Complaint Process

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education has delegated the authority and responsibility to resolve student complaints and other grievances to the North Dakota University System.

Absent applicable law or policy establishing another remedy, the first step is to attempt to resolve the matter directly with the administration of the involved institution under established institution complaint or grievance procedures. Every North Dakota institution (private, for-profit, and public) is required to establish, publish, and enforce policies related to redress of complaints and grievances. With limited exceptions, a student or other person who contacts the NDUS office regarding complaints regarding North Dakota institutions participating in the National State Authorization Agreement (SARA) will be referred to college or university officials responsible for resolving those matters.

In the event that institutional processes do not result in a successful resolution of a SARA complaint, the NDUS is responsible for final resolution of any such complaints originating at any SARA participant institution, public or private.

Conversely, North Dakota residents who are enrolled in a distance education program at a SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement) institution in another state will need to begin the complaint process at that institution. In the event that institutional processes do not result in a successful resolution, the SARA Portal Agency of that state is responsible for final resolution.

With the exception of reporting fraud, waste or abuse as noted below, the NDUS does not review anonymous complaints or matters that are or have been in litigation. Further, matters concerning an individual’s grades or examination results are the prerogative of the college/university faculty.

The NDUS does not conduct a judicial investigation or evidentiary hearing. The NDUS may conduct a paper review, discuss the matter with the parties, and take other steps as appropriate in an attempt to resolve the complaint.

Absent specific statutory authority for not allowing access or disclosure, all documents relating to public business in possession of NDUS employees, including complaints or grievances, responses to complaints or grievances, and related documents are open to the public upon request. However according to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), student information and records that contain personally identifiable information regarding students, including student complaints, or grievances and related documents are confidential, subject to limited exceptions.

The following contact information has been provided to assist you with directing your complaint to the appropriate agency/office.

Cheryl Thompson
North Dakota University System
2000 44th St SW, Ste. 301
Fargo, ND 58103
cheryl.thompson@ndus.edu