State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements and Complaint Policy
The U.S. Department of Education has waived the need for certain approvals and requirements to deliver courses online in response to COVID. Washington College is in the process of obtaining permission to have courses available to students through distance education on a more permanent basis. The Consumer Complaint Policy listed below is a requirement of NC-SARA.
The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NC-SARA)
Institutions that wish to deliver online education in states other than which they have physical operations must obtain permission to do so. Obtaining permission and adhering to guidelines from each state individually would be extremely burdensome to institutions. The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NC-SARA) is an agreement among member states, districts and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education. Colleges apply to be approved NC-SARA institutions through their home, member states. Maryland is a member of NC-SARA and has approved Washington College as a NC-SARA institution. This means that Washington College can deliver online education to students in any state, district and territory that is a member of NC-SARA.
Consumer Complaint Policy
NC-SARA requires that institutions provide current and prospective students with contact information with the member states portal agency and process to file consumer complaints that cannot be resolved with the institution. Complaints only related to distance education are covered under this policy.
Examples of consumer complaints, taken from NC-Sara’s manual, against an institution could include:
- Veracity of recruitment and marketing materials
- Accuracy of job placement data
- Accuracy of information about tuition, fees and financial aid
- Complete and correct admission requirements for courses and programs
- Accuracy of information about the Institution’s accreditation and/or any programmatic/specialized accreditation held by the institution’s programs
- Accuracy of information about whether course work meets any relevant Professional Licensing requirements or the requirements of specialized Accrediting Agencies
- Accuracy of information about whether the Institution’s course work will transfer to other Institutions
- Operation of Distance Education programs consistent with practices expected by institutional accreditors (and, if applicable, programmatic/specialized accreditors) and/or the C-RAC Guidelines for Distance Education
Washington College makes every effort to resolve student complaints internally. If you have a complaint about any of the above, please contact Jennifer Schultz at (410)778-7202 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on next steps.
If your complaint is not resolved, you may file a complaint with the Maryland Commission on Higher Education, Maryland’s SARA “portal agency”. Information on how to file can be found on MHEC’s website.
Please note: this policy DOES NOT apply to complaints related to course grades, academic sanctions, or discipline/conduct matters. Those matters should be handled by the Washington College Student Grievance Procedure found in the student handbook.