The U.S. Department of Education’s “Program Integrity” regulations require that each state has a student complaint procedure in order for public and private higher education institutions to be eligible for Title IV funds. GA-SARA is responsible for monitoring all written and signed student complaints against degree granting institutions authorized to operate in Georgia through SARA.
All Georgia institutions of higher education must establish, publish and adhere to a procedure for handling student grievances. It is the institution’s responsibility to respond to student complaints and grievances in accordance with the college’s student grievance policy. The complaint should be brought to the attention of the institution in an informal fashion. Many issues can be handled quickly and informally once the institution is aware of the concern or issues. If the problem cannot be resolved informally, the complainant should follow the formal complaint or grievance process of the institution. It is important to keep records and documentation that provide evidence of the problem and the complainant’s efforts to solve it through the institution’s internal process. If, after exhausting internal grievance procedures, the institution of higher education has not responded to the complainant’s satisfaction, or a satisfactory remedy has not been found, the complainant may contact GA-SARA for further investigation into the issue.
In order for GA-SARA to initiate an investigation, the following must be true:
- The student has exhausted all available grievance procedures established by the institution.
- The student did not receive a satisfactory resolution and is contacting GA-SARA as a last resort in the grievance process.
- The student has submitted the complaint electronically using the Student Complaint Form (below). The student’s complaint must contain a detailed description of the claim, including dates, times, and full names of all involved, as well as the actions taken by both the student and the school to resolve the matter.
- The student has electronically signed the form attesting to the truth and accuracy of the complaint.
- The student recognizes that GA-SARA will not investigate anonymous complaints. By signing the form, the student acknowledges that GA-SARA may share the information provided with the school or other relevant organizations, in order to help resolve the dispute. GA-SARA does not guarantee a resolution resulting from this submission or its investigation into the allegation.
- The student understands and agrees that the decision rendered by GA-SARA is final.
- Upon receiving a student complaint, GA-SARA will open an investigation if the matter being disputed falls within its jurisdiction. If preliminary findings indicate a violation of GA-SARA regulations by the institution, GA-SARA shall attempt to resolve the complaint through mediation. All parties will be notified in writing of the outcome of the investigation. If the complaint is outside of GA-SARA’s jurisdiction, it may be directed to the institution’s accrediting body, or to another agency that is authorized to address the concerns, if appropriate.
- The student may be contacted during the investigation to submit additional documented evidence of the allegations against the institution. Students should not submit original documents, as they may not be returned.
GA-SARA does not guarantee a student-acceptable remedy or resolution resulting from this submission or its investigation into the allegation. To file a formal complaint, fill out the “Student Complaint Form” in its entirety and submit it electronically to GA-SARA.