Complaints Against Affiliated Institutions

The Commission on Technical and Career Institutions is concerned with institutional integrity and with performance consistent with its standards and policies. While it cannot intervene in the internal procedures of institutions or perform as a regulatory body, the Commission can and does respond to complaints regarding allegations of conditions at affiliated institutions that raise significant questions about the institution’s substantial compliance with the Standards of Membership.

Complaints are considered only when made in writing and when the complainant is clearly identified. Substantial evidence should be included in support of the allegations that the institution is in violation of Commission Standards of Membership. Such evidence should state relevant and provable facts. The complaint should demonstrate that a serious effort has been made to pursue all review procedures provided within the institution.

The Commission does not consider allegations concerning the personal lives of individuals connected with affiliated institutions. It assumes no responsibility for adjudicating isolated individual grievances, nor will it act as a court of appeal in such matters as admission, granting or transfer of academic credit, financial aid, fees, student discipline collective bargaining, or faculty appointments, promotion, tenure, and dismissals. If the Commission ascertains that a complainant has instituted litigation against the institution, no action will be taken on the complaint while the matter is under judicial consideration.

Procedures and Time Lines for the Review of Complaints

1.  A complaint received by the Commission is acknowledged in writing upon receipt.

2.  The complaint is reviewed by the Director of the Commission who within two weeks of its receipt takes
      one of the following actions:

     a.  if the complaint is found to be not within the scope of Commission policies and/or jurisdiction, the
          complainant will be so informed and the matter closed;

     b.  if the complaint appears to be within the scope of Commission policies and jurisdiction, and
          substantially documented, a copy of the complaint will be forwarded to the institution’s chief
          executive officer who is asked to provide the Commission a response to the complaint. The 
          originator of the complaint will be notified of the action at that time.

3.  When the complaint is forwarded to the institution, it is asked to provide its response within 30 days.

4.  In cases where no response is received, a second request will be forwarded to the institution within
     one week of the original deadline for submission. If no response to the second request is received, 
     the Commission’s Director will place the matter on the agenda of the next Commission meeting for its
     determination as to the future course of action.

5.  If the institution acknowledges the complaint is valid, it will advise the Commission in writing of the
     actions taken to rectify the situation. At its next scheduled meeting, the Commission will consider the
     institutional response and determine whether the complaint should be investigated further or that the
     matter should be closed.

6.  Should the institution deny that the complaint is valid, it will provide the Commission a response
     indicating why it believes the allegations made are either untrue or do not represent a breach of the
     Commission’s criteria. Such a response should include supportive documentation where appropriate.

     The response will be referred to a committee of two Commissioners for review which will report their
      findings with a recommendation for further action to the Commission at its next scheduled meeting.
      The Commission will take action as it deems appropriate. The Commission Chair, at his/her sole
      discretion, may call a special meeting to act on a complaint when it is believed in the public interest to
      do so.

7.  The complainant will be informed of steps taken by the Commission in reviewing the complaint within
      a week of each step.

8.  The Director will provide to the Commission at each meeting for its review, a report of any complaints
      received since the previous meeting and the action taken with respect to each.

9.  Complaints against institutions accredited by other regional commissions or recognized institutional
      accrediting bodies will be referred to the appropriate accrediting agency.

10.  The Commission will make every effort to adhere to the above time line. In cases where
        circumstances beyond its control necessitate its modification, the involved parties will be so

Resolved complaints will become part of the institution’s file.

Policy on the Record of Complaints

The Commission is concerned with institutional integrity and performance consistent with Commission standards and policies. For this reason, it takes very seriously the record of complaints against accredited institutions and maintains a comprehensive record of all such complaints.

The log of complaints against an institution is made available to the visiting team that conducts an on-site review of the institution before the institution is accredited or reaccredited. It is also made available to the Commission before it reaches its accreditation decision concerning the institution.

In addition, the Commission requires each institution to address the record of complaints that are filed against it through the grievance process within the institution, the Commission, and/or the U. S. Department of Education in all institutional assessments, analyses, and self-studies the institution prepares for CTCI accreditation. The Commission also requires the institution to make the records and incident files associated with those complaints available to the visiting team.

Finally, the Commission requires the visiting team to review the institution’s records and files related to complaints while on site, to compare those records and files with the record of complaints maintained by the Commission, and to report its findings in the team report.

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