Student Complaints, Grievances, and Concerns
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania is committed to providing an educational climate that is conducive to the personal and academic development of each student. The University desires to resolve student grievances, complaints and concerns in an expeditious, fair, and amicable manner in accordance with procedures below:
- For grievances, complaints, or concerns related to a particular class students should first contact their faculty member to resolve the matter, in accordance with the procedures and policies outlined in Shippensburg University’s undergraduate and graduate catalogs.
2017-2019 Undergraduate Academic Policies
2018-2020 Graduate Academic Policies
- Conduct related complaint procedures are outlined in The Swataney, the Shippensburg University Student Handbook.
- Student conduct policies are available on the Office of Student Conduct.
Shippensburg University encourages all current, former, and prospective students to first submit any grievances, complaints, or concerns directly to Shippensburg University before filling a formal complaint.
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:
Academics 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.
Billing: If the subject matter of your complaint relates to student billing, you should forward your complaints to the Office of Student Accounts.
Course Registration and Scheduling: 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 Educational Intelligence & Technology.
Accessibility Resources: 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 Office of Accessibility Resources.
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 Equity, Inclusion and Compliance.
Professional, Continuing, and Distance Education: If a student has a complaint that involves distance education, please review the Online Education Complaint Process.
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 review the Graduate or Undergraduate Grade Appeals procedures on the Provost's Grade Appeal Page.
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 Student 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 or International Programs.
Sexual Assault or Sexual 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 Equity, Inclusion and Compliance.
Study Abroad: If the subject matter of your complaint deals with your experience in the Study Abroad program, please contact International Programs.
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 you still need assistance or clarification, please contact the Dean of Students Office.
What if a solution is still not reached?
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania desires to resolve student grievances, complaints and concerns in an expeditious, fair, and amicable manner. If the complaint cannot be resolved through University channels, the student may go to one of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania's state approval and licensing entities: Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education (email may be sent to Dr. Peter Garland, Executive Vice Chancellor, email@example.com) Pennsylvania Department of Education; or Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania's accreditor, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Shippensburg 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."