Student Complaint Procedure

Student Complaint Procedure

Section 494C(j) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, provides that a student, faculty member or any other person who believes he or she has been aggrieved by an institution of higher education has the right to file a written complaint.

In New York State, a complaint may be filed by any person with reason to believe that an institution has acted contrary to its published standards or that conditions at the institution appear to jeopardize the quality of the institution's instructional programs or the general welfare of its students. Any person who believes he or she has been aggrieved by an institution on or after May 4, 1994, may file a written complaint with the Department within three years of the alleged incident.

How to File a Complaint

The person should first try to resolve the complaint directly with the institution by following the internal complaint procedures provided by the institution. An institution of higher education is required to publish its internal complaint procedure in a primary information document such as the catalog or student handbook. (The Department suggests that the complainant keep copies of all correspondence with the institution.)

Internal Complaint Procedure

  1. If a student believes that he/she has a legitimate grievance against a faculty member or some part of the academic process (except dismissal), only he/she may seek redress at any time within the semester through the incomplete period (see Section 1.373G) by way of the following steps. For Academic Policies concerning grade changes see Sections 1.352F and 1.377. For other policies that address student concerns please consult the Student Handbook and/or the College Catalog.
  2. If the student can bring the complaint directly to the instructor, he/she should do so and, together, they should resolve the problem.
  3. If the student cannot bring the complaint to the instructor or if he/she does and the matter is not resolved satisfactorily, the student may request his/her division dean to act as an intermediary between the student and the instructor to solve the problem. The division dean will consult both with the instructor and the student and, acting as impartial arbitrator, render a decision in writing to both.
  4. If the student does not accept the decision, he/she may appeal in writing to the Provost. If the instructor does not accept the decision, he/she may appeal in writing to the Provost. The Provost, as impartial arbitrator, renders the final decision in writing to the student, the instructor and the division dean.

External Complaint Procedure

If a person is unable to resolve the complaint with the institution or believes that the institution has not properly addressed the concerns, he or she may file complaints to the following external entities:

Out-of-State Distance Education Complaints:
National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements  (NC-SARA) provides additional information and resources about the student complaint process on their website.