Student Complaint Resolution
Misericordia University participates in Federal student aid programs that are authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. A participating institution must be legally authorized to operate with the State in which it is located. Title 34 CFR§600.9 requires States to have a “process to review and appropriately act on complaints concerning the institution including enforcing applicable State laws.” Title 34 CFR§668.43(b) requires that institutions: “make available for review to any enrolled or prospective student upon request, a copy of the documents describing the institution’s accreditation and its State, Federal, or tribal approval or licensing. The institution must also provide its students or prospective students with contact information for filing complaints with its accreditor and with its State approval or licensing entity and any other relevant State official or agency that would appropriately handle a student’s complaint.”
To comply with this regulation, Misericordia University provides the following information to its prospective and current students.
Misericordia University makes every effort to resolve student complaints internally, using policies and procedures outlines in the current University Catalog or Student Handbook. The institutional complaint process for distance learning students is the same for all students regardless of physical location. It is expected that students will fully utilize any and all such administrative procedures to address concerns and/or complaints in as timely a manner as possible. For procedures regarding:
- Academic Grade Appeal: refer to the Undergraduate Academic Policies and Procedures and Graduate Academics for student grievance procedures in the University Catalog
- Academic Honesty Violations: refer to the Student Handbook (PDF download)
- Non-Academic Complaints: refers to incidents of unprofessional behavior and other complaints that are not of an academic grade concern. Contact the Office of Community Standards
- Criminal Activity: complaints involving matters of a criminal nature should be directed to Campus Safety at 570-674-6300.
The following outlines the student complaint resolution process if resolution through Misericordia University processes has not been reached:
- Student residing in Pennsylvania: In the unlikely event that an issue cannot be resolved through the Misericordia University institutional complaint process, student residing in Pennsylvania should contact the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the applicable agency for oversight in resolving complaints.
- Students residing outside of Pennsylvania: Misericordia University is approved to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) which regulates the manner in which participating institutions may offer distance learning education to students who reside in other States. If a student has a complaint that involves distance learning education offered under the terms and conditions of SARA, the student must file a complaint with the institution first to seek resolution. Complaints regarding student grades or student conduct violations are governed entirely by institutional policy and the laws of the SARA institution’s home State. If a person bringing a complaint is not satisfied with the outcome of the University’s internal process for resolving 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 institution’s SARA portal entity Pennsylvania Department of Education. For purposes of this process, a complaint shall be defined as a formal assertion in writing that the terms of this agreement, or of laws, standards or regulations incorporated by the SARA Policies and Standards have been violated by the institution operating under the terms of SARA.
For a list of SARA member States, visit the NC-SARA website Students residing in non-SARA States should consult the list of non-SARA State agencies for further instruction for filing a complaint in their respective State of residence. Click here for contact information.
Further information on SARA and the SARA complaint process:
Unresolved complaints may be filed with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Misericordia University’s regional accrediting agency, once all other avenues provided by Misericordia University, the Pennsylvania Department of Education or NC-SARA have been exhausted. The link above provides information on the Commission’s complaint policies and procedures.
Middle States Commission on Higher Education
3624 Market Street, 2nd floor West
Philadelphia, PA 19104