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RULE §1.116Agency Investigation of Student Complaint

(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 the complaint;

  (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.

Source Note: The provisions of this §1.116 adopted to be effective November 28, 2012, 37 TexReg 9353

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