Student Complaint and Grievance Policy

The student complaint policy provides guidance on proper avenues for addressing university-related concerns. A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction arising from a student’s experience with or treatment by university personnel or policies. A grievance is a complaint based on a perceived wrongdoing or unfairness. Academic and financial appeals (i.e. issues related to competency assessments, academic progress, academic outcomes, financial aid, payments, etc.) are NOT considered complaints and should be handled through the processes published by the relevant departments. Please see student handbook article on Academic and Financial Appeals Information (opens new window) for a listing of university appeals processes. 


WGU is committed to providing students with a safe learning environment in which students receive an excellent level of service in support of their educational pursuits. Accordingly, all students have the right to file a complaint or grievance which they deem important without fear of retaliation or other adverse consequence. 


Student Assistance (Student Ombuds) 

Students who are unsure of how to approach an issue or want confidential assistance or advisement with any matter concerning their experience at the university are encouraged to contact the Student Ombuds. The student ombuds provides impartial assistance to students through coaching in positive communications, conflict resolution, problem-solving and interpreting university policy. The guidance from the ombudsperson can aid students in expediting a resolution. 


Informal Complaints 

WGU encourages students to seek resolution directly with the faculty or appropriate university representative (opens new window). Many issues can be settled through open and honest communication between the involved parties. This practice allows issues to be resolved more quickly by individuals with appropriate proximity and expertise. Students who are need assistance with informal complaints are encouraged to contact the student ombuds.


Formal Complaints 

If a non-academic problem cannot be resolved through the informal complaint process, students may initiate a formal complaint by submitting a detailed summary of the concern to in writing. This written complaint must include: 

  • a description of the complaint,
  • information about who has been involved (including contact information, if possible),
  • steps taken to resolve the complaint informally,
  • current status of the complaint.

WGU will work to expeditiously resolve each complaint. Students will receive confirmation of receipt of a formal complaint within one (1) business day, including requests for additional information, if required. Students will normally receive a response to their complaint within seven (7) business days. However, if additional time is needed to research and respond to a complaint, the student will be notified of the reason and given an anticipated resolution timeline.  


After the university has completed any necessary investigation, a final determination regarding the student’s complaint will be provided to the student in writing. Upon responding to or addressing a formal complaint, the university will consider it closed. 


Students who believe they have grounds to dispute the determination may exercise their right to an appeal. Grounds for appeal include: evidence that the determination was based on an unfair bias or that a conflict of interest was present, evidence that the determination violates one or more WGU policies, new and/or previously unconsidered evidence is available and would have influenced the outcome, or evidence that the determination was arbitrary or did not consider evidence provided by the complainant. 


The appeal must be filed within five (5) working days of the receipt of the determination unless good cause can be shown for an extension of time. The appeal must be filed in writing as an e-mail reply to the individual who provided the determination and must include a brief justification and the appellant’s desired outcome.  


Within ten (10) working days of the receipt of the appeal, the Senior Vice President of Student Success will conduct a review of the appeal to determine if grounds are present and further action is warranted. The Sr. VP of Student Success may take whatever action is determined necessary to ensure a thorough review of the appeal. The Sr. VP of Student Success may uphold the original determination or make a new determination. The appellant will be notified of the outcome of the appeal in writing. This determination will be considered final with regards to the appeal in question. 


In the event that a student has followed the procedures above and believes that their issue with the University has not been resolved, the student has the right to contact WGU’s accrediting bodies and/or various state agencies. The Consumer Complaint Process article provides details.


Civil Rights Complaints (Including Sexual Harassment or Misconduct [Title IX]) 

If a complaint involves any type of alleged discrimination or harassment in violation of the WGU Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking and Retaliation Policy or the student wishes to remain anonymous, the student or any other offended party may immediately make a formal complaint to the Title IX coordinator per the process outlined in the WGU Discrimination Grievance Procedures