Overview: State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement
In compliance with U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) rules, an institution offering distance education must provide enrolled and prospective students with contact information for filing complaints with its accrediting agency and with the appropriate state agency for handling complaints in the student's state. To this end, SCCOnline would like to provide you with information on filing complaints with Spartanburg Community College, our accrediting agency, and with the appropriate state agencies.
SARA is an agreement among member states, districts and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs.
Participation is voluntary for institutions and open to all postsecondary institutions (for-profit and non-for-profit private and public) that are accredited by an association recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Participation in SARA allows institutions to offer distance education courses and programs to students in other SARA participating states without seeking state authorization.
For more information on SARA, including an up-to-date list of SARA States and Institutions, visit NC-SARA.org.
SCC Complaint Process
SCC seeks to maintain the highest standards of integrity and fairness in its relationships with students. A student who believes that specific actions, practices, or decisions on academic or non-academic matters have been made or carried out in an arbitrary, discriminatory, inequitable, or inconsistent manner can initiate a complaint. Students have access to procedures for resolving complaints following the SC Technical College System Procedure 3-2-106.3. Information about the various types of complaints, along with the steps and form for filing a grievance, can be found in the SCC Student Handbook.
Accrediting Agency Complaint Process
SCC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The Commission expects individuals to attempt to resolve issues through all means available to the complainant, including following the institution's own published grievance procedures, before submitting a complaint to the Commission. Therefore, the Commission's usual practice is not to consider a complaint that is currently in administrative proceedings, including institutions' proceedings, or in litigation.
In order to be considered, formal complaints must be submitted in writing using the Commission's Complaint against Institutions: Information Sheet and Form.
South Carolina Colleges Complaint Process
All students in South Carolina may file complaints with the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. Like college accrediting agencies the SC Commission on Higher Education expects individuals to first attempt to resolve issues through the college's internal processes. Complaints that have not yet been addressed internally are often sent back to the individual college where the student is enrolled.
In order for complaints to be considered by the SC Commission on Higher Education, a formal complaint must be submitted in writing using the Commission's Complaint Policy and Form.
Complaint Process for Out-of-State Students
Out-of-state distance learning students who would like to file a complaint with a state agency may do so with the state in which they reside. Click on your state below to access the complaint form provided by the state agency responsible for complaints regarding out-of-state distance education programs.