Attorney, Husch Blackwell LLP
Kansas City, Missouri
Office Representing: General Counsel
Working exclusively on behalf of educational institutions, Annie Cartwright advises colleges and universities on compliance, operations, and resolving disputes and crises. With a focus on Title IV financial aid compliance and related regulatory and policy matters, (including Title IX and other nondiscrimination; the Clery Act; privacy; contracts; disclosures; and accreditation,) Cartwright helps institutions prevent problems so they can focus on their educational missions. She guides schools through legal compliance audits, policy programs, investigations, training, and general counsel services. As needed, Cartwright assists with responses to regulatory investigations and actions, including Department of Education program reviews and audits. Prior experience as a litigator at an Am Law 100 firm and as a law clerk in two U.S. District Courts—where Cartwright arrived on the scene after issues arose—drove her to focus on preventing challenges, streamlining systems, and helping position schools and students for success.
How did you first get interested in or involved in higher education issues?
"In short, I said 'yes' to an unexpected opportunity," Cartwright said. "Having practiced as a litigator for several years, I saw many lawsuits that could have been avoided with measured efforts toward compliance, communication, and systemization. When I was ready to make the leap to a new type of practice, our firm was developing its education practice. I was asked to join and said 'yes.' I haven't looked back once, and am privileged to work with dedicated, intelligent, mission-driven clients on a daily basis."
Why did you apply to be a part of the Forward50? What drew you to this opportunity?
"Early in my education law practice, it became clear that clients needed specialized legal guidance on federal student aid issues, and I focused my practice around researching and answering Title IV legal/regulatory/compliance questions, as well as offering insight into fiduciary responsibilities and student service goals tied to aid program participation," Cartwright said. "Having studied current regulations and seen first-hand the challenges they pose to a variety of institutions, I believe I have some perspective into how to maximize current and new regulations and requirements to fit the practical needs of schools and students. Also, as a Title IV lawyer, I frequently research and 'translate', in person and in writing, technical regulatory and policy imperatives for institutional leadership and others less involved in day-to-day federal student aid administration. I expect that this skill would be useful in conveying the committee's messaging surrounding Forward50 initiatives to a broader community. It would be an honor to engage with thought leaders in this area and assist in whatever way I may be of service."
Membership(s) held with other professional associations: