On 9th July, law firm Hogan Lovells published a briefing about the potential pitfalls where US universities and their respective business partners offer degree or non-degree programmes entirely online around the world.  The article raises several important US and non-US legal and compliance issues.  However, the alert concerns online-only programmes; the compliance challenges are very different and more complex if a university also establishes a physical presence abroad.   It points out that US sanctions may include restrictions on enrolling online students from certain countries and says that institutions often need policies and procedures to identify, verify, and limit student enrolment on the basis of geographic location or require third-party vendors who are handling enrolment to do so.  In addition, it cautions, higher education institutions must adhere to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) whenever engaged in international activities, and this prohibits directly or indirectly offering or giving payments or anything of value to foreign government officials in order to gain an improper business advantage.  Amongst the other matters discussed are the potential tax (including VAT) implications in the foreign country.

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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