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Complaints Regarding Texas Public Institutions of Higher Education - Frequently Asked Questions
     

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's Compact with Texans

 

I am a student at a Texas public institution of higher education and have a concern or a complaint about the quality of the educational program I am enrolled in.  To whom should I express my concerns?

          The answer to this question has several parts.

1. You should pursue your concerns directly with the institution according to the institution's dispute resolution or complaints policy. Dispute resolution or complaints policies are usually published in the institution's catalog, student handbook, and/or posted on the institution's website.

2. Many colleges and universities have someone called a "Student Ombusdman" whose job is to assist students and run interference when a student has a complaint and does not know where to take it. Check to see whether your institution employs a Student Ombudsman; often, this will be a junior or senior undergraduate whose part-time job is to help resolve complaints and concerns.

3. If you cannot find information about the dispute resolution or complaints policy, contact a librarian at your institution's library for assistance, or someone in the Dean of Students Office.

4. Present your concerns calmly and clearly. Try to assemble documentation, including email messages, comments on returned assignments, official letters from the college or university addressing your concern, and any other material that could help an institutional representative to understand the nature of your concern.

5. Be courteous and patient. Give the institution time to look into the matter and respond to you.

6. If the institution has responded to you and you disagree with the response, you may elect to follow the institution's dispute resolution or complaints policy for taking your concerns to a higher administrative level within the institution. Examine the policy carefully so you will know when you have reached the final level to which you may appeal.

7. If you pursue your concerns via the institution's formal procedures for complaints to the highest level possible and still perceive that your concerns have not been adequately addressed, you could consider contacting the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (CB) staff and submitting a written complaint.  The procedures for submission of complaints are explained on the following web page: Student Complaints

Will the CB staff be able to help me resolve my concerns regarding the quality of my degree program?

Perhaps. The CB's authority are defined and limited by Texas laws and CB rules. If your concerns involve something not covered by CB rules or applicable law, the CB staff has no authority to resolve the matter.

The CB rules may be viewed at:

http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/index.cfm?objectid=B85D3904-DC5E-04B7-5D32B7A3DF36D853

Is there someone at the CB I can speak to if I am not sure whether my concerns fall within the CB's authority?

Yes.  Call (512) 427-6205. If you prefer to communicate via email, please go to:  http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/index.cfm?objectid=F3C7BF5E-EEBA-6286-ED2F58629ECC1DCE

I am a current or former faculty member at a Texas institution of higher education and have a dispute with the institution at which I am currently employed or where I was formerly employed.  Will the CB staff be able to help me resolve my concerns?

Only if your concerns pertain to the quality of the educational program in which you taught. The CB staff has no authority to inquire into institutional personnel matters or institutional policies or practices. 

I am a student at a Texas institution of higher education and have a dispute with one of my instructors.  Can the CB help me resolve my dispute?

No.  The CB has no authority over student-faculty matters.

I am a student at a Texas institution of higher education and have a dispute with the institution regarding my conduct and/or a disciplinary action taken against me.  Can I appeal to the CB in this matter?

No.  The CB has no authority to intervene in matters of student discipline/conduct.

I have a complaint about a private career school/college.  Does the CB have the authority to look into my concerns?

Perhaps.  As with all other matters, the CB's authority is limited to that expressly granted by law and stipulated in CB rules.  For more information see item 23 at the following URL:  http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/reports/PDF/1904.PDF?CFID=4217188&CFTOKEN=80256085

I believe that the institution is discriminating against me.  Can the CB staff help me resolve my concerns?

No. The CB has no authority to intervene in matters of discrimination. Laws concerning discrimination against a person with a disability or a member of a protected class are federal laws and must be directed to the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.  Their contact information is as follows:

Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-1100
(202) 245-6800; 1-800-421-3481
Facsimile: (202) 245-6840
TDD: (877) 521-2172
Email:
OCR@ed.gov
Web:
http://www.ed.gov/ocr

If you feel you are being discriminated against, you should first file a grievance with the institution. The process to file a grievance procedure is described in the institution's catalog.

I have a complaint about my financial aid package, or I have not received my financial aid as it was promised to me. Who can help me?

Though a financial aid package may include programs funded through federal and state programs, it is created at the institutional level based on the institution's packaging policies and philosophies.  For specific questions or clarification concerning the total aid package, we strongly encourage students to contact the financial aid office at the institution he/she is or will be attending. THECB staff are happy to assist with any questions concerning the state funded program guidelines and eligibility criteria via email at grantinfo@thecb.state.tx.us or by calling 512-427-6340 (inside Austin) or 800-242-3062 (statewide).

I have a problem with my housing/dormitory situation. Can the Coordinating Board help me?

The CB has no legal authority in this area. Please contact the Housing Office at your college or university.

Someone at my institution told me that there is a CB policy that requires me to do something, or forbids me from doing something, and I am in disagreement with this. How do I find out whether there is anything I can do about it?

The Coordinating Board is the state agency empowered in certain cases by the Texas Legislature to adopt and implement policies that are required in statute (in Texas law). If you have reviewed the CB Rules at the web site indicated above and still have this question, you should contact the CB directly.

I am a parent of a student and wish to make a complaint about my son or daughter's problem with an institution.  How do I do that?

Due to federal laws regarding student privacy (FERPA), we cannot discuss your son or daughter's situation with you.  FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records if the child is under 18 years of age. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level.

 

 


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