Last Revision: January 30, 2024
University General Grievance Procedure
American Public University System (the University) is committed to an environment where open, honest communications are the expectation, not the exception. We want our students to feel comfortable approaching University faculty and staff in instances where it is believed violations of policies or standards have occurred.
The University will consider all grievances and comments fairly, and not engage in retaliatory action against any student who has submitted such information. Any person who retaliates against any individual filing a complaint or concern will be considered to have violated this policy and will be subject to disciplinary action.
If students are unable to resolve the issue with faculty or staff, they have the right to address concerns about university actions through the university grievance procedure There are different pathways for settling various issues. The time it takes to resolve individual grievances may vary, but students can expect an initial response, outlining next steps and timelines, within 3-5 business days.
For grievances regarding sexual harassment, sexual discrimination (including on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation), or other forms of sexual misconduct please refer to the University’s Title IX Compliance Policy and Title IX Grievance Procedures.
For grievances regarding non-sexual discrimination or non-sexual harassment, please refer to the Policy against Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation outlined in the University’s Student Handbook.
Certain other issues, known as adverse actions, cannot be addressed through the general grievance procedure. These issues include: being placed on academic probation, dismissal, sanctions, and expulsions. Students wishing to challenge an adverse action or request an exception to university policy are required to file a formal appeal.
In situations where a student prefers to place an anonymous complaint or grievance in confidence, students are encouraged to file a report using the APUS Student Hotline, hosted by third-party hotline provider, EthicsPoint. Students are encouraged to submit complaints or grievances relating to violations of rights as an APUS student, ask for guidance related to policies and procedures, and provide positive suggestions and stories.
The information provided by students will be sent to APUS by EthicsPoint on a totally confidential and anonymous basis unless a student chooses to identify themselves. APUS guarantees that all comments from students will be heard.
If a student has a grievance or concern regarding the University, the student should first communicate the grievance or concern directly and informally with the appropriate department or faculty member; students may also report classroom concerns related to their current courses using the classroom “help” button. If the grievance or concern is not resolved within the department and the student has exhausted all applicable avenues of appeal and/or special request, the student should continue with Level 2. A student who believes informal resolution is not appropriate due to the sensitive nature of the grievance (for example, sexual harassment or sexual violence) may initiate the appropriate process described below without communicating directly to the department or faculty member involved.
A student who has a grievance that was unable to be resolved either informally or through a formal appeal or special request should write an email to the appropriate Office as indicated below, outlining the grievance or concern and what steps have been taken toward resolution. Grievances should be filed as soon as possible. The time it takes to resolve individual issues may vary, but students can expect an initial response, outlining next steps and timelines within 3-5 business days.
Academic issues (classroom issues, grades, or faculty actions): [email protected]
Non-academic issues (such as issues related to University business services and other non-academic services, refunds, information technology, or marketing): [email protected]
Grievances regarding disability accommodations: [email protected].
To complete a thorough investigation, the University may interview, consult, or request information from the student making the grievance or any other individuals believed to have relevant information, including faculty, staff and other students. At the conclusion of the investigation, the University will report its findings and any proposed resolution to the student.
The findings of the University under this grievance procedure are final and are not subject to appeal. If, however, your grievance was handled under another applicable policy and procedure and that policy and procedure includes an appeal process, then you may submit an appeal under that policy and procedure.
If a student is unsure about the appropriate contact for a particular concern, the student may always email [email protected] to share the concern and the concern will be routed to the appropriate University representative.
Third Party General Complaint Procedure
The University is also required to provide its students or prospective students with contact information for filing complaints with its accreditor(s) and with its State approval or licensing entity and any other relevant State official or agency that would appropriately handle a student’s complaint.
State of West Virginia: The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission encourages students to seek first informal resolution of any concern or issue. If the issue cannot be resolved informally, the student should follow the institution’s formal complaint or grievance procedure. If, after exhausting the institution’s internal grievance procedures, the institution has not responded to the student’s satisfaction or a satisfactory remedy has not been found, the student may contact the Commission for further investigation into the issue. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Commission may conduct an investigation or refer the issue to another agency that is authorized to address the issue. The Commission may contact institution officials to discuss a possible resolution. Instructions for filing a complaint with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission can be found at http://www.wvhepc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Student-Complaint-Process.pdf.
Students also are provided with information for filing complaints with other state agencies in the event that they wish to contact an agency in their state of residence. Contact information for agencies handling student complaints in all other states and the District of Columbia can be accessed through the following link: State Agencies – Higher Education Grievances and Complaints.
Higher Learning Commission: The Commission has established a clear distinction between individual grievances and complaints that appear to involve broad institutional practices. Where a complaint raises issues regarding the institution’s ongoing ability to meet the Criteria of Accreditation, the Commission forwards the complaint to the institution and requests a formal response. Instructions for filing a complaint with the Higher Learning Commission can be found at https://www.hlcommission.org/HLC-Institutions/complaints.html.