Authorization to Provide Distance Education

Amherst College provides distance education to its students residing in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and all U.S. states except for California pursuant to the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA). More information on SARA can be found at nc-sara.org. Amherst College also provides distance education to its students located in the State of California. The State of California allows nonpublic higher education institutions that grant undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, or both, and that are formed as nonprofit corporations and are accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education to offer distance education to its residents. Amherst College does not offer programs that are intended to lead to professional licensure (e.g., teaching, nursing, etc.).

Complaints Regarding Distance Education

This policy governs student complaints resulting from Amherst College’s distance education courses, activities and operations. Students must first make and attempt to resolve such complaints in accordance with Amherst College’s internal policies (provided that allegations of criminal offences or violations of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ general-purpose laws may be made directly to the relevant state agencies).

The following complaint procedures are available to Amherst College students based on the subject matter of the complaint as it relates to distance education:

  1. Grade Change Policy 
  2. Section 504 Grievance Procedure
  3. Sexual Misconduct Policy
  4. Nondiscrimination Statement
  5. The Resolution of Student Grievances with Members of the Faculty
  6. The Resolution of Student Grievances with Administrators, Staff, or Visitors
  7. General Grievance Policy for Distance Education

If a student complaint has not been satisfactorily resolved after the student has exhausted all options under Amherst College’s internal policies and procedures, the student may file a written complaint with state authorities. The procedures for filing a complaint with state authorities vary depending on the student’s place of residence.

Residents of Massachusetts: Students may file a complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education using the procedures and complaint form.

Residents of SARA member states and territories: The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and all U.S. states except for California are members of SARA. Residents of SARA member states and territories may file a complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education by using the SARA procedures and complaint form. The complaint must be filed within two years of the incident about which the complaint is made. Complaints regarding student grades or student conduct violations are governed solely by the College’s internal policies and the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and cannot be escalated as described herein.

Residents of non-SARA member states and territories (including California and Guam): Students may file a complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education using the same procedures and complaint form provided for Massachusetts residents above, and may also file a complaint with authorities in their home state or territory: