Student Complaints about Delivery of Distance Education

Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act includes regulations regarding the delivery of distance education to out-of-state residents. The United States Department of Education (USDOE) requires that institutions comply with any applicable state approval or licensure requirements in each state to which distance education instruction is delivered.

Students have the right to file a complaint against an institution when these requirements are not followed or regarding the loss of tuition and fees as a result of unfair business practices. Institutions must provide both current and prospective students with contact information for filing complaints with its accrediting body and the appropriate state agency for handling complaints in a student’s resident state.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees and certificates.

If you have a complaint about UNC-Chapel Hill distance education programs and the issue could not be resolved internally, contact the appropriate authority in your state of residence: State Agencies Handling Distance Learning Complaints

You may also file a complaint with

  • North Carolina’s Post-Secondary Complaint Unit through the University of North Carolina’s General Administration. Instructions and the complaint form are located here.


  • UNC-Chapel Hill’s regional accrediting agency, SACSCOC. Complete the Commission’s Complaint Form (PDF) and send two print copies to: President,
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, 1866 Southern Lane
 Decatur, GA 30033-4097.

In most cases, these complaint procedures require the student to exhaust all complaint avenues internal to the institution before a complaint can be filed at the state or accrediting agency level. UNC-Chapel Hill students are advised to first attempt to resolve complaints with UNC-Chapel Hill administration.

Please note: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). Complaints from students in other SARA states should be filed with the North Carolina SARA Portal Agency NOT in the student’s state of residence. The Portal Agency’s website is located here. As with the normal complaint process, students should attempt to resolve the issue internally before engaging the Portal Agency. Updates on UNC-Chapel Hill’s membership in SARA can be found here.

For more information, see the following official UNC-Chapel Hill policies on student complaint processes.