Country Compliance Considerations
This checklist sets forth the legal, compliance and business considerations you are expected to review prior to engaging with a new partner or providing new online educational services, whether in a particular country or a global offering.
JHU’s Risk and Compliance offices, including the Office of General Counsel and the Export Control & Facility Security Office, should be consulted prior to initiating new online programs and non-US partners, including working through this Checklist.
1. Are there US legal restrictions/prohibitions that apply to online education (as a “service”) in [Country Name]?
- US export controls? (Will information provided be something other than general science, math or engineering principles commonly taught in university catalog courses?)
- US economic sanctions? (Will educational services be provided to persons from or in certain regions/countries to which sanctions programs apply?)
- Does the vendor that facilitates online access to your services reserve the right to “block” access by students located in certain countries?
2. Does [Country Name] require a foreign university to obtain regulatory approval or registration from the government before it may provide an entirely online program?
- From what government entities?
- Is this requirement applicable during the COVID-19 pandemic?
3. Will the proposed JHU online program include any on-site faculty or instruction component that we need to consider as part of this analysis?
o *Unlikely to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic
4. Would JHU have a “partner” or online education “provider” with which it is working to deliver the services?
- If yes, is it a US company or foreign company?
- Have we determined that there are reputational issues or concerns raised (publicly in media accounts, or by peers/others) about a proposed partner?
- Does the company have experience offering online education in foreign countries (if a US company)? If so, what benchmarks has the company provided?
5. Does [Country Name] consider the provision of online education to be subject to a Sales Tax or a Value-Added Tax (VAT) (where online ed. is considered a “service”) under its tax laws?
- If yes, do we need to gross up the internal costs for the proposed program to cover?
- If yes, are these taxes applicable during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Example: China waived VAT applicable to online education during
6. Does [Country Name] recognize credentials earned online from a foreign university (where a majority or entire course load is online)? Example: 1-year graduate degree from JHU.
- If yes, then are there regulatory disclaimers or statements that need to be made?
- If no, is there an exception during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- If no, are there disclaimers that JHU needs to make to the students so that they are aware that the degree may not be recognized?
7. Does [Country Name] have laws in place that restrict or monitor (“censor”) certain topics that may be considered politically, religiously, socially or otherwise “sensitive”?
o If so, what is the obligation on JHU to follow/not follow the law(s)?
8. Is [Country Name] subject to General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) (e.g., EU), which could affect the collection and use of personal data from students participating in online programs?
o If yes, do local laws require data localization or enhanced obligations on data controllers, etc.?
9. Would engaging in an entirely online education program in [Country Name] create a permanent establishment (PE) for JHU?
- Generally, a PE exposes the foreign entity [JHU] to corporate income tax on revenue attributable to that
- Does the US have a tax treaty with [Country Name]?
- Does JHU already have a presence in [Country Name]?
10. Does [Country Name] have any restrictions on students (who are in-country) paying large sums of money to an entity outside of the country?
- Example: China has restrictions on outflows of money above USD $50,000.