Nick Michiels is a principal in the Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville education group.

Nick guides clients through the higher education “triad” so they can focus on innovation and fulfilling their missions. Since joining Powers in September 2010, Nick has represented for-profit, non-profit, and state schools, online program management companies, and accrediting agencies regarding the complex regulatory framework governing higher education.

Nick seeks to preserve important relationships with regulatory agencies while advancing the client’s position.  This philosophy guides Nick as he represents postsecondary schools and third-party servicers in audit and program review proceedings before the United States Department of Education’s Office of Hearings and Appeals, as well as responding to adverse actions taken by accreditation and state education agencies.

Nick helps clients remain current and compliant in a rapidly evolving environment by monitoring legislative, regulatory, judicial, interpretive, and other developments on a variety of education issues.  In particular, Nick has developed substantial experience in the areas of incentive compensation, state authorization, student privacy (including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), student eligibility, and third-party servicer regulations.


  • Advised school owners and investors regarding the regulatory aspects of education investments, mergers, and acquisitions.
  • Managed institutional responses to document requests and subpoenas, and helped the school respondents explain these investigations to other regulators.
  • Drafted comments regarding proposed Department of Education regulatory packages, which contributed to positive changes in the final versions.
  • Coordinated an institution’s response to an accrediting agency probation order, which was eventually lifted.  

Speaking Engagements:

  • Co-Presenter, CAPPS Annual Conference, Validity of High School Diplomas – Attorney Workshop (October 2018)
  • Co-Presenter, CECU Annual Conference, Competing Career Education Models:  Apprenticeships, Boot Campus, OPMs, Industry Partnerships and Other Alternative Training Models – How to Keep Current Amidst the Disruption (June 2018)
  • Presenter, Private Career Colleges and Schools Conferences, Trending Legal Issues in Higher Education (Chicago, May 2018; Dallas, June 2018)
  • Co-Presenter, APSCU Annual Conference, Campus Security and Crisis Response Planning:  Key Legal and Practical Considerations (June 2016)
  • Presenter, National Business Institute Presentation, School Safety Law:  Safety Disclosures and State and Federal Record-Keeping Laws (October 2014)


Practice Areas


J.D., cum laude, American University, 2010

B.A., cum laude, Georgetown University, 2006

Bar Memberships


District of Columbia

Honors & Awards

Marshall-Brennan Fellow, American University, Washington College of Law

Note & Comment Editor, American University Law Review