Tony Guida focuses his practice on the PreK-12, postsecondary, EdTech and corporate training education sectors handling issues relating to federal and state education law, licensing and accreditation, mergers, acquisitions and other substantive changes; institutional governance; government response and crisis management, federal and state education policy; and government affairs. An experienced senior executive in the field of higher education, Mr. Guida bring a unique business side perspective to his engagement with clients. He serves as a team lead for the Duane Morris Education industry group and is a member of the firm's governing Partners Board. The Legal 500 US 2021 Guide, which has ranked Duane Morris’ Education Industry Group, notes that Tony "is described as ‘exceptional’ according to clients" and "well respected in the field" of education. A 2022 BTI Client Service All-Star, where clients state "I'm impressed by Mr. Guida's deep knowledge of the education industry" and "I appreciate how well-connected he is with the regulators."
Mr. Guida has previously served in senior executive positions with two major publicly traded companies that owned and operated colleges and universities on multiple platforms, where his responsibilities included regulatory affairs and compliance, acquisitions and divestitures, government and public affairs, policy, strategic planning, new campus development, and public relations. He has also served as CFO and general counsel for a small proprietary college. Prior to joining the higher education industry more than 15 years ago, Tony was a partner in the litigation section of a large regional law firm.
Mr. Guida currently serves on the Board of Trustees of a private non-profit university, is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), and previously served on the Board of Directors of a national trade association representing proprietary institutions. He has previously served on the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, which was created by Congress to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to Congress and the Secretary of Education on student financial aid policy.
Mr. Guida is a frequent speaker at symposia and conferences on issues relating to regulatory compliance, government enforcement actions, higher education mergers, acquisitions, and other transactions and substantive changes, licensing and accreditation, and federal and state higher education policy.
Mr. Guida is a 1986 graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where he was Student Articles Editor of the Law Review, and a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Dayton.
Areas of Practice
PreK-12 and Higher Education Licensure and Accreditation
- Federal and State Education Law
Education Sector M&A, Investment and Lending Transactions
- Government Response and Crisis Management
- Online Education
- Federal and State Education Policy and Government Affairs
- Represented Perdoceo Education Corporation (NASDAQ: PRDO), a for-profit post-secondary higher education provider, in its $44-45 million acquisition of the assets of Trident University International, a regionally accredited university offering online programs, from private equity firm Summit Partners.
- Education regulatory counsel for an $80 million acquisition by Chegg, Inc. (NYSE: CHGG), an education technology company, to acquire Thinkful, an online coding bootcamp.
- Represented Westcliff University in its acquisition of Western State College of Law out of federal receivership.
- Negotiated an emergency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and a subsequent Operating Agreement with the U.S. Department of Education for a publicly traded higher education holding company that provided the mechanism for an orderly transition and sale of most of the company's accredited colleges enrolling more than 70,000 students.
- Created accreditation program, manual, and policies and procedures for coaching certification organizations for a National Sports Governing Body appointed by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC).
- Served as regulatory counsel for majority investment in PreK-Higher Education holding company with transaction value of more than $110 million.
- Served as regulatory counsel for M&A transactions of PreK-12 for-profit schools involving more than 230 locations with total combined enterprise value of more than $1.3 billion.
- Successfully defended regionally accredited institution faced with probation that resulted in a less severe sanction of "on notice."
- Negotiated and closed $44 million sale of a college with annual revenues of $26 million.
- Project managed and oversaw state licensing and accreditation approvals for more than 20 new branch locations of accredited colleges and universities.
- Negotiated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with regional accreditor that would facilitate the merger of over 15 commonly owned institutions with more than 100 locations into a single institution.
- Obtained federal, state and accreditation approvals for move of a 19 campus graduate university from one regional accreditor to another regional accreditor and the subsequent merger of four related institutions with nine campuses into that institution.
- Provided regulatory oversight of successful initial regional accreditation of nationally accredited college enrolling more than 12,000 students that had its prior request for initial accreditation denied.
- Successfully defended nationally accredited college in removal of institutional show cause related to student outcome issues.
- Served as regulatory counsel for successful approvals by four regional accreditors and multiple state licensing agencies of a transaction that included sale of nine proprietary colleges and universities with more than 35 locations.
- Negotiated and closed ten acquisitions of accredited colleges for publicly traded higher education holding company with transaction values ranging from $2.6 million to $119 million and totaling $216 million.
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. Tax Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- Supreme Court of the United States
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2014-present
- Education Management Corporation
- Senior Vice President, External Affairs, 2002-2014
- Pennsylvania Culinary Institute
- General Counsel and CFO, 1999-2001
- Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney
- Shareholder, 1986-1999
- Trustee, Oral Roberts University
- Board of Directors, Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU), 2005-11, 2012-15
- Author, "Have COVID’s Pricing and Learning Disruptions Opened a Pandora’s Box?" University Business, February 17, 2021
- Quoted, "Will For-Profits Bounce Back?" Inside Higher Ed, March 19, 2020
- Co-author, "Department of Education Issues Guidance on Safeguarding Civil Rights During COVID-19 Pandemic," Duane Morris Alert, March 18, 2020
- Author, "2019 Proprietary Higher Education Review: 'Food Fight!'" Career Education Review, December 13, 2020
Co-author, "California-Based Institutions Exempt in Other States Could Also Be Impacted by U.S. Department of Education's Rules for Online Programs," Duane Morris Alert, July 26, 2019
Author, "2018 Proprietary Higher Education Review: The Greatest Show on Earth!" Career Education Review, December 2018
Author, “2017 Proprietary Higher Education Review: It Will Never be ‘The Way We Were’,”Career Education Review, December 2017
- Author, The 'Borrower Defense' Rule Takes Effect in July. Brace for It."The Chronicle of Higher Education", May 22, 2017
Author, "2016 Proprietary Higher Education Review: Have You Tried Rebooting?" Career Education Review, December 2016
- Co-author, "U.S. Department of Education Senior Department Official Announces Decision to Terminate Federal Recognition of Higher Education Accreditor," Duane Morris Alert, September 23, 2016
- Co-author, "U.S. Department of Education Issues Additional Guidance for Higher Education Institutions Regarding Obligations Related to Third-Party Servicers," Duane Morris Alert, August 24, 2016
Author, "2015 Proprietary Higher Education Overview: There Must Be a Pony in Here Somewhere!" Career Education Review, January 2016
- Co-author, "Higher Education's Gainful Employment and 90/10 Rules: Unintended 'Scarlet Letters' for Minority, Low-Income, and Other At-Risk Students," 79 U. Chi. L. Rev. 131, 2012
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Speaker, “Online Program Agreements with Third Parties: What You Need to Know,” National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, June 28, 2022
- Panelist, "What Happens to Post-Secondary Education if Biden Wins," Webinar, October 23, 2020
- Panelist, "Investment and Innovations in EdTech in 2020 and Amid COVID-19," Silicon Valley Startup: Idea to IPO, Webinar, July 29, 2020
- Panelist, "Student Loan Update and the State of Higher Education Across Jurisdictions," American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) 2020 Caribbean Insolvency Symposium, San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 4, 2020
- Speaker, "The U.S. Department of Education Borrower Defense to Repayment and Financial Responsibility Rule Changes, Part II: Title IV Financial Responsibility Rule Changes," Duane Morris Webinar, Washington, D.C., October 22, 2019
- Panelist, "Investing in For Profit Education and EdTech," BDO, First Republic Bank Dealmakers Series, Duane Morris LLP, NYC, October 8, 2019
Speaker, “Restructuring Companies Dependent on the Federal Government,” Association of Insolvency & Restructuring Advisors (AIRA) Annual Conference, Nashville, June 15, 2018
Presenter, “Revised Borrower Defense to Repayment Notice of Proposed Rulemaking," Duane Morris Webinar, Washington, D.C., August 2, 2018
Speaker, "Embracing Change," CECU Annual Convention, Orlando, Florida, June 5, 2018
- Speaker, "The New Regulatory and Legal Enforcement Regime: The First Six Months Of The Trump Administration And A Look Forward At Regulatory Enforcement and Legal Actions," Career Education Colleges & Universities Convention, Las Vegas, June 8, 2017
- Speaker, "Achieving More Informed, Efficient, and Effective Regulatory Relationships Across your Organization," Career Education Colleges & Universities Convention, Las Vegas, June 6, 2017
- "The Emerging and Increased Risks in the Federal and State Legislative and Regulatory Environments," Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), Annual Conference, Anaheim, CA, 2016
- "The Intersection of Public Policy, Law and Business," Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU), Annual Convention and Exposition, Orlando, FL 2016
- "Operating in a Post-GE Environment," Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) Biannual Meeting, San Diego, CA, 2016
- "A Guide for Operating in a Post-GE Environment — Ready or Not, Here it Comes!," Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU), Webinar, 2016
- "Higher Education Redesign: The Intersection of Public Policy, Law and Business," Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU), 2016
- "The U.S. Department of Education: Outcomes, Accountability, and Accreditation," CHEA Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., 2016
- "Understanding Today's Legal Challenges," APSCU Leadership Summit, Phoenix, AZ 2015
- "Gainful Employment Rule Compliance: Steps and Strategies for Finding Your Way Forward," Pennsylvania Association of Private School Administrators (PAPSA), Webinar 2015
- "Government Regulators & New Theories of Liability: Threat, Menace, or Much Ado About Nothing?," APSCU Annual Convention and Exposition: Outcomes 2025, Denver, CO, 2015
- "The Future of the For-Profit Higher Education Sector," Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., 2015
- "How 'Gainful Employment' Fits in the Toolbox for Measuring Institutional Effectiveness," ACICS Annual Meeting, New Orleans, 2014
- Hill Day Briefing, Annual Hill Day, Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, Washington, D.C., 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
- "Private Equity Investing in For-Profit Education Companies," Capital Roundtable, New York City, 2013
- "Higher Education Policy," APSCU Higher Education Symposium, Washington, D.C., 2011
- "A Critique of the Obama Administration's New Gainful Employment Rules," Symposium: "Understanding Education in the United States and Its Legal and Social Implications," University of Chicago Law School, Chicago, 2011
- "The Gainful Employment Rule," Public Affairs Conference, National Restaurant Association, Washington, D.C., 2011
- "Living in a Hyper-Regulated World," APSCU Higher Education Symposium, Washington, D.C., 2010
- "Going Public," Higher Education Investment Conference, Washington, D.C., 2009
- "HEA: What the New Law Means for Career Colleges," Higher Education Investment Conference, Washington, D.C., 2008
- "Transactions With Not-for-Profit Schools," Higher Education Investment Conference, Washington, D.C., 2007
- "Online Education: Emerging Licensing and Accreditation Issues," Career Colleges Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, 2007
- "Mergers & Acquisitions," Mid-Atlantic Conference Regions I, II and II Private Career Colleges & Schools Workshop, Philadelphia, 2004 and 2005
- "Mergers & Acquisitions," Pittsburgh Chapter of Association for Corporate Growth, Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, 2004
- "Mergers & Acquisitions," Career Colleges Association Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, 2003