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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. The process for pursuing a grade appeal is described on our Grade Appeal/Grade Amnesty Policy page.

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

Students with concerns that do not fall within any of the previously described categories should submit a written complaint to Your concern will be forwarded to the appropriate department and you will be notified via email that the issue is being reviewed.

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has been authorized to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) system. After the conclusion of the University’s resolution process outlined above, students enrolled in online programs and/or courses may appeal the University’s decision to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, which provides SARA complaint forms on its website. Online students who are Massachusetts residents should use this form to file a complaint with the Department of Higher Education.

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE), as the acting SARA portal entity for Massachusetts, does review and evaluate student complaints regarding online/distance learning programs offered by institutions based in Massachusetts that are SARA members. Note: Complaints about student grades and student conduct violations are specifically excluded from SARA review. Furthermore, students are required to first attempt to resolve their complaint according to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s internal appeal and dispute resolution process, outlined above.

Contact the Massachusetts Department of Education at:

One Ashburton Place
Room 1401
Boston, MA  02108