Student Comments

Student Success

Campus:  Blountville
Office:  Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success 
Room:  F104, Faculty Office Building
Office Hours:  8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday
Address:  2425 Highway 75, P.O. Box 246, Blountville, TN 37617
Phone:  423.354.2529
Fax:  423.323.0215
Email:  stucomments@NortheastState.edu
Web:  www.NortheastState.edu/StudentComments


Complaints, Compliments, Suggestions for Improvement, and Final Grade Appeals

Northeast State Community College encourages students to comment on their experiences at the College in a responsible manner. These comments may include complaints, compliments, or suggestions for improving College services. Comments help the College administration improve processes, pinpoint problems, eliminate waste, plan for strategic growth, or recognize outstanding personnel and programs. A final grade appeal is possible when a student believes he or she has received an incorrect final grade.

The following procedures have been established to help students submit their comments:

  1. Students should first seek to resolve complaints informally with the College personnel directly responsible for the area of complaint.
  2. If the above is not possible or does not provide a satisfactory outcome, students should submit written complaints about any area of the College’s operations to the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success by using the Student Complaint Online Submission Form.
  3. Submissions should state the nature of the complaint as well as the resolution sought.
  4. The Student Complaint Online Submission Form must include the contact information of the person submitting the complaint.
  5. The Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success will forward the complaint to a designated Vice President or other appropriate office (as determined by the nature of the comments) for review within three (3) business days.
  6. The student will be notified of the outcome within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the Student Complaint Online Submission Form by the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success.
  7. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome, he or she may appeal in writing to the President of the College. The President’s decision will be final.
  8. Complaint Resolution Policies and Procedures for Non-Tennessee Resident Students in State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement States, commonly known as SARA.

    Student complaints relating to consumer protection laws that involve distance learning education offered under the terms and conditions of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), must first be filed with the institution to seek resolution. 
     
    Complainants not satisfied with the outcome of the Institution’s internal process may appeal, within two years of the incident about which the complaint is made, to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission ( https://www.tn.gov/thec/bureaus/student-aid-and-compliance/postsecondary-state-authorization/request-for-complaint-review.html).  

    For purposes of this process, a complaint shall be defined as a formal assertion in writing that the terms of SARA or the laws, standards or regulations incorporated by the SARA Policies and Standards ( http://www.nc-sara.org/content/sara-manual) have been violated by the institution operating under the terms of SARA. 

    For a list of SARA member States, please visit the NC-SARA website ( http://nc-sara.org/sarastates-institutions). Students residing in non-SARA states should consult their respective State of residence for further instruction for filing a complaint.


  1. Compliments may be submitted using the Student Compliment Online Submission Form.
  2. Compliments will be received by the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success and forwarded to the appropriate Vice President’s office for review and dissemination to the College personnel or program mentioned.
  3. The student may be contacted by the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success if additional information is necessary.

  1. Concerns and/or suggestions for improving College services should first be discussed with the individual or campus office providing the service, including action(s) that can be taken to improve the service.
  2. If the above is not possible or the improvement action(s) require approval by the service provider’s supervisor or the College administration, the student should submit the concern or suggestion in writing to the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success by using the Suggestions for Improving College Services: Speak Out Online Submission Form.
  3. The Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success will present the concern or suggestion to the Northeast State President's Cabinet, which will review the service and make a recommendation to the President.
  4. The President may direct the development and implementation of actions designed to improve the services provided by the College.
  5. The student may be contacted by the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success if additional information is necessary. 

Please reference Chapter 3 of the Northeast State Policies and Procedures Manual for complete policies and procedures concerning student conduct and expectations. The following are specific policies on the reporting of student complaints, compliments and suggestions for improving College services:

  • 03:05:01 - Student Rights and Freedoms
  • 03:05:10 - Student Complaints and Compliments
  • 03:05:11 - Complaints Related to Institutional Accreditation or Violation of State Laws
  • 03:05:12 - Reporting Fraud or Abuse
  • 03:05:13 - Suggestions for Improving College Services: Speak Out
  • 03:07:00 - Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
  • 03:07:01- Directory Information
  • 06:33:00 - President's Student Advisory Council

Please Note: For concerns or complaints regarding Title IX, civil rights, discrimination, or harassment, please visit the Equity, Inclusion, and Compliance website or contact the Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Compliance at 423.354.5296. Questions may also be emailed to Dr. Tim Harrison, Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Compliance.

Although crimes are not part of the complaint process, for issues involving campus safety, personal security, or to Report Behaviors of Concern, please visit the Safe Northeast web portal or contact the Northeast State Police Department at 423.323.0255 (non-emergency) or 423.677.7927 (emergency cell). Questions may also be emailed to Brian Johnson, Chief of Police.

The Safety Handbook includes emergency contacts and policies related to College-wide programs that focus on campus security, personal safety, and issues related to violence.



Final Grade Appeal Procedures

Statement of Policy: A Northeast State Community College student has the right to know the reason for grade assignments and the correct answer to examination questions. In matters of interpretation, the College accepts the judgment of the faculty member as the professional in the discipline. In instances where a student believes he/she has received an incorrect final grade, the appeals process is possible. The student must follow the Final Grade Appeal Procedure as outlined below.

