Written Student Complaints

NC State is committed to excellence in teaching, promoting high levels of student achievement, providing outstanding academic support services, and complying with the law and our own policies and procedures.

The University has designated employees and resources to help maintain our professional standards across campus and to provide appropriate responses to our students’ complaints and concerns. By selecting a category below, you can access specific reporting tools, which will bring your complaint or concern to the appropriate individual(s) or office(s) for resolution. 

These reporting resources are not intended to replace regular channels of professional communication, and students must first approach appropriate NC State administrators, faculty and staff regarding their concern before submitting a formal written complaint. Our personnel will work to resolve the issues quickly and efficiently and without the need for a formal process. Except for cases involving discrimination, harassment or retaliation, students are required to attempt resolution of the issue informally before they may submit a Written Student Complaint. For complaints about course grades, students must first seek resolution with the instructor who issued the grade for the course at issue. For complaints about academic performance or advisors/advising committees, students must first consult with the chair of the advisory committee. For all other complaints, students should first seek resolution of the dispute with the person about whom the student is complaining or his/her supervisor.

Informal resolution is not required for cases involving discrimination, harassment or retaliation. NC State encourages all members of the University community to report incidents of discrimination or harassment to the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. More information about reporting harassment and discrimination can be found on the Safe at NC State website.

If you are not able to resolve your concern through informal channels, we will address Written Student Complaints in a fair, professional and timely manner and in accordance with established procedures. NC State University Regulation 11.35.04 Written Student Complaints sets forth the general procedure for resolving Written Student Complaints. Depending upon the nature of the complaint, other University procedural rules (such as the REG 04.25.02 Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Complaint Procedure, RUL 11.36.01 Procedure for Addressing Academic Written Student Complaints of Undergraduate Students or RUL 11.36.02 Procedure for Addressing Academic Written Student Complaints of Graduate Students) may also govern the resolution of particular disputes.

Complaint Categories

If you would like to submit a Written Student Complaint, please choose the category below which best describes your complaint and follow the referenced procedures.

Academic Complaints

Use the Written Student Complaint Form to appeal a final course grade and/or submit a complaint about any course or academic matter. The procedures for resolving academic complaints are contained in RUL 11.36.01 Procedure for Addressing Academic Written Student Complaints of Undergraduate Students and RUL 11.36.02 Procedure for Addressing Academic Written Student Complaints of Graduate Students.

Complaints Regarding Discrimination or Harassment 

Use the Complaint Form for Discrimination, Harassment, Title IX and Retaliation to report concerns regarding discrimination, harassment, retaliation, sexual harassment, sexual violence, interpersonal violence including domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and concerns related to pregnancy discrimination. The procedures for resolving a discrimination or harassment claim are contained in REG 04.25.02 Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Complaint Procedure.

FERPA Complaints

Students who believe their rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act or NC State’s related REG 11.00.01, may use the Written Student Complaint Form to submit a complaint. The procedures for resolving FERPA complaints are contained in REG 11.00.01 Family Educational Rights and Privacy.

SARA Complaints

Use the Written Student Complaint Form to submit a complaint about any consumer protection issues arising under the State Authorization and Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). The procedures for resolving SARA complaints are described on NC State’s Online and Distance Education website.

Appeals of Student Conduct Findings and Sanctions 

The procedure for appealing findings or sanctions stemming from a student conduct matter can be found in REG 11.35.02 Student Disciplinary Procedures.

Appeals of University Housing Disciplinary Procedures 

The procedure for appealing findings or sanctions stemming from a University Housing Disciplinary matter  can be found in RUL 11.31.01 University Housing Disciplinary Procedures.

Appeals of Reduction, Revocation, or Non-Renewal of Athletically-Related Financial Aid

The procedure for appealing a decision to reduce, revoke or not renew any athletically-related financial aid can be found in REG 09.00.01 Reduction, Revocation, or Non-Renewal of Athletically-Related Financial Aid.

