Student Complaint Information and Procedures - Distance (Online) Education

Students Residing Outside New York State and Taking Distance Education Courses

Suffolk County Community College is a National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) participating institution. SARA is a voluntary agreement among its member states that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering postsecondary distance education courses and programs. As a SARA participating institution, the College can enroll residents of other SARA participating states in its distance education courses and programs.

Programs Leading to Professional Licensure

SARA does not affect state professional licensing requirements. Please note that certain programs leading to professional licensure may be subject to additional state professional licensing requirements, which are not covered by SARA. The College does not currently offer any fully online programs leadings to professional licensure. Students and prospective students who will be transferring to or entering a program leading to professional licensure after completing a program at the College are encouraged to consult with their desired institution and/or professional licensing body to ensure that any courses taken in an online program at the College will be accepted.

Complaint Resolution Procedures

Federal regulations require institutions delivering distance education courses to provide students and prospective students with contact information for filing complaints with the state approval or licensing entity in the student's state of residency and any other relevant state official or agency that would appropriately handle a student complaint.

SARA requires the College to provide all students taking courses under SARA's provisions with information on the College's and SARA's complaint resolution policies and procedures. SARA applies solely to distance education activity conducted across state lines. It does not apply to distance education activities inside New York State. Only those complaints resulting from distance education courses or activities offered to students in other SARA states come under the terms of SARA. Complaints from in-state students are to be resolved under the College's provisions, not those of SARA.

Complaints against the College resulting from distance education courses or activities offered to students in other SARA states should first go through the College's procedures for resolution of grievances. Please refer to the College's Student Complaint Resolution Policy for more information on the College's student complaint process. That policy outlines how students can have their complaints evaluated, referred, and appropriately addressed.

If a person bringing a complaint resulting from distance education courses or activities offered to students in other SARA states 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 through SARA's provisions, within two years of the incident about which the complaint is made. Please refer to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO)'s list of student complaint information by state and agency for contact information.

Complaints regarding student grades or student conduct violations are governed entirely by College policy and the laws of the State of New York. Please refer to the College's Course Grade Grievance Procedure and the College's Student Code of Conduct for more information.

For more information on filing complaints with the State University of New York (SUNY) or the New York State Education Department (NYSED), please refer to the NYSED Office of College and University Evaluation's Student/Public Resources webpage.