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Students will learn the practical compliance skills necessary for advancement in a variety of higher education-related careers. The curriculum is designed for compliance officers, Title IX officers, ADA support and financial aid personnel, accreditation managers, higher education administrators, attorneys and others interested in developing their expertise in the field of education law and compliance. Students will learn how to research, apply, and communicate effectively about the laws, regulations and compliance issues facing today's higher education leaders.

Go to HLC (LL.M.)

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will:

  • Utilize legal databases to access the primary sources of education law in the United States: statutes, regulations and court decisions.
  • Analyze key issues in education policy and compliance from ethical and legal perspectives.
  • Evaluate programs and policies for potential risk and identify corrective measures.
  • Communicate complex ideas, orally and in writing, using legal and industry-specific terminology.
  • Implement the basic components of an effective compliance program in a higher education setting.
  • Apply best practices for ensuring the privacy of student data.
  • Respond to government and accreditor reporting requirements.
  • Continuously adapt to the evolving regulatory framework of education in the United States.
  • Be prepared for advancement in compliance and other management roles in higher education.

Course Descriptions

Higher Education Law and Governance

A survey of the legal and compliance issues facing institutions of higher education. Systems of governance in public and private settings will be explored, including issues unique to non-profit institutions. Compliance responsibilities of faculty, administration, and governing boards will be addressed.

Data and Privacy in Educational Compliance

A study of student privacy laws and regulations in the higher education context. Includes an in-depth look at The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the compliance issues associated with each.

Student Disability Law

A study of § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and other laws and court decisions affecting the education of students with disabilities. Includes an examination of the types of disabilities affecting students in higher education. Includes a thorough examination of the best practices in accommodating students with a variety of special needs.

Student Rights and Campus Safety

Examination of laws and regulations governing student rights and safety. Particular focus will be on Title IX, The Jeanne Clery Act, and campus police and safety departments. Includes regulatory framework for compliance and policy considerations.

Creating and Enforcing Policies and Procedures

Examination of college and university policy and compliance program development. Students will create a policy document for one or more campus departments with accompanying plans for training and enforcement.

Financial Compliance in Higher Education

Study of the many and complex financial rules and regulations that impact higher education institutions. Focuses on Title IV of the Higher Education Act, regulations governing student aid and scholarships, institutional and student eligibility requirements, direct lending requirements, compliance violations and consequences, and regulatory updates. Other financial considerations such as treatment of charitable gifts and endowments will be addressed.

Compliance Program Management

Focuses on management of the compliance program. Development of guidelines for self-assessment and internal audit and exploration of investigations and corrective actions. Managing and mitigating risk.

Compliance and Accreditation

A study of the accreditation process and its relationship to university and departmental compliance programs and policies. Examines the relationship between regional accreditation and compliance with federal regulations governing institutions authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, as amended, and other federal programs. Includes an examination of the roles, responsibilities, and ethical considerations for faculty, staff and administration in the accreditation process.

Higher Education Law and Compliance Capstone

Students will work with a mentor to develop a project or paper designed to complement their area of professional interest.

Career Information

This degree supports career advancement for Title IX and Civil Rights Officers, Accreditation Managers, ADA Office personnel, financial aid professionals, and other program managers and directors whose positions require knowledge of education law and compliance program management.

Students in this program may choose to enhance their career options by pursuing a credential or certification from a professional organization.  Below are some options that may benefit students in the Higher Education Law and Compliance concentration.

Below are some links to higher education compliance job opportunities that may be available in your area:

Program Goals

The goals of the Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) programs are to:

  • Prepare students for professional careers through a systematic program of real world courses and training
  • Encourage graduates to pursue relevant professional credentials from industry-leading organizations
  • Empower students to communicate and interact effectively with attorneys, compliance professionals, and other members of the legal community
  • Develop the core competencies in a specialized field of study which are necessary for professional success

Admission Requirements

All applicants must complete and submit an online application.  All materials must be submitted through the online system which includes detailed instructions.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to log into his or her application to confirm that all required materials (recommendations, transcripts) have been received.  Official transcripts  must be submitted directly from the awarding institution to:

Cumberland School of Law, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham Alabama, 35229, ATTN: Grad Law. 

Applicants must submit a transcript indicating the award of a qualifying degree.  For M.S.L. students, the qualifying degree is a bachelor's degree.  For LL.M. students, the qualifying degree is a Juris Doctor.

Please allow ample time for transcript orders to be processed.

Minimum Requirements for Admission

Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.)

  • A bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA from a regionally accredited institution
  • GRE or MAT scores strongly advised, but not required, for students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement indicating career plans and likelihood of success in graduate study
  • Professional resume

Master of Laws (LL.M.)

  • Must have earned a J.D. or be currently enrolled as a J.D. student at Cumberland School of Law
  • One letter of recommendation from a former faculty member or professional colleague
  • Personal statement indicating career plans and likelihood of success in graduate study
  • Professional resume
Important Dates
  • Application Open – November 1, 2018
  • Priority Application Deadline - March 1, 2019
  • Final Application Deadline – August 1, 2019 (all application materials must be received by this date)
  • Orientation – Saturday, August 10, 2019 (on-campus or online)
  • Fall Start Date – August 26, 2019

International Applicant Information

Financial Aid, Tuition and Fees

For information about financial aid, please visit the Office of Financial Aid online or contact their office at 205-726-2905 or 1-800-888-7245.

Tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 academic year are posted on the Student Financial Services website. Students in the M.S.L. and LL.M. programs pay Samford University’s graduate per-credit-hour tuition rate. For academic year 2018-19, the graduate per-credit-hour rate is $837.  Please see the link above for complete information, including fees.  You may also view our Virtual Information Session for tuition and fee information. At this time, no scholarship opportunities are available for students in the M.S.L. or LL.M. programs.

Our Team

Photo of Kim Davey
Kim Davey, Ph.D., M.B.A., M.A.
Associate Professor
Department of Public Health
Office: 1626 CHS Building 1
Photo of Michael E. DeBow
Michael E. DeBow
Steven Everett Wells Professor of Municipal Law
Cumberland School of Law
Office: Robinson Hall
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Lynne Lee
Photo of Paige Price
Paige Price
Assistant Director of Graduate Programs
Office: Robinson Hall
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Kelli Robinson
Photo of Laura H. Tomlin
Laura H. Tomlin
Director of Graduate and International Programs
Office: Robinson Hall