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Student Complaints Under State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA)

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Virginia Highlands Community College is a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA). A SARA is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance learning courses and programs. It is intended to make it easier for students to take distance learning courses in a state other than where they reside.

In order to ensure that students enrolled under the agreement have equal opportunity to submit student complaints, VHCC accepts oversight from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), the Commonwealth’s coordinating body for higher education, in resolving complaints from students taking distance learning courses under the aegis of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA).

All student complaints will be addressed through the VHCC Student Grievance Procedure. Subsequently, if the complaint has not been resolved internally, the student may submit the Student Complaint form to SCHEV. More details on the formal SCHEV student complaints procedure may be found on the SCHEV agency page at Students may also seek resolution through the Office for Civil Rights of the United Stated Department of Education (“OCR”). A complaint filed with OCR must be filed within 180 calendar days of the alleged discrimination. Or, if the college complaint procedure was utilized by the student, the OCR complaint must be filed within 60 calendar days from the date of the final decision, unless the time for filing is extended by the OCR for good cause shown. Information on how to proceed may be accessed on OCR’s website.


See the VHCC College Catalog and Student Handbook for more information.