When a student believes there are circumstances that warrant the appeal of the final grade received in a course for reasons other than Academic Misconduct, the student may appeal the grade. The appeal process must begin within 30 business days following  the day in which grades are due in the student information system (for the term in which the grade was assigned).

  1. Errors of omission: The student contends that a certain test, homework, or class project was submitted but not graded.
  2. Errors in averaging: The student contends that an error in the mathematical calculations of graded material occurred.
  3. Errors in course practices: The student contends that there was gross disparity between the course syllabus and the manner in which the course was conducted; in particular, the manner in which the individual student was treated.

  1. Should the student wish to formally appeal a final grade, he or she may submit a formal written appeal to the instructor of the course in question. The appeal must be initiated within 30 business days following the day in which final grades are due in the student information system. The student will indicate the grounds for appeal in the formal written appeal. If the student is unable to reach the course instructor, the student should contact the appropriate division office for assistance.

    The instructor will notify the student of his or her findings in writing within five (5) business days of the receipt of the formal written appeal.

  2. If no satisfactory agreement is reached with the instructor, the student may submit a formal written appeal to the appropriate Academic Dean. The student’s written appeal must include documentation that he or she consulted with the instructor and the instructor’s decision (as outlined in Step One, above). It must also include the basis of the appeal, as noted under the Grounds for Appeal section, outlined above. The formal written appeal must be submitted within five (5) business days of receipt of the instructor’s findings.

    The appropriate Academic Dean will investigate the appeal, render a decision, and submit a written report of the findings to the student, the instructor, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The written report must be submitted within five (5) business days of receipt of the student’s appeal.

  3. If the appeal is denied by the Academic Dean, the student may request in writing that the documentation and written appeal be forwarded to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The request that the documentation and written appeal be forwarded must be submitted to the Academic Dean within five (5) business days of receipt of the dean’s decision.

    The Vice President for Academic Affairs will review the appeal, render a decision, and submit a written report of the findings to the student and the Academic Dean. The written report of the findings must be submitted within ten (10) business days of receipt of the written appeal and documentation. The Academic Dean will notify the instructor as appropriate.

  4. If the student is not in agreement with the decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, he or she may request in writing a hearing before the Grade Appeal Subcommittee.  To request a hearing, the student must request that the Vice President of Academic Affairs forward the written appeal to the chair of the Grade Appeal Subcommittee.  The student must submit this request to the Vice President of Academic Affairs within five (5) business days of receipt of the findings from the Vice President.
     
    1. The Subcommittee will determine through a majority vote of its members if the appeal has merit for further investigation based upon one of the allowable grounds for appeal. 
    2. If the Subcommittee determines the appeal has merit for further investigation, the Subcommittee chair will convene a hearing with the Grade Appeal Subcommittee within ten (10) business days of the chair receiving the appeal.  During the hearing, the Subcommittee retains the right to ask questions of each party and to call on such expertise as it deems appropriate to arrive at a decision.
    3. The Grade Appeal Subcommittee will forward its recommendation in writing to the Vice President for Academic Affairs within 15 business days from the request for the hearing.

  5. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will review the Subcommittee’s recommendation, issue a written report relative to the Subcommittee’s findings, and forward the report to the President. The report must be submitted within five (5) business days of receipt of the findings from the Grade Appeal Subcommittee.

  6. The President will review the student’s appeal, the Subcommittee’s findings, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs’ recommendation, render a decision, and submit a written report of the findings to the student, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the chair of the Grade Appeal Subcommittee. The report must be submitted within ten (10) business days of receipt of the report. The President’s decision will be final. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will notify the Academic Dean and the instructor, as appropriate. 

Please reference Chapter 2 of the Northeast State Policies and Procedures Manual for complete policies and procedures concerning academics. The following are specific policies concerning grading:

For more information on final grade appeals, please contact Academic Affairs at 423.279.7632. Connie Marshall is the Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs.



Reporting Fraud, Waste or Abuse

State law requires all public institutions of higher education to provide a means by which students, employees, or others may report suspected or known improper or dishonest acts. Northeast State Community College is strongly committed to preventing fraud, waste, and abuse from occurring within its facilities. Should you observe an employee engaging in any activity that you consider or suspect to be illegal, improper, or wasteful, you are strongly encouraged to report your concerns. Several options are available to all Northeast State employees, TBR employees, students, and others for reporting known or suspected fraud, waste, or abuse.  

You may report concerns:



Complaints Related to Institutional Accreditation or Violation of State Laws

Under the Federal Program Integrity rules 34 CFR § 600.9(a)(1)(i)(A), the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) system office has been designated as the authority to investigate complaints about TBR institutions related to institutional accreditation or violation of State laws.

Students or prospective students who wish to file a complaint related to accreditation or regarding violations of state law not resolved at the institution may submit online submission forms to the Tennessee Board of Regents (1415 Murfreesboro Road, Suite 350, Nashville, TN 37217-2833, telephone: 615.366.4400). Under Tennessee’s open records law, all or parts of complaints will generally be available for review upon request from a member of the public.

Complaints regarding accreditation can also be made by contacting the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, telephone: 404.679.4500. 

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 

Students have the right to file a complaint in writing with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The name and address of the DOE Office that administers FERPA is:

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