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Student Complaints, Grievances, and Concerns

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania is committed to providing an educational climate that is conducive to the personal and academic development of each student. KU desires to resolve student grievances, complaints and concerns in an expeditious, fair, and amicable manner in accordance with University policies and as outlined in The Key, the Kutztown University Student Handbook.

Kutztown University suggests that before a student files a formal complaint, the procedure described below be followed.

Where do I begin to seek a solution to my problem?

If an issue arises for you, the first step in the process is that the student should first contact the faculty, administrator, or staff to try and resolve the issue in an appropriate, equitable, and respectful manner. Based on the successful conclusion of the matter on the part of both parties, no further action is warranted, and the matter is considered closed by both the student and the unit, program, department, individual or office of the university involved.

If the issue is not resolved in a mutually satisfactory manner, the meeting may be followed up with the faculty, administrator, or staff's direct supervisor.

If the issue is still not resolved in a mutually agreeable manner, then the university offers a resolution process where the student should contact the appropriate director or dean, see below.  

Important exceptions to this set of steps are in specific instances of discrimination or sexual assault/harassment. The prescribed solution as outlined in the sections on Discrimination or Sexual Assault/Harassment, below, should be followed.

To assist you in knowing what to do, the following information is provided for your use:

ACADEMIC and ADVISING (Non grades related): for incidents of unprofessional behavior and other complaints that are not of an academic grade concern, contact the academic dean of the appropriate college for assistance.

ATHLETICS: Please determine if your complaint concerns Intercollegiate Athletics (NCAA) or Recreational Sports (clubs and intramurals) and follow the appropriate link.

BILLING: If the subject matter of your complaint relates to student billing, you should forward your complaints to the Office of Student Accounts.

CAMPUS LIFE, HOUSING, & DINING: Contact KU Housing, Residence Life and Dining Services if your complaint concerns any aspect of student life, campus housing and dining.

COURSE REGISTRATION & SCHEDULES: If the subject matter of a complaint is in regards to course registration or schedules the complaint should be sent to the Registrar's Office.

DATA PRIVACY: If your complaint deals with your concerns regarding the improper collection, storage, use, access, transmission, disclosure or destruction of personally identifiable or sensitive information you should contact the Office of Information technology.

DISABILITY SERVICES: If you have a disability and are requesting reasonable accommodations in order to have equal access to fully participate in the University's programs and activities, or if you have been approved for reasonable accommodations, but feel those accommodations have not been provided appropriately, you should immediately contact the Disability Services Office.

DISCRIMINATION: If you feel that you have been treated differently, harassed, or retaliated against on the basis of your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, status as a veteran or special disabled veteran, gender identity and expression, and/or other characteristic prohibited by law, you should contact the Office of Social Equity.

DISTANCE EDUCATION: If a student has a complaint that involves distance education offered under the terms and conditions of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), please review the information regarding Distance Education Complaint Process for Out-of-State Students in the section below entitled "Students residing outside of Pennsylvania."

FINANCIAL AID: If the subject matter of your complaint relates to student financial aid, you should forward your complaints to the Financial Aid Office.  

FERPA: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) generally prohibits the improper disclosure of personally identifiable information derived from education records. If your complaint alleges improper disclosure of personally identifiable information derived from education records, forward your complaint to the Registrar's Office.

GRADES: If your complaint involves a grade appeal (generally final grades), or if you believe that your grade is due to clerical or arithmetic errors you should view the page regarding Petitions and Appeals for the Grade Appeal Policy.

HEALTH SERVICES: If the subject matter of your complaint deals with your experience with student clinical services, health insurance, or other health-related services, you should contact Health & Wellness Services.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS & SCHOLARS SERVICES: If the subject matter of your complaint deals with your experience with the advising of international students the complaint is forwarded for review to International Admissions and Services.

SEXUAL ASSAULTS/HARASSMENT: If you believe that you have experienced sexual and gender-based harassment and misconduct in any form, including, but not limited to, sexual assault, sexual violence, sexual abuse, stalking, intimate partner violence and any form of nonconsensual sexual conduct you should immediately contact Public Safety and/or the Office of Social Equity.

STUDY AWAY: If the subject matter of your complaint deals with your experience in the Study Away program, please contact International Admissions and Services.

Don't see your category listed?

Typically University departments have a supervisor and / or Director.  We recommend that you do what you can to work within the appropriate University department to get the detailed information and support that you need.  If for some reason you still need assistance or clarification, please contact the Dean of Students Office

What if a solution is still not reached?

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania desires to resolve student grievances, complaints and concerns in an expeditious, fair, and amicable manner in accordance with University policies. If the complaint cannot be resolved through University channels, the student may go to one of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania's state approval and licensing entities: Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education (email may be sent to Kathleen Howley, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs, at khowley@passhe.edu); the Pennsylvania Department of Education; or Kutztown University of Pennsylvania's accreditor, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Students residing outside of Pennsylvania:  Kutztown University is approved to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) which regulates the manner in which participating institutions may offer distance education to students who reside in other States. If a student has a complaint that involves distance education offered under the terms and conditions of SARA, the student must file a complaint with the institution first to seek resolution. Complaints regarding student grades or student conduct violations are governed entirely by institutional policy and the laws of the SARA institution's home State. If a person bringing a complaint is not satisfied with the outcome of the University's internal process for resolving complaints, the complaint (except for complaints about grades or student conduct violations) may be appealed, within two years of the incident about which the complaint is made, to the University's SARA portal entity (Pennsylvania Department of Education).  For purposes of this process, a complaint shall be defined as a formal assertion in writing that the terms of this agreement, or of laws, standards or regulations incorporated by the SARA Policies and Standards have been violated by the institution operating under the terms of SARA. For a list of SARA member States, please visit the NC-SARA website. Students residing in non-SARA States should consult the list of non-SARA State agencies for further instruction for filing a complaint in their respective State of residence.   Further information on SARA and the SARA complaint process: 

· http://nc-sara.org/content/sara-and-students
· http://nc-sara.org/content/sara-complaint-process

Unresolved complaints may be filed with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Kutztown University's regional accrediting agency, once all other avenues provided by the University and the State agency or SARA have been exhausted. The link above provides information on the Commission's complaint policies and procedures.  

Middle States Commission on Higher Education
3624 Market Street, 2nd Floor West, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Telephone: (267) 284-5000
E-mail: info@msche.org  Spanish: españolinfo@msche.org
General Link: www.msche.org        

Kutztown University participates in Federal student aid programs that are authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. A participating institution must be legally authorized to operate with the State in which it is located. Title 34 CFR §600.9 requires States to have a "process to review and appropriately act on complaints concerning the institution including enforcing applicable State laws." Title 34 CFR §668.43(b) requires that institutions:  "make available for review to any enrolled or prospective student upon request, a copy of the documents describing the institution's accreditation and its State, Federal, or tribal approval or licensing. The institution must also provide its students or prospective students with contact information for filing complaints with its accreditor and with its State approval or licensing entity and any other relevant State official or agency that would appropriately handle a student's complaint."