Top 10 Higher Education Compliance/Ethics Risks Revealed


Explore the ranking of risks identified by your higher ed risk peers                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Post Leads to Top 10 Ranking of Risks

Do you ever wonder what is keeping your compliance personnel awake at night?

Earlier this year, a question posted in URMIA’s Compliance Community discussion group asked members what their top ten compliance and ethics risks were for 2024. We compiled a list of twenty-four risks submitted by community members and asked them to rank their top ten from the list. Thirteen percent of Compliance Community members responded.

The Risks Aren’t New

It is no surprise that many of the risks identified are probably the same risks keeping institution risk managers and senior leadership up at night, too. Here are the top 10 compliance/ethics risks identified by the survey:

  1. Cybersecurity
  2. Title IX
  3. Data Privacy
  4. Free Speech
  5. Student Conduct & Campus Safety
  6. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  7. Minors on Campus
  8. Higher Education Act Disclosures & Title IV (Financial Aid)
  9. Research Administration
  10. Admissions

Learning to Mitigate the Risks Collaboratively

The Compliance Community reviewed the survey results during their April Compliance Hot Topics Community Conversation. Highlights of the discussion included:

  • The interconnected nature of these risks emphasizes the need for integrated approaches rather than addressing them in silos.
  • There’s a focus on institutional strategies for ensuring third-party adherence to federal, state, and institutional cybersecurity and data privacy requirements.
  • Recognizing that AI is not new, underscores the necessity for institutions to establish guidelines governing its ethical application
  • Educational and policy methods to cultivate and protect free speech, while simultaneously considering the implications for individual wellbeing
  • The presence of minors on campus, components of minors-on-campus policies, and identifying who owns the policies

Institutional members who are responsible for compliance at your institution or are interested in learning more, we invite you to join URMIA’s Compliance Community. We meet monthly on the third Thursday at 11:30am ET (except for June and July).


By Susan Liden, Education Manager, URMIA

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