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Complaints/Grievance Policy

Students have the right to file a grievance against the University both verbally and in writing on a number of issues, as stated in the University Catalog. The general procedure is for the student to have an informal discussion with the Student Development coordinator as a first step. Before filing a formal charge, the student should first meet with the faculty member if it is grade/academic issue in an effort to resolve the matter. The student may then file a written complaint to the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Upon receipt of a written formal complaint by a student, the Vice President of Academic Affairs will consider the complaint.


The University will conduct an investigation to determine whether the allegation has merit. The Vice-President of Academic Affairs then makes a determination. If a violation of policy, as stated in the Catalog or Faculty Handbook, has occurred, the University will take appropriate steps for remediation toward the parties involved as dictated by the written policy and provisions of the University. The Vice President or his designee (student development coordinator) will formally notify the student of the outcome of the review. This decision is final, but the student has the right to appeal to the Florida Commission on Independent Education or the current accreditor, ACICS.


If a student has a complaint or grievance against a university faculty member or employee, the Catalog provides the following information:


If any student deems it necessary to file a grievance against a Jose Maria Vargas employee, he or she must report such incident to the Vice-President of Academic Affairs. Every effort will be made to protect the privacy of any parties involved. In cases of discrimination or sexual harassment, JMVU encourages the student to go directly to the Vice-President of Academic Affairs. Any complaint that is not in writing, that is, a verbal complaint, is considered an informal complaint.


After an informal discussion, if the student wishes to file a formal grievance, he/she may submit such in writing to the Vice President of Academic Affairs. However, before filing a formal charge, the complaining party should first make a good faith effort to meet and confer with the party against whom he or she has a complaint in an effort to resolve the matter. The formal report should contain a statement of the problem or complaint, the facts and details of the situation, pertinent dates and the names and positions of the parties involved. The grievance must be signed and dated. Also, student may withdraw a complaint at any time during the complaint process. A withdrawal must be made in writing to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.


Upon receipt of a written formal complaint by a student, the Vice-President of Academic Affairs will consider the complaint. After such an investigation, the Vice-President of Academic Affairs will make a determination as to whether the grievance has merit as alleged. If the alleged grievance is deemed justified, JMVU will take whatever steps it deems appropriate to correct any grievance suffered by the complaining student.



The student may appeal this determination to an appeals committee consisting of members of the administration, faculty and student body. This committee has the right to review the determinations and to reverse or amend such decisions.

Students have the right to appeal a denial for a request for accommodations related to a disability.


The student may appeal any decision related to a requested accommodation or auxiliary aid to the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Such an appeal must be made in writing to the Vice President of Academic Affairs not later than ten (10) days following the decision as to a requested accommodation or aid. Any position paper, brief, medical documentation or other written material, which the student desires to be reviewed by the Vice President of Academic Affairs, shall be submitted together with the notice of appeal. The Vice President of Academic Affairs shall investigate and respond to the notice of appeal in writing, stating her decision, together with the reasons for either affirming or reversing the previous decision as to an accommodation or auxiliary aid.


Students and faculty who believe that their grievances have not been fully investigated or remedied may contact the Commission for Independent Education at 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400 toll free telephone number 888-224-6684; or the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), 1350 Eye Street, NW, Suite 560, Washington, D.C. 20005, (202) 336-6780.


Process for Filing a Complaint with the Florida Commission for Independent Education

To file a complaint against a nonpublic postsecondary institution in Florida, please write a letter or send an e-mail containing the following information:

  1. Name of Student (or Complainant)

  2. Complainant Address

  3. Phone Number

  4. Name of Institution

  5. Location of the Institution (City)

  6. Dates of Attendance

  7. A full description of the problem and any other documentation that will support your claim such as enrollment agreements, correspondence, etc.

  8. The complaint process of the Commission involves contacting the institution to obtain their response to your complaint.  If you do not want the Commission to contact the institution you are attending, you must state so in your complaint; however, doing so will greatly hinder the Commission’s ability to assist you with your complaint.

Send Letter To:

Commission for Independent Education 325 W. Gaines Street, Suite 1414
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0400
Or E-mail: 
Or Fax: 850-245-3238

Note: Documents received in this office are considered public record. Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. This office cannot give legal advice to any individual or take any legal action on behalf of any individual. We will investigate your complaint to see what assistance, if any, we may be able to offer.


SARA Complaint Procedure

Out‐of‐State Distance Education students, who have completed the internal institutional grievance process and the applicable state grievance process, may appeal non‐instructional complaints to the FL‐SARA PRDEC Council.


Students must first go through the institutional complaint procedures. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome, he/she may appeal the complaint to the Council by sending an email to

Complaint Requirements

  1. Complaint must be filed within two years of the incident about which the complaint is made.

  2. Complete the institutional complaint process prior to submission with the Council.

  3. Complaint must be a formal assertion in writing that the terms of SARA, or of laws, standards or regulations incorporated by SARA, are being violated by a person, institution, state, agency or other organization or entity operating under the terms of SARA.

  4. You are a student of an FL-SARA approved institution.

  5. If you are not a student, but have a concern about any of the above, you may submit a complaint.

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