union Presbyterian Seminary), Cindy Chiarello (James Madison University), Eric Earnhardt (Germanna Community College), Rick Hess (Marymount University), Denise Ridley-Johnston (William & Mary), Jason Lyons (Christopher Newport University), Ryan Murnane (Regent University), Tisha Paredes, Keri-Beth Pettengill (Brightpoint Community College), Matthew J. Smith (William & Mary), Rachel Smith (Hampden-Sydney College), Kathy Walker (Randolph Macon College), Susan Woodruff (George Mason University)

Contact - Matt Smith

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