Non-Academic or Other Miscellaneous Complaints 

For complaints that do not fall into the above-listed categories, the following procedure, described in more detail in REG 11.35.04 Written Student Complaints, should be followed:

  1. First, please attempt to resolve the matter directly with the person against whom the complaint is directed or that person’s direct supervisor.
  2. If a resolution is not reached, please submit a Written Student Complaint Form providing a summary of your complaint and identifying the NC State employee(s) or Functional Area(s) about whom your complaint is directed. 
  3. Once the Written Student Complaint is submitted, the complaint will be reviewed and assigned to the appropriate Functional Area(s) for response. A representative from the Functional Area will review the complaint, determine the appropriate course of action, and timely respond to you.

If you have followed these processes and your complaint has still not been resolved, students may contact Student Ombuds Services for guidance about any other available options.

If all of the above steps have been followed and your complaint is still not resolved, you may submit a complaint through the University of North Carolina System Office using their student complaint policy/process and their student complaint form. For more information, see UNC’s Post-Secondary Education Complaints page. Additionally, you have the option to submit a complaint to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges using their complaint policy/process and complaint form.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is a Written Student Complaint?

A1: A Written Student Complaint is any complaint which:

  • Is submitted electronically;
  • Is submitted by an NC State student;
  • Is submitted in accordance with any of the linked processes on this website;
  • Documents the student’s concern that NC State has either violated the student’s rights under federal, state or local law or has misapplied or misinterpreted any University policy, regulation or rule; and
  • Is submitted before the expiration of any applicable deadlines.

Written Student Complaints may be academic or non-academic in nature. The person asserting the complaint must be the alleged recipient of the unfair treatment; written student complaints may not be asserted on behalf of another person.

The following items cannot be the basis for a Written Student Complaint:

  • Test grades or partial (non-final) course grades;
  • Claims which are not directly related to actions or omissions of an NC State employee or unit in their capacity with the University; or
  • Claims based on purchases or contracts. 

Q2: What is a Functional Area?

A2: A Functional Area is any NC State unit providing programs or services to NC State students, including all colleges.

Q2: What information should be included in my Written Student Complaint?

A3: The following information should be included in your Written Student Complaint:

  • Your name and contact information;
  • Confirmation that you are an NC State student;
  • The name of the person and/or University unit about which you are complaining;
  • The date of the incident;
  • The nature of your complaint (e.g., academic or non-academic complaint, SARA complaint);
  • A concise summary of your complaint;
  • The solution you are seeking for your complaint;
  • A certification that you have attempted to resolve the complaint through an informal resolution with the person about whom you are complaining, or if appropriate, his/her supervisor;
  • A certification that you are the recipient of the unfair treatment;
  • The federal, state, local law or NC State policy, regulation or rule you are asserting that NC State violated; and
  • Any relevant documents supporting your complaint.

Q4: How soon can I expect to hear from someone about my complaint?

A4: NC State endeavors to respond quickly to all complaints received. In general, if you include your contact information on your Written Student Complaint, you can expect contact from a University representative within 10 days from receipt of the Written Student Complaint. In many cases, you will hear from a representative more quickly.

Q5: Are there resources available to help me resolve my concern before filing a Written Student Complaint?

A5: Yes, NC State has a Student Ombuds Service, which is an independent, impartial, informal and confidential office offering assistance to students in conflict management, prevention and resolution. Student Ombuds Services advocates for fair processes and empowers students to successfully navigate NC State to address challenges and identify resources. You can email the Student Ombuds directly at student-ombuds@ncsu.edu or call 919.513.3401 to schedule an appointment.

Q6: Who do I contact if I have questions about filing a Written Student Complaint?

A6: Because it is sometimes confusing as to which of the routes listed should be followed, students may contact the Written Student Complaints Coordinator Justine Hollingshead (jrhollin@ncsu.edu or 919.515.2446) for additional information about the process or the Written Student Complaints form.