|(a) If a student complaint form concerns compliance
with the statutes and regulations that the Agency administers and
the Agency has not referred the complaint to another entity, the Agency
will initiate an investigation, as described in subsections (b) -
(h) of this section.
(b) Prior to initiating an investigation, the Agency
shall require the complainant to exhaust all grievance and appeal
procedures that the institution has established to address student
complaints. Complainants will be encouraged to consult the institution's
website and student handbook, or to contact the institution's student
ombudsman, Office of Student Affairs, Office of the General Counsel,
or other appropriate administrative official, for information regarding
the institution's processes for resolving complaints. Upon exhaustion
of the institution's procedures, the complainant shall inform the
Agency of the outcome of the grievance and appeal procedures and provide
all documentation concerning same.
(c) As part of the Agency's investigation of the complaint,
Agency staff may contact the complainant to obtain additional information
regarding the complaint.
(d) Agency staff, as appropriate, will request a written
response to the complaint from the institution. Along with a request
for response, the Agency will transmit to the institution a copy of
the student complaint form and any attachments thereto. The institution
has thirty days from receiving the request for response to provide
a written response to the complaint. Agency staff, in its discretion,
may contact the institution to obtain additional information upon
the Agency's receipt of the institution's response or at any time
during the investigation of the complaint.
(e) As part of its investigation, the Agency may also
contact other persons or entities named in the student's complaint.
(f) The Agency shall provide the complainant, the institution,
and each person who is a subject of the complaint a copy of the Agency's
policies and procedures relating to complaint investigation and resolution.
(g) The Agency, at least quarterly until final disposition
of the complaint, shall notify the complainant, the institution, and
each person who is a subject of the complaint of the status of the
investigation, unless the notice would jeopardize an undercover investigation.
(h) The Agency shall maintain a file on each student
complaint form filed with the Agency. The file shall include:
(1) the name of the complainant;
(2) the date the complaint is received by the Agency;
(3) the subject matter of the complaint;
(4) the name of each person contacted in relation to
(5) a summary of the results of the review or investigation
of the complaint; and
(6) an explanation of the reason the file was closed,
if the Agency closed the file without taking action other than to
investigate the complaint.