Distance Education Programs: Resolving Complaints

Only those complaints resulting from distance education programs and courses offered by Manhattan College to students in states other than New York are covered by this process. Such complaints may concern, among other things, allegations of dishonest or fraudulent activity, the provision of false or misleading information, grades or student conduct.

The initial responsibility for the investigation and resolution of complaints resides with the College. Any further consideration and resolution, if necessary, is the responsibility of the New York State Department of Education (NYSED a/k/a the SARA portal entity). NYSED is responsible for staffing the investigation and resolution of complaints that are not resolved by the College.

Complaints against the College which is operating under the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) go first through the College’s own procedures for resolution of grievances as outlined in the College Catalog, the Manhattan College Community Standards and Student Code of Conduct or other program guidelines or course syllabi. Complaints regarding student grades or student conduct violations are governed entirely by College policy and the laws of New York State.

If a person bringing a complaint is not satisfied with the outcome of the College process for handling complaints, the complaint (except for complaints about grades or student conduct violations) may be appealed, within two years of the incident about which the complaint is made, to the New York State Department of Education (NYSED). The College shall notify NYSED of receipt of that appealed complaint. The resolution of the complaint by NYSED, through its SARA complaint resolution process, will generally be final (see exceptions below).

While final resolution of complaints resides in certain cases with the College (i.e. complaints about grades or student conduct violations), or more generally with NYSED (for all other complaints), the New England Board of Higher Education (the regional compact(s) administering SARA) may consider a disputed complaint as a “case file” if concerns are raised against a participating state with regard to whether that state is abiding by SARA Policies and Standards. Similarly, a complaint “case file” may also be reviewed by NC-SARA in considering whether a regional compact is ensuring that its member states are abiding by the SARA standards required for their participation in the agreement.

Additionally, while, subject to the above, final resolution of the complaint rests with NYSED, the portal entity in the complainant’s location state may assist as needed. The final disposition of a complaint resolved by NYSED shall be communicated to the portal entity in the state where the student lived at the time of the incident leading to the complaint, if known to NYSED.

Questions concerning this process may be addressed to the Office of the Provost.