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Model Complaint Process for TICUA Member Institutions

Procedures to Follow In response to U.S. Department of Education 10.29.10 Final Rules

In accordance with the Department of Education’s final regulations published on October 29, 2010, the following is the complaint process related to receiving and resolving complaints for TICUA member institutions that are legally authorized to provide post-secondary education in Tennessee and are exempt from regulation by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.


  • All complaints should first be routed through the appropriate complaint/appeals process as outlined by each university.  
  • Depending on the nature of complaint, the matter should be brought to the attention of the office directly responsible for that area of the college or university.  
  • Complaints and appeals should be well-documented and move through the appropriate campus supervisory structure prior to appealing to any off-campus authority.


Off Campus Authorities

  • Complaints relating to quality of education or accreditation requirements shall be referred to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), (http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/081705/complaintpolicy.pdf);
  • Complaints related to the application of state laws or rules related to approval to operate or licensure of a particular professional program within a postsecondary institution shall be referred to the appropriate  State Board (i.e., State Boards of Health, State Board of Education, and so on) within the Tennessee State Government and shall be reviewed and handled by that licensing board (http://www.tn.gov, and then search for the appropriate division);
  • For students attending programs in Tennessee, complaints related to state consumer protection laws (e.g., laws related to fraud or false advertising) shall be referred to the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs and shall be reviewed and handled by that unit (http://www.tn.gov/consumer/     TN Attorney General Letter on Campus Complaints June 2017). 
  • For out-of-state students using distance learning programs, complaints related to consumer protection laws shall be filed using the Tennessee NC-SARA Portal form:  http://tn.gov/assets/entities/thec/attachments/ComplaintForm.pdf