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Student Complaint Resolution Process

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College participates in Federal student aid programs that are authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Participating institutions 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.”

To comply with this regulation, Penn Highlands provides the following information to our prospective and current students.

Penn Highlands makes every effort to resolve student complaints internally, using policies and procedures outlined in the current Student Handbook and College Catalog. It is expected that students will fully utilize any and all of such administrative procedures to address concerns and/or complaints in as timely a manner as possible. In general, students, employees, and the community may Report a Concern through the College website. Concerns are routed accordingly to the appropriate administrative office. Please refer to the list below for procedures regarding:

  • Academic Grade Appeal: refer to the Formal Process for Academic Matters under the Student Grievance Process in the Student Handbook.
  • Academic Integrity Violations: refer to the Academic Integrity Policy in the Student Handbook or consult the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Services.
  • Non-Academic Complaints: refers to complaints regarding policy violations or breach of contract concerns that are not of an academic nature. Refer to the Formal Process for Non-Academic Matters found in the Student Grievance Process section of the Student Handbook.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act: refer to the Disability Services page.
  • Sexual Harassment: refer to the Sexual Harassment Policy or the College Catalog.
  • Affirmative Action: refer to the College’s Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity statement available online and in the College Catalog.
  • Title IX: Discrimination on the basis of sex and/or sexual misconduct, refer to the Title IX Policy online and in the College Catalog.
  • Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): Governance of privacy and access to student information, refer to the Student Handbook, College Catalog, or the FERPA Policy found online.
  • Criminal Activity: Complaints involving matters of a criminal nature, such as assault, battery, and theft should be directed to the Campus Security Office at 814-262-6427 or the Report a Concern on our website.

In the unlikely event that an issue cannot be resolved by the College, students may file a complaint with their respective State Licensing Authority. For Penn Highlands’ students, the Pennsylvania Department of Education – Postsecondary and Adult Education would be the applicable agency. This agency should be contacted only after the student has registered a complaint with the College and has not received a response to the request for resolution.

Unresolved complaints may also be filed with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the College’s regional accrediting agency, once all other avenues have been exhausted. The link above provides information on its complaint policies and procedures.