Student Complaint and Grievance Policy

Columbia College always strives to provide an environment for the growth and development of all students where disagreements can be discussed and resolved in a manner befitting the institution. Therefore, Columbia College has established a specific policy to resolve student complaints and grievances. A student who has a complaint is responsible for following the procedures described below. Complaints may concern inappropriate faculty conduct (including inappropriate course materials), incompetence in oral communication, inequities in assignments, scheduling of examinations at other than authorized and published times, or grading grievances.

  1. Student Complaint Procedures
    • Contact the school official directly:
      • If this concerns a grade received, the student must contact the instructor on or before the last day of the following session.
      • If this concerns an administrative matter, contact the school business manager.
      • If this concerns a matter not covered in the previous two instances, contact the student services.
    • Appeal to the school official’s supervisor:
      • If this must be done within 10 calendar days of the process outlined in above.
      • It is the responsibility of the appropriate administrator to hear the student’s complaint within 10 calendar days of his/her appeal.
      • The administrator must notify the student in writing of the condition of the appeal within 10 calendar days of the hearing.
      • If the matter is not resolved to the mutual satisfaction of both parties, it may be elevated to the next level. At this point, it becomes a “grievance,” as the complaint resolution process has not engendered a mutually satisfactory end to the complaint.
  2. Student Grievance Procedures
    • Obtain a student grievance form from the student services director. Fill it out completely, stating your case in full detail, and return it to the student services director.
    • The student has the right to make his/her case to the college council. All evidence of unfair treatment must be presented as well as whether the student has suffered any damage or injury as a result of such treatment. If satisfaction is not obtained, the student may further elevate his/her case to the president of the college.
    • If it is determined that the student has a valid grievance, the college council will be convened. Seated at the head will be a member of the college’s administrative staff. The council will also consist of one faculty member and one student selected at the beginning of the academic year for this task. If this grievance concerns a grade,then the faculty member must be an actual instructor at the college.
    • The college council will notify the student in writing within 10 calendar days of the time and place of the hearing. The hearing will be held within 14 days of the designation of the college council. The college council will reach its decision by a simple majority vote and pass its recommendation to the college within 10 calendar days of the hearing.
    • The student will be notified in writing within 10 calendar days of the college council’s recommendation, based on the post-marked date of the envelope in which it was submitted. Either party can appeal the decision by a written appeal to the president of the college within 10 days of the post-marked date of the envelope in which it was submitted, to reach his/her decision.
    • If a student has exhausted the avenues provided by the institution and the complaint has not been resolved internally, the student can submit a “Student Complaint Form” to SCHEV. Upon receiving a completed form, SCHEV will open an investigation if the matter being disputed falls within its authority. If preliminary findings indicate a violation of SCHEV regulations by the institution, SCHEV shall attempt to resolve the complaint through mediation. All parties will be notified in writing of the outcome of the investigation.
      1.You have exhausted all available grievance procedures established by the institution; and
      2.You are not satisfied with the resolution provided by the institution resort in the grievance and are contacting SCHEV as a last processIf the above two statements were true, please fill out the Student Complaint Form ( in its entirely and submit it electronically to SCHEV.
    • The student may address his/her concerns in writing to the following:

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV)
James Monroe Building 10th Floor
101 N. 14th Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Tel: (804) 225-2600 Fax: (804) 225-2604

The Council on Occupational Education (COE)
7840 Roswell Road Building 300, Suite 325
Atlanta, GA 30350
Tel: (770) 396-3898 Fax: (770) 396-3790

* Students who initiate a complaint will not be subject to unfair actions by the school.