Student Grievance and Complaint Policy
About Our Student Grievance and Complaint Policy
Our goal is to treat everyone the way we like to be treated, and we’re very proud of our high student satisfaction ratings (check out our current rates online here).
ACHS takes complaints very seriously, and is committed to providing the best possible conditions for its students. Part of this commitment is encouraging an open and frank atmosphere in which any problem, complaint, suggestion, or question receives a timely response from ACHS supervisors and management. ACHS strives to ensure fair and honest treatment of all students. Students, employees, and faculty are expected to treat each other with mutual respect. Students are encouraged to offer positive and constructive criticism.
First Point of Contact
Don’t hesitate to call or email your Student Services Advisor (also called your Academic Advisor) if you have questions or concerns. If necessary, he or she can connect you with the best person to discuss your issue, or present any special requests you may have to our Academic Standards Committee.
Clarification in Application of Academic Policies
The Academic Standards Committee considers student petitions for clarification of academic policies to individual circumstances. Please keep in mind that as an accredited College, we are required to apply institutional rules consistently and fairly, and our records are audited annually. We’re not trying to be difficult when we ask for documentation to put before our Academic Standards Committee – we need it to help you and ensure our continued compliance. You can submit a petition to the Academic Standards Committee online here.
To provide any kind of feedback, including constructive feedback on ways we can continue to improve, please complete the ACHS Student Feedback Form available online here. This feedback will be acknowledged within 30 days and investigated. Investigation may take several months and the conclusion will be sent to the student by email or mail. You can also send an email to email@example.com if you prefer.
Policy Against Retaliation
ACHS values its reputation for integrity and excellence and ensures that students may safely report issues and or violations of all applicable state or federal laws, rules or regulations without fear of retaliation. As such, ACHS encourages students who identify issues or evidence of violations to report them to ACHS as soon as possible so we may identify and remedy the issue. A student who files a report in good faith can do so without fear of retaliation. A student filing a report will still be subject to all applicable ACHS policies, procedures and rules and will not be treated differently from any other student.
Any employee who is found to have retaliated against a student for filing a report in good faith will be subject to disciplinary action. If a student feels they have been retaliated against, the student should lodge a formal complaint with the Chief Compliance Officer (Chief Academic Officer) by completing the form below and e-mailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Examples of retaliation include: suspension, expulsion, grade reduction, denial of academic or employment opportunities, denial of access to transcripts, harassment, or other adverse action that substantially disadvantages a student in academic employment or extracurricular activities.
Informal Problem Resolution
Students are encouraged to resolve most problems and concerns informally through established policies and student support services at ACHS.
- First point of contact: Your assigned student services advisor or email@example.com
- Academic concerns including issues with grades: Chief Academic Officer firstname.lastname@example.org
- Requests for clarification of application of academic policies: email@example.com to be forwarded to the Academic Standards Committee
- Financial Aid assistance – Director of Financial Aid at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Technology Support – Student Services at email@example.com
- Student Advising – Director of Academic Services at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes, unusual issues or incidents occur that usual policy does not adequately cover. In those cases- students are encouraged to report the issue in hope of a resolution.
Grievance or Problem Resolution
ACHS is committed to providing the best possible conditions for its students.
If a student disagrees with the established rules of conduct, policies, or practices, they can express their concern through this resolution procedure. No student will be penalized, formally or informally, for voicing a complaint with ACHS in a reasonable, business-like manner, or for using the problem resolution procedure.
ACHS operates in a highly-regulated field of accredited higher education. Many policies are dictated by State and Federal agencies and/or Accreditation Standards. However, while we cannot bend the rules, we can provide clarification of the application of academic standards in particular circumstances or at least explain to you why we cannot.
We understand that not every problem can be resolved to everyone’s total satisfaction, but only through understanding and discussion of mutual problems can students, instructors and ACHS staff develop confidence in each other. This confidence is important to the operation of an efficient and harmonious learning environment.
If a situation occurs where a student believes that a policy or a decision affecting them is unjust or inequitable, they are encouraged to make use of the following steps. The student may discontinue the procedure at any step.
STEP 1: Student encounters issue:
- Academic Issue: Student presents problem to Professor. If Professor is unavailable or the student feels believes it would be inappropriate to contact that person, the student may present problem to the Chief Academic Officer (email email@example.com)
- Administrative Issue: Student presents problem to any Director, Dean, Chief Academic Officer, or President.
STEP 2: ACHS Faculty member or Staff notes feedback
ACHS Faculty member or Staff notes feedback in log, consults policies and applicable supervisors, then responds to problem as soon as possible. The discussion is documented in the student’s academic file along with the solution reached.
