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 Jason Block, assistant director for planning and assessment support, at jason.block@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

North Carolina 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 (PDF)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 here: http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/081705/complaintpolicy.pdf and may be submitted to:

SACSCOC
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, Georgia, 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 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. The portal agency’s complaint process can be found here. The SARA-NC Complaint Form can be found here.  Updates on UNC-Chapel Hill’s membership in SARA can be found here.

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

 

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.