Complaint and Appeal Process

Complaint and Appeal Process

SANS Technology Institute is committed to treating all students fairly. The primary objective of our student complaint process is to ensure that concerns are dealt with promptly, and resolutions are reached in a fair and just manner.

Step 1: Contact your student advisor

We encourage students to first contact their student advisor to seek guidance or resolution for a complaint. Issues such as access to course material or problems processing a course registration can often be resolved easily by a student advisor.

Step 2: Contact the departmental leader

If your student advisor is unable to provide a resolution to the issue, contact the department most aligned with the nature of the issue.

  • Administrative complaints, such as issues registration, billing, advising, Title IX, and ADA accommodations should go to the Assistant Director of Graduate School Operations, Betsy Marchant, at bmarchant@sans.edu.
  • Academic complaints, such as issues with grading and interactions with faculty or research advisors, should go to the Curriculum Director, David Vacchi, at dvacchi@sans.edu.

Students should expect a response regarding complaints within 5 business days of receipt.

Step 3: File an institutional appeal

A student who is not satisfied with the outcome in step 2 may file an appeal. Students should submit a formal, signed letter with supporting evidence to the Executive Director, Eric Patterson, at epatterson@sans.edu. Specific instructions for submitting a written appeal can be found in the STI Student Handbook. A formal appeal will be responded to within 5 business days of receipt.

Step 4: External appeal

A student who is not satisfied with the outcome of their appeal with SANS Technology Institute may elevate the complaint (except for complaints about grades or student conduct violations), within two years of the incident, to the following external bodies.

  • First, appeal to Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). MHEC contact information is located at http://mhec.maryland.gov/About/Pages/contactus.aspx.
  • If satisfactory resolution is not obtained via MHEC, students residing outside of Maryland may, as a final option, elevate their appeal to the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), of which STI is a member for the purposes of regulating students outside of Maryland. NC-SARA contact information is located at http://nc-sara.org/sara-staff.

Students should be aware that, as per SANS Technology Institute, MHEC, and SARA agreement, complaints against an institution operating under SARA must first go through the institution's own procedures. Complaints regarding student grades or student conduct violations are governed entirely by institutional policy and the laws of MHEC.

Final step: Closing the loop

As part of SANS Technology Institute's commitment to institutional improvement, complaints are collected and reviewed quarterly by the Curriculum, Academic, Faculty, and Student Affairs (CAFSA) Committee.