STEP 3: If the problem remains unresolved
If the problem remains unresolved to the student’s satisfaction, he or she may present the problem to the ACHS President (email firstname.lastname@example.org). The President counsels and advises student, assists in putting problem in writing, visits with student’s Professor(s) (if necessary), and crafts a solution that is mutually acceptable.
Formal Written Complaint to ACHS
If the problem remains unresolved to the student’s satisfaction after completing the ACHS Grievance Procedure above, and the student feels the issue rises to the level of a formal complaint, they may file a formal written complaint using the ACHS Complaint Form form [available to download here]. Formal written complaints are taken very seriously and ACHS is required to report all formal written complaints to the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
Formal Complaints are acknowledged within 30 days and investigated. Investigation may take 30-90 days. The conclusion to the investigation and complaint response is mailed to the student and to DEAC.
Formal Written Complaint Procedure
- After receipt of the complaint, the President, Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), or Designee will send a letter or e-mail to the complainant acknowledging receipt of the complaint.
- ACHS faculty and/or staff will conduct an initial review of the complaint to determine whether the complaint sets forth information or allegations that reasonably suggest that ACHS has not complied with applicable standards, policies, and procedures. If additional information or clarification is required, the President, CCO, or Designee will send a request to the complainant. If the requested information is not received within 15 days, the complaint may be considered abandoned and may not be investigated by ACHS.
- If the President, CCO, or Designee determines after the initial review of the complaint that the information or allegations do not reasonably demonstrate that an institution is out of compliance with applicable standards, policies, or procedures, the complaint may be considered closed and not investigated by ACHS.
- If the President, CCO, or Designee determines after the initial review of the complaint that the information or allegations reasonably suggest that an institution may not be in compliance with applicable standards, policies and procedures, the President or Chief Compliance Officer will notify all staff and faculty that a complaint has been filed and solicit responses from applicable staff and faculty. The notice will summarize the allegations, identify the applicable standards, policies, or procedures that were allegedly violated, and provide a copy of the original complaint to the institution. It will also remind recipients of ACHS’s non-retaliation policy. The relevant parties will be given 15 days to provide a response to the President, CCO, or Designee.
- The President, CCO, or Designee will review the complaint and the responses for compliance with the applicable standards, policies, and procedures.
- If the President, CCO, or Designee concludes that the allegations do not establish there has been a violation of standards, policies, or procedure, he/she will consider the complaint closed, and no further action is required.
- If the President, CCO, or Designee concludes that the allegations may establish a violation of DEAC standards, policies and/or procedures, he/she may take whatever action is necessary to bring the institution back into compliance within 30 days.
- The President, CCO, or Designee will notify the Complainant and the DEAC of the formal complaint and resolution as soon as practicable.
Title IX Grievance (i.e., gender discrimination or sexual harassment)
It is imperative that all Title IX grievances are immediately referred to ACHS’s Title IX coordinator. The name, title, email address and direct line of ACHS’s Title IX coordinator can be found on the ACHS Reporting Complaint Form. The Title IX coordinator is responsible for managing all Title IX complaints.
Drug & Alcohol Grievance (relating to a student)
Grievances of this nature should be referred to the President, CCO, using the ACHS Student Feedback Form within 24 hours.
Drug & Alcohol Complaint (relating to a staff or faculty member)
Grievances of this nature should be referred to the President, CCO, or Human Resources in person or via email within 24 hours.
External Complaint to the DEAC or State Agencies
If the complaint remains unresolved to the student’s satisfaction, they may file a formal complaint with DEAC or their appropriate State agency (contact information available online here).
Students may also contact the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, 1101 17th Street NW, Suite 808, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 234-5100, http://www.deac.org.
Disposition of Specific Types of Complaints
A student may submit a specific type of complaint to the appropriate agency or organization as described below:
Complaints concerning Oregon standards or school compliance may be directed to:
Students should attempt to resolve any grievances they may have with their school first. Should attempts to resolve these problems with appropriate school officials fail, or should the student be dissatisfied with the final outcome of the college complaint process, then the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC), can respond to a formal complaint. Students may contact the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, 3225 25th St. SE, Salem, OR 97302 or by sending an email to email@example.com. Students may also access our complaints web page.
A complaint concerning compliance with the standards of accreditation shall be submitted to:
A complaint concerning discrimination can be submitted to:
Office for Civil Rights, Philadelphia Office
U.S. Department of Education
100 Penn Square East, Suite 515
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323
A complaint concerning US Department of Education Program Funds can be submitted to:
The Inspector General’s Hotline is maintained to facilitate the reporting of allegations involving fraud, waste, abuse, misuse or mismanagement of US Department of Education (ED) program funds. This could include complaints concerning employees, fund recipients, educational institutions, contractors, collection agencies, or lending institutions.
Students residing outside the State of Oregon may file a complaint with their state office:
View a list of state office contacts online here.
Last updated 1/17/23.