Grievance Process for Online Students
Muhlenberg College is an institutional participant in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), a voluntary agreement to state oversight of postsecondary distance education that makes it easier to provide online and distance options to students in other states.
We are committed to ensuring that student grievances, complaints and concerns are resolved in a timely and fair manner. Students are advised to begin the complaint process at the institutional level. Information on policies and grievance resolution is available on the College website.
- For details about student rights and responsibilities regarding the Academic Integrity Code, to which all incoming students are required to subscribe, and which governs all College activities, including all methods for evaluating academic achievement, written or oral, see https://www.muhlenberg.edu/offices/deanofacademiclife/integrity/.
- The Office of Equity and Title IX ensures that all Muhlenberg community members can equally participate in Muhlenberg’s educational and employment opportunities regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status or any other identity as protected by applicable laws. For information on reporting incidents of discrimination or harassment, see https://www.muhlenberg.edu/equityandtitleix/.
- Information regarding access to educational records and student information release policies governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is available at https://www.muhlenberg.edu/offices/registrar/ferpa/annualnotification/.
- Any Muhlenberg College student who believes that they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability or has been denied access or accommodations required by law has the right to invoke the grievance procedure. The Grievance Policy for Students with Disabilities can be found at https://www.muhlenberg.edu/offices/disabilities/grievanceprocedures/.
- For information relating specifically to Graduate Studies, including academic policies, grading, and readmission appeals, review the catalog.
- For a summary of other consumer information and reference to additional details and reports, see https://www.muhlenberg.edu/consumer-information/.
SARA Student Complaint Process
Student complaints relating to consumer protection laws offered under the terms and conditions of the SARA must first be filed with the institution to seek resolution.
SARA consumer protection provisions require the Institution’s Home State, through its SARA Portal Entity, to investigate and resolve allegations of dishonest or fraudulent activity by the state’s SARA-participating institutions, including the provision of false or misleading information.
The student should begin the complaint process with the institution and if the resolution is not found, the student would contact the Institution’s Home State SARA Portal Entity. The SARA State Portal Entities are listed at https://www.nc-sara.org/state-portal-entity-contacts.
For general complaints, the student shall complete the following form: https://forms.gle/SDB5sBFohLiRRJU4A.
- Before filing a formal complaint, the individual should reach out to staff or faculty with direct supervision of the office or program to informally resolve the complaint.
- Provide a descriptive statement of circumstances that provide the basis of the complaint.
- Complaints concerning the college should explain the reason for the complaint. Examples of complaints could be related to a particular academic course or policy or the academic calendar. This could also be related to a service provided to students at the College, for example, related to technology, academic support services, health or counseling services or billing.
- Description of attempts to resolve the complaint on an informal basis and the results of these attempts.
- Copy of any supporting documentation.
- You may attach supporting documentation to this complaint including emails, letters of support or other relevant documentation.
- Student identity includes their Muhlenberg student ID number and contact information including phone number. Anonymous complaints are not accepted or acted upon.
- For traditional undergraduate full-time day students attending Muhlenberg College, the initial complaint will be reviewed by the Dean of Academic Life. In consultation with the Petition Subcommittee of the Curricular Committee, the Dean will review the complaint and make a determination regarding the outcome. If the complaint is not resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant, they may appeal to the Provost. Resolutions and findings will be shared with the complainant in writing.
- For Continuing Studies students attending Muhlenberg College either through the Summer Study, Accelerated Degree Program or through the traditional liberal arts program, the initial complaint will be reviewed by the Dean of Continuing Studies. The Dean will review the complaint and depending on his/her findings will assemble an appropriate committee of faculty/staff/department chair to review the documentation. Resolutions and findings will be shared with the student in writing.
- For Graduate Studies students attending Muhlenberg College, the initial complaint will be reviewed by the Dean of Graduate Studies. The Dean will review the complaint and depending on his/her findings will assemble an appropriate committee of faculty/staff/department chair to review the documentation. Resolutions and findings will be shared with the student in writing.
- Request an appeal:
- Any further appeal will be escalated to the Provost of Muhlenberg College within 7 days of receiving a response from the respective Dean. The Provost will review the complaint and consult with the Dean/faculty/staff/department chair to review the case. Resolutions and findings will be shared with the student in writing.
- If the resolution is not found the student would contact the Institution’s Home State SARA Portal Entity. (See reference and link provided above.)
Additional information can be found in Section 4 of the SARA Policy Manual.
Federal regulations further require Muhlenberg College to provide prospective and current students enrolled in online programs with contact information for filing complaints with the appropriate agency in the state where the student resides. In the unlikely event that the issue is not resolved internally at Muhlenberg College, students from any state enrolled in online programs at Muhlenberg may file complaints with the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
PA Department of Education Complaint Form