Saint Peter’s University is approved by the New Jersey Department of Higher Education to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). NC-SARA is an agreement among member states, districts and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. SARA is overseen by a National Council and administered by four regional education compacts. Institutions that are members of SARA are authorized to provide online education to students from all SARA member states.
The University has established procedures for handling most complaints, including grade changes, discrimination and other classroom allegations, and academic dishonesty charges. If a conflict arises, students are encouraged to reach out to appropriate personnel to discuss concerns, grievances and complaints. Information on “Resolution of Grade Disputes” may be accessed here. Students are encouraged to pursue the University’s internal complaint process for any grievances before contacting external sources for resolution.
Resolution of Grade Disputes
Students have the right to know the components of a course on which their final grade will be based, to be graded fairly, and to understand why they were given a particular grade. The instructor has the right to determine which course components will be graded and the weight that will be given to each, the right to determine the grading scale to be employed, and the responsibility to grade students consistently on that scale. The instructor is also expected to provide a syllabus for each course, specifying the assignments and examinations, and the weight given to each course component in determining the final grade. Finally, graded material should be returned to the student within a reasonable period of time; any material not returned must be retained by the instructor for one year.
Should students believe, in light of the above, that they have been graded unfairly, then the first step is to make an appointment with the instructor, bring copies of any papers and/or exams in question, and request that the instructor review the grade. This may be done until the sixth week of the term after the term in which the grade was issued. After that point, the grade becomes final.
If, after discussing the grade with the instructor, the student still believes that he/she was treated unfairly, then the next step is to seek the assistance of the chairperson of the department in which the course is offered to resolve the issue. Should the department chairperson be the instructor in question, then the appropriate dean is to appoint a member of that department to serve as mediator in the dispute. If the above steps do not lead to resolution of the issue, the student may meet with the appropriate dean to discuss the issue further.
When the assistance of the chair or the appropriate dean is called upon, that office will act as a mediator and will be authorized to collect all materials (e.g. exams, papers, quizzes and any other evaluative materials), whether in the hands of the instructor or the student, relevant to the construction of the grade. The instructor must be prepared to show that the grade was constructed according to the criteria described in the syllabus.
Procedures for Filing Allegations of Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
Saint Peter’s University strives to create and maintain a positive academic and social environment both on-campus and in the greater community. There are times, however, when members of our community may feel that others have engaged in actions that diminish either the environment or disrespect the individual. In these instances, members of the community have the right to file a complaint with the University. The procedures for filing a complaint for sexual harassment or discrimination may be found in the Student Life Policies.
Saint Peter’s University is required to provide students with contact information for filing complaints with its accreditor, Middle States Commission on Higher Education and with its state approval or licensing entity. Students who reside in SARA States may choose to file a complaint with the New Jersey Department of Higher Education. Students residing in states not participating in SARA may appeal to their state of residence. Please see below to find the contact information for each state agency that would handle the complaint.
Middle States Commission on Higher Education
3624 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2680
MSCHE Filing a Complaint Form (PDF)
New Jersey Department of Higher Education
Office of the Secretary
of Higher Education
1 John Fitch Plaza,
10th Floor, PO Box 542,
Trenton, NJ 08625-0542
OSHE Complaint Instructions
District of Columbia