Normal

The University is currently operating under Reduced Campus Services and Operations due to COVID-19

State Authorization and 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, the following options are available to you

UNC-Chapel Hill Complaint Process

Students with complaints involving academic issues should always begin by speaking with the chair of the department in which their program resides. If the complaint involves issues related to the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) a student may also contact Jessica Brinker, director of operations and administration for Digital and Lifelong Learning, at Jessica_Brinker@unc.edu. For Non-SARA issues students also have the option to contact the University’s Office of Ethics and Integrity which serves as a resource for all other types of complaints. The Office’s website is: https://ethicspolicy.unc.edu/report-a-concern.  Students may also send mail to the Office of Ethics and Integrity at Campus Box 4110, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599 or call the office at 919-445-8364. Student may also avail themselves of the other complaint processes noted below.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill uses a decentralized model of administration. As a result, the University does not have one global complaint policy. As stated above complaints about academic issues should be lodged first with the department chair or program director. A comprehensive resource list for other academic complaint issues can be found on Carolina’s Ethics and Integrity website. Students may also consult the Office of the Dean of Students’ policies, standards and procedures for additional policies which may be relevant.

 

North Carolina Post-Secondary Education Complaints

NC Post-Secondary Education Complaints

If a complaint cannot be resolved through the institution’s complaint process, students may file a complaint with the North Carolina Post-Secondary Education Complaints unit. Please review the NC Post-Secondary Complaint Policy  print and complete the NC Post-Secondary Complaint Form and submit the complaint to:

North Carolina Post-Secondary Education Complaints
c/o Student Complaints
University of North Carolina System Office
910 Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2688
(919) 962-1000 (ask for the Complaints unit)
studentcomplaint@northcarolina.edu

SACSCOC Student Complaint Process

UNC-Chapel Hill is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Students with complaints have the option of filing a complaint with that agency. The SACSCOC student complaint form is located at https://sacscoc.org/app/uploads/2020/01/ComplaintPolicy-1.pdf and may be submitted to:

President
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, GA 30033-4097

SACSCOC may be reached via phone at 404-679-4500 or online at http://www.sacscoc.org/

SARA-NC Student Complaint Process

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a voluntary agreement among member states, districts, and territories in the United States, which establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. It is intended to simplify the process of taking online courses for credit offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. SARA is overseen by a national council (NC-SARA) and administered by four regional education compacts.

North Carolina is a member state of SARA, through the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) is a participating institution of SARA and authorized to offer distance education courses and programs to students residing in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

Federal regulations require that institutions provide both current and prospective students with contact information for filing complaints with the educational institution, with its accrediting body and the appropriate state agency for handling complaints in a student’s resident state.

If you have a complaint about UNC-Chapel Hill’s Online and Distance education courses/programs, the following options are available to you:

Step 1: All Students

All students, regardless of residency, should first seek resolution for complaints by speaking with the department chair or program director. UNC-Chapel Hill uses a decentralized model of administration. A comprehensive resource list on student complaint and grievance procedures for both on-campus and distance students can be found on the Office of Ethics and Policy website, which will bring student complaint or concern to the appropriate individual(s) or office(s) for resolution.

For questions regarding student complaint process for Online and Distance Education courses/programs offered by UNC Chapel Hill or SARA-related issues, please contact the Vice Provost for Digital and Lifelong Learning, Dr. Todd Nicolet, by mail: Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Campus Box 3000, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3000; email: todd_nicolet@unc.edu; or phone: 919-962-3192.

Step 2: Determined by the Student’s Place of Residency

Most Out-of-State Students: If a complaint cannot be resolved through the institution’s complaint process (Step 1), then out-of-state students residing in NC-SARA states, which includes all states except California, may submit complaints to State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements – North Carolina (SARA-NC). SARA-NC operates under the authority of NCSEAA (North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority).

SARA-NC Contact Information

SARA North Carolina
NC State Education Assistance Authority
PO Box 14103
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
855-727-2162
www.saranc.org
information@saranc.org

North Carolina Residents: If a complaint cannot be resolved through the institution’s complaint process (Step 1), students may file a complaint with the North Carolina Post-Secondary Education Complaints unit.

Submit the complaint to:

North Carolina Post-Secondary Education Complaints
c/o Student Complaints
University of North Carolina System Office
910 Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2688
919- 962-1000 (ask for the Complaints unit)

Additional Resources for Student Complaints

Consumer Protection Division of the North Carolina Department of Justice. To file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division of the North Carolina Department of Justice, please visit State Attorney General’s File a Complaint, selecting the General Consumer Complaint Form under “Complain Online”. North Carolina residents may call 877-566-7226; if calling from outside North Carolina, please dial 919-716-6000.

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). 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. SACSCOC expects individuals to attempt to resolve the complaint through all means available to the complainant, including the institution’s grievance procedures, before submitting a complaint to SACSCOC. Complete information about the SACSCOC process is at SACSCOC Procedures Complaint (pdf) (the actual complaint form is located on the last two pages of the document (ii, and iii).

Submit the complaint to:

President
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, GA 30033-4097
404-679-4500
http://www.sacscoc.org/

State Portal Agency Contact Information:NC-SARA provides a complete list of relevant agencies with contact information for each NC-SARA state.

NC-SARA Contact Information

National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity
3005 Center Green Drive, Suite 130
Boulder, Colorado 80301
Info@nc-sara.org
303-848-3275

Student Complaint Information by State and Agency

 

Professional Licensure

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill does not offer any online degree programs that lead to initial licensure. Clinical placements requirements within Carolina’s online programs do not lead to licensure. Students participating in clinical placements should contact their programs to ensure that preceptors have the appropriate licenses in the state in which the student will be placed.

Distance and Online Education

Carolina has a growing selection of online graduate and undergraduate programs for academic credit. The University’s professional schools and Center for Continuing Education also offer a limited selection of distance programs in other formats for special populations, as well as a broad range of noncredit distance education programs.

Learn more about Carolina’s distance and online education programs.