Formal Complaint Policy and Process
Spring Arbor University strives to provide a quality Christian education in a vibrant and safe environment. At times, an individual may feel personally dissatisfied with an interaction with a SAU employee, policy or process. The Spring Arbor University Complaint Policy is available to individuals who request to have a concern resolved that is not covered by existing policies, such as the grade appeal policy, residency policy, student accountability policies, etc. When an individual has a complaint, resolution should be sought through informal communication (face to face, email or phone) with the appropriate staff member, instructor, dean, and/or administrative officer who may be able to help rectify or clarify the situation before an official complaint is initiated. If the issue is unresolved through informal communication, or if the complainant is not satisfied or not willing to address the issue with the individual involved or his/her supervisors, a formal process may be initiated. All formal complaints must be in writing using the official Spring Arbor University Complaint Form, which is available on arbor.edu/resolution and in the Office of Student Development and Success.
Formal Complaints should be filed during the semester of occurrence but no later than 30 days after the incident or after the end of the semester. Process and procedures for the complaint resolution are available on arbor.edu/resolution, the Office of Student Success and Calling, and in all student handbooks.
Formal Complaint Resolution Process:
· Formal complaints should be completed using the formal complaint form. The form will be submitted to the Office of the Vice President for Student Development and Success. Additional letters or documentation may be submitted in addition to the form.
· The complaint should provide sufficient detail on the issue of concern and of the efforts at attempted resolution. If appropriate efforts have not been attempted, the issue may be returned to the individual with insights on how to make effective use of the informal processes available.
· The Office of Student Development and Success will determine the appropriate personnel needed to address the complaint or follow up to request additional information.
· The individual filing the complaint will be contacted within five business days of filing the complaint either to communicate a resolution or to request more information and inform on the process.
· Unless the issue demands significant exploration or investigation, a written response should be communicated to individual within ten business days.
· As stated in the policy above, some issues are covered under existing policies, and the individual could be referred to those policies and the personnel associated with those areas.
Online & Distance Education
Spring Arbor University is an institution operating under the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) and offers online courses and degree programs in all states that are members of this agreement. SAU also operates in the three states that are not members of SARA.
In accordance with regulations issued by the US Department of Education, institutions offering distance education must provide enrolled students with contact information for filing complaints.
State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) States
Participating SARA states as of January 1, 2017: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
States that are not yet members of SARA are: California, Florida, and Massachusetts.
How to File a Complaint
Out-of-state online students enrolled in Spring Arbor University online courses or degree programs should attempt to resolve any issues or complaints internally using the process outlined above. If after following the University complaint process, the issue or complaint is not reasonably resolved, it is appropriate to file a complaint concerning SAU with the state agency for handling complaints in the student’s state (MI LARA for all SARA states, or direct links provided for California, Florida, or Massachusetts). Complaints may also be directed to the accrediting agency, Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)
If a student residing in a SARA state is not satisfied with the institutional resolution of a complaint related to an SAU course the institutional decision may be appealed to:
Agencies for Non-SARA States
Students who reside in California, Florida, or Massachusetts and wish to file a complaint may do so using the appropriate link:
California – California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education; 916.431.6959
Florida – Florida Department of Education; 850.245.0407
Massachusetts – Massachusetts Department of Higher Education; 617.994.6950
The Higher Learning Commission accredits Spring Arbor University. Students may directly register complaints with HLC by e-mailing email@example.com