Student Complaint Procedures
According to regulations and SARA guidelines the Office of Higher Education is responsible for handling complaints from out of state students studying at Connecticut based institutions that offer distance education through SARA. It’s important to note that matters related to student life, such as actions or grading are solely within the jurisdiction of the institution and are typically not investigated. Additionally the Office of Higher Education does not investigate complaints or provide legal advice.
If an out of state student enrolled in a Connecticut institution through SARA has a complaint they can follow these steps within two years of the incident;
1. The student should first attempt to resolve the complaint by utilizing the institutions internal grievance procedures. These procedures are usually outlined in the institutions catalog, student handbook or on their website. Unless there are circumstances complaints will not be investigated by the Office of Higher Education if students have not tried to resolve them with their institution first.
2. If all available remedies at the level have been exhausted and no resolution has been reached then the student can file a complaint, with the Office of Higher Education.
To submit a complaint please click on the link; [https;//veoci.com/v/p/181953/workflow/gjrt4qhrrvkv]. As part of the complaint process students need to provide all documentation for review.
3. The Office of Higher Education will handle the complaint and share copies of all submitted documents with the institution. The institution will then have 20 days to respond. Once a response is received and an investigation is conducted the Office of Higher Education will issue a findings report to all parties involved.
If a Connecticut student is enrolled in a program offered by an institution under SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement) based in another state the student should contact the appropriate agency in that state to initiate the complaint process. For Connecticut students enrolled in institutions within Connecticut it is necessary to exhaust the internal grievance procedures established by the institution before reaching out, to the Office of Higher Education for filing a complaint.
Connecticut has been accepted to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, known as SARA. SARA allows institutions that offer distance learning outside their home state to enroll students using standardized procedures. SARA is overseen by boards and a national council.
The Office of Higher Education serves as the agency for managing SARA in Connecticut. They review applications and address complaints from out of state students attending SARA approved institutions located in Connecticut.
Participation in SARA is voluntary for degree granting institutions based. Authorized to operate in Connecticut, which are also accredited by a recognized entity of the United States Department of Education. These institutions can apply for approval from the Office of Higher Education to join enabling them to enroll students from SARA states without needing separate approval from those states.
To apply for participation institutions must complete an application form. Submit it along with the necessary fee to the Office of Higher Education. Additionally a separate fee should be paid directly to the National Council, for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.
The fees for Connecticut higher education institutions will be determined based on the number of full time students enrolled;
1 – 2,499; $3,000
2,500 to 9,999; $6,000
10,000 or more; $9,000
Please note that applications will only be reviewed once the state fee has been paid. Payments should be made payable to the “Treasurer, State of Connecticut.” Approval to participate in SARA is valid for one year. Must be renewed annually with the Office of Higher Education. Failure to comply with the terms in the application may result in termination of an institutions participation in SARA.
Before your initial approval expires you will receive a prompt from the National Council to renew your participation. Renewal applications can be found on the website (provided below) and must be submitted to the Office of Higher Education along with the appropriate annual fee mentioned above. The renewal process follows a procedure as initial approval – after review and approval by the Office of Higher Education you will receive notification and an invoice from the National Council. Your renewal is considered complete upon receiving notification, from the National Council that your institution has been approved.
NC SARA Applications are processed through our Veoci system.