Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) participates in the National Council State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NC-SARA).
- Pertains to approval of distance education courses and programs offered across state lines by postsecondary institutions that already have degree authorization in at least one state.
- Centralizes the authorization process.
- Is intended to be consistent with federal law and there is subject to change based on federal rulemaking.
NC-SARA also provides additional resources for students who are unable to resolve complaints through the university.
Complaint Procedures for Online Students
Complaints must go through WPI’s own procedures for resolution of grievances first. The specific course of action depends on the nature of the complaint or grievance. Students should first speak with a Student Success Team Member for the particular course/program (either via telephone or email). The Student Success Team will either take the appropriate steps to assist the student or advise the student on how to proceed. Student Success team members also reach out to each individual online student by phone once per semester to offer support and guidance. Policies and procedures that may apply to a particular grievance include but are not limited to:
- Grade appeal process
- Add/drop policy
- Refund and course withdrawal policy
- Academic Integrity
- General issues not dealing with specific academic policies are handled by the Ombuds Office.
- All WPI online courses provide students with the opportunity to provide anonymous feedback on each course via mid-course and end-of-course surveys. Due to survey anonymity, this channel should be used to resolve specific individual complaints.
- Other policies and procedures are available on the Registrar’s website.
Every online student, regardless of location, is entitled to the services provided by our Online Success Team Members, including assistance with the above mentioned complaint procedures.
What to do if WPI cannot resolve your complaint
For Massachusetts Residents and Online Students in Non-SARA Member States and Territories
After you have exhausted the complaint procedures described above, if your complaint has not been resolved, you may file a consumer complaint with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO) by using the consumer complaint form. The AGO consumer complaint form should be used by students who are located in:
- Non-SARA Member States or Territories (e.g., California, Guam, etc.)
For Online Students Located in SARA Member States and Territories
After you have exhausted the complaint procedures described above, if your complaint has not been resolved, you may file a complaint with the DHE by using the SARA complaint form. The DHE SARA complaint form should be used by students who are located in SARA member states and territories. This includes all students who are located in SARA member states and territories for the purposes of completing out-of-state learning placements, such as internships, practica, clinical experiences, etc. in SARA member states and territories outside Massachusetts.
Additional information from the DHE’s SARA complaint website is below:
The SARA complaint process is as follows:
- Students must first attempt to resolve their complaint using internal administrative procedures offered by the SARA institution.
- After all administrative remedies have been exhausted with the MA-SARA institution, the student may submit a SARA Complaint via the URL below.
- The Department shall send a copy of the complaint to the institution that is the subject of the complaint;
- Within 30 days of the date that the Department sends a copy of the complaint to the institution, the institution must provide a written response to the student and the Department.
More information about DHE’s complaint processes can be found here.