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Student Appeals & Dispute Resolution

Student Appeals

The Department of Online & Continuing Education at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth attempts to address student concerns and issues in a fair and professional manner. We understand that during the academic year, issues may arise that an online student may want to address. The following list describes different types of concerns and associated resources.

Student Registration/Enrollment Appeal

The Online and Continuing Education (OCE) academic calendar clearly designates the add/drop period for each academic semester/session. There are no refunds after the drop periods listed on this calendar. Appeals related to registration/enrollment issues and requests for refunds due extenuating circumstances will be reviewed by representatives from Online and Continuing Education, the Registrar’s Office, Bursars Office, Financial Aid, and designees of the Office of the Provost. A student who has experienced extenuating circumstances that prevented them from dropping or withdrawing from a course or courses may appeal for consideration by submitting their request to the Department of Online and Continuing Education. This request may be emailed to:, faxed to (508) 999-8621, or mailed to UMass Dartmouth, Online and Continuing Education, Foster Admin Bldg., 285 Old Westport Road, Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300. Claims of extenuating circumstances must be supported by documentation when requested.

Before submitting the appeal, please review:

  1. Students should discuss the academic impact of withdrawing from classes with their academic advisor, their financial aid counselor, and other areas of the university that may be impacted by a change in status, such as Veterans Services. Dropping or withdrawing from classes may have an adverse effect on your financial aid, veterans benefits, and future academic standing. Students who receive financial assistance in the term associated with the request may be required to repay financial aid funds, and this may impact eligibility to receive financial aid in future terms.
  2. Appeals must be made prior to the end of the academic term in which the late drop/withdrawal occurred or refund is requested. Appeals that are made beyond this time frame will only be reviewed when there is documentation of a circumstance that prevented the student from appealing within the academic term.
  3. Documentation supporting your request must be attached to the appeal. If the University representatives cannot verify the circumstances of the appeal, the appeal will be denied. If additional documentation is necessary, the student will be notified, only through your UMass Dartmouth student email account.
  4. Appeals that involve instructional or academic issue(s) will be forwarded to the appropriate Department Chair, Program Coordinator, and/or Dean of the College in which the course is offered.
  5. If the issue is related strictly to grading or a grading policy, students should follow the grade appeals process below.
  6. If you have questions about this appeal process, contact the Department of Online and Continuing Education at (508) 999-9202 or email

Grade Appeals 

Students who have questions about their grades should seek to discuss the matter first with their course instructor. In certain limited circumstances, students may pursue a formal grade appeal. See Grade Appeal/Grade Amnesty for the process on pursuing a grade appeal. .

Leave of Absence or Withdrawal from the University 

Students who wish to take a leave of absence or withdraw from the university must complete the Student Leave form.

Student Conduct & Dispute Resolution 

The Office of Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution handles complaints for violations of the Student Code of Conduct or other laws and regulations.

Equal Opportunity, Diversity & Outreach 

The Office of Equal Opportunity, Diversity & Outreach deals with equal opportunity and sexual assault/harassment complaints.

UMass Dartmouth Student Rights & Responsibilities 

The rights and responsibilities of UMass Dartmouth students, including students’ rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), are found on our Student Conduct Policies and Procedures page.

Other Complaints

For Massachusetts Residents and Online Students in Non-SARA Member States and Territories

After you have exhausted the complaint procedures made available by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, by emailing, if your complaint has not been resolved, you may file a consumer complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education by using the consumer complaint form. The DHE consumer complaint form should be used by students who are located in:

  • Massachusetts
  • Non-SARA Member States or Territories (e.g., California, Guam, etc.)

For Online Students Located in SARA Member States and Territories 

After you have exhausted the complaint procedures made available by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, by emailing, if your complaint has not been resolved, you may file a complaint with the DHE by using the SARA complaint form. The DHE SARA complaint form should be used by students who are located in SARA member states and territories. This includes all students who are located in SARA member states and territories for the purposes of completing out-of-state learning placements, such as internships, practica, clinical experiences, etc. in SARA member states and territories outside Massachusetts.

Additional information from the DHE’s SARA complaint website is below:

The SARA complaint process

  1. Students must first attempt to resolve their complaint using internal administrative procedures offered by the SARA institution.
  2. After all administrative remedies have been exhausted with the MA-SARA institution, the student may submit a SARA Complaint via the URL below.
  3. The Department shall send a copy of the complaint to the institution that is the subject of the complaint;
  4. Within 30 days of the date that the Department sends a copy of the complaint to the institution, the institution must provide a written response to the student and the Department.

More information about DHE’s complaint processes (PDF).

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