The Program Integrity Rule of the Higher Education Act (HEA) requires, among other things, that each college or university authorized to offer post-secondary education in one or more States ensure access to a complaint process that will permit student consumers to address the following:
- Alleged violations of State consumer protection laws that include but are not limited to fraud and false advertising;
- Alleged violations of State laws or rules relating to the licensure of post-secondary institutions; and
- Complaints relating to the quality of education or other State or accreditation requirements.
Valley City State University, as an institution authorized by the North Dakota University System to provide post-secondary education, is committed to full compliance with the Program Integrity Rule, and provides this complaint process for all current and/or prospective students:
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Valley City State University. You may review the College's accreditation documents in the Directory of HLC Institutions.
Valley City State University is committed to providing a high quality educational experience, fully supported by a range of academic and administrative services. It is our intention to meet the student's educational goals through a positive and rigorous academic experience. In an instance where the student has a concern, it may be voiced through the normal administrative procedures which include meeting with his or her academic adviser, faculty member, or the Director of Student Academic Services. If a student decides to pursue a formal complaint, the process is outlined below. For more information see page 43 of the Student Handbook.
Definition of Student Grievance
The term "student grievance" is defined as: A statement lodged by a student expressing a complaint, resentment, or accusation about a university circumstance which is thought by the student to be unfair or inappropriate.
Academic issues subject to grievance procedures differ from those subject to the academic petition process. The petition process includes a request by the student to have a university or program requirement waived or modified. It may include the right to appeal under circumstances outlined in the petition process. The substance of petitions and appeals is under the jurisdiction of individual programs or designated university committees. If a student thinks that the petition has not been handled fairly, the student may initiate a grievance based upon unfair treatment, but not upon the substantive issue.
The procedures of the Grievance Process are to begin with discussion between the student and the faculty member, Committee, or administrator with whom the student has a grievance. A written statement, by the student, regarding the grievance should accompany the discussion. The Director of Student Academic Services will accompany the student through the process. (An expiration period of one calendar year from the incident will apply to this policy.)
- If the student has a grievance with a faculty member, and the student does not resolve the grievance with the faculty member to the student's satisfaction with discussion between the two parties, the student will advance the grievance to the department chair. The department chair will arrange a meeting within ten class days of the student's request. Notification of the meeting will be sent to all parties involved.
- If there is no department chair; or, if the faculty member is the department chair and the grievance Is not resolved to the student's satisfaction, the student will advance the grievance to the division chair of the academic division involved. The division chair will arrange a meeting within ten days of the student's request. Notification of the meeting will be sent to all parties involved.
- If the grievance is not resolved to the student's satisfaction at the division chair level; or, if the faculty member is the division chair, and the grievance is not resolved to the student's satisfaction, the grievance will be referred to the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA). The Vice President for Academic Affairs will arrange a meeting within ten class days of the student's request. Notification of the meeting will be sent to all parties involved.
- If the grievance is with a committee or administrator and the grievance cannot be resolved to the student's satisfaction at that level, the grievance will be referred directly to the Student Grievance Committee. (Section C.) The Student Grievance Committee will have a meeting within ten class days of the student's request. Notification of the meeting will be sent to all parties involved.
Distance Learning Complaint Process for Out of State Students
Students taking online classes at Valley City State University who are from out of state should attempt to resolve any issues or complaints through the complaint process described. However, if the issue cannot be resolved internally, the student may file a complaint with his/her own state. The Student Grievance Contact Information linked below provides phone numbers, emails and/or links to individual state education agencies (Click on SHEEO Complaint Process Report).
VCSU is now a member of the national State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). The North Dakota portal agency and complaint process is available here: www.ndus.edu/system/state-authorization/
SHEEO Complaint Process Report (broken link - working on fix)
List of State Agencies >>
If a student wishes to discuss the complaint or grievance process he/she may contact: Student Academic Services (800-532-8641, extension 7207 or 701-845-7207) or Pete Smithhisler, Vice President for Student Affairs (firstname.lastname@example.org or 701-845-7300)