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Student Complaints

 

Complaints about Connecticut Independent Colleges, Postsecondary Career Schools, and SARA Institutions

 

The Office of Higher Education is responsible for quality review of independent colleges and the regulation of postsecondary career schools located in Connecticut.  As a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), the Office also is responsible for the investigation and resolution of out-of-state students' complaints against all institutions of higher education based in Connecticut and offering distance education via SARA.

 

If you believe that a Connecticut independent college, a career school (private occupational, hospital-based, and barber/hairdresser) or an institution participating in SARA has not fulfilled its promises, you may file a complaint with the Office of Higher Education.  We will investigate complaints concerning matters within our statutory authority and, if justified, take appropriate action. Generally, issues falling under our jurisdiction involve academic quality and licensing; issues regarding student life (such as student discipline, grading and housing) fall solely within the purview of institutions. The Office of Higher Education will act only on complaints that were unable to be resolved through the institution’s internal dispute resolution process. Our agency cannot provide legal advice.

 

Filing a Complaint with the Office of Higher Education

 

Before contacting the Office of Higher Education, you must first exhaust the school’s internal grievance or complaint procedures.  These policies are usually published in the institution’s catalog, student handbook and/or posted on the institution’s website.

 

Once you have pursued your concerns using the institution’s dispute resolution procedures, and have not reached a mutually agreeable resolution, you may proceed with filing a formal complaint with the Office of Higher Education. To do so, email the Education & Employment Information Center requesting a complaint form which must be completed and sent to our agency.

 

How Complaints are Handled

 

We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint in writing, and review it to see if it falls within our regulatory authority. If it does not, we will so notify you, and may refer it to another agency. If it does fall within our jurisdiction, we will notify both you and the school/college, and share a copy of your complaint with the institution with a request for a written response within 20 days regarding the situation and whether appropriate institutional policies, and state statutes and regulations, have been followed.  Depending on the institution’s response, we may request more information from the institution or from you.

 

Complaints Not Covered

 

The Office of Higher Education can only act to assure that Connecticut independent colleges and postsecondary career schools, and SARA institutions comply with state statutes that we administer.  Complaints regarding other issues should be directed to the entity which specializes in those issues.  For example:

·  For complaints involving employer-employee matters, contact the CT Dept. of Labor, (860)263-6000

·  For complaints concerning discrimination complaints, contact the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, (860)541-3400

·  For complaints regarding disabilities violations, contact the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, (860)297-4300 or (800)842-7303

·  For complaints regarding higher education institutions located in other states, contact the state agency responsible for authorization

·  For complaints from Connecticut students enrolled in out-of-state SARA institutions, contact the SARA Portal Agency in the state where the institution is located once you have exhausted the complaint process at that institution.

 

 



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