Book Reviews

Book by William A. Kaplin & Barbara A. Lee
Review by Gene Chintala
Dean of Advising & the Freshman Year Experience,
Assistant Professor of History & Political Science
Tiffin University, Tiffin, OH


This book is a valuable resource; it is a handy guide for the seasoned advisor as well as a valuable tool for the new advisor. The Law of Higher Education should be examined by every advisor as this volume contains answers to many of the questions that appear on advising listservs and are heard at advising conferences.

There are previous editions of this book, most notably the big red book published over a decade ago. What this 2007student edition represents is a change from a bulky book to a sleek edition that informs, educates, and assists the reader in gaining an understanding as to why these topics are important. Do not get me wrong, the old book was excellent, but this one relates to a wider audience.

The reader will find well organized chapters. The authors begin each chapter with background on the topic and provide the topic’s evolution through various court (state and federal) cases. This text is easy to browse; it is easy to find a particular answer, or if desired, read a whole section and learn. In writing this review, doctoral students using this text for a higher education law class were asked about the strengths of the book. Their responses mirrored what is written above.

Academic advisors will find most useful the section, “The College and its Students,” which includes sub-sections on services for students with disabilities and international students, grades, credits and degrees, and FERPA. Other sections include topics on faculty, employment, and governing boards. Athletic advisors will especially appreciate the information on Athletics and Title IX; here experienced advisors may realize what they have forgotten since they last looked at these subjects. Nonetheless, readers will easily find what they need using the contents, index, and index of court cases.

Readers of this text will feel as if they are fulfilling the personal version of a degree audit of “good knowledge to know.” While not a book to quote verbatim, this is a book that will be utilized. Each advising office and institutional library should have a copy. Readers will not earn is a juris doctor using this book, but will find the knowledge needed to ask intelligent questions when responding to an issue.

The beginning of the book contains a review of how higher education and law fit together. Readers wondering why things are the way they are will know the answers after reading this book. Each section holds readers’ interest. A real strength is that it does not matter where readers start, the information needed can be easily found and is useful. Reading this book is like taking a refresher course in higher education law, but without the grade.  Readers will find that this text is a handy guide and reference.


The Law of Higher Education (Fourth Edition) (Student Version). (2007) Book by William A. Kaplin & Barbara A. Lee. Review by Gene Chintala. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 760 pp., $90.00, (Paperback), ISBN # 978-0-7879-7095-6
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