Institutional Authorization and Consumer Complaints

Context

Regulations associated with federal student financial aid program include the following requirements. “The institution must make available for review to any enrolled or prospective student upon request, a copy of the documents describing the institution’s accreditation and its State, Federal, or tribal approval or licensing. The institution must also provide its students or prospective students with contact information for filing complaints with its accreditor and with its State approval or licensing entity and any other relevant State official or agency that would appropriately handle a student’s complaint.” The following paragraphs and links fulfill these obligations.

State Incorporation

From its humble beginnings as an agricultural and mechanical school in 1906 to a leading university, the University of West Georgia has a history rich with knowledge and growth.
The Fourth District Agricultural and Mechanical School in Carrollton opened its doors in response to a call for “more realistic educational programs for rural youth” ages 13-21. With the site of the former Bonner Plantation chosen as a location, 110 pupils enrolled in 1908.
As time changed, so did the educational priorities of Georgia and the nation. By 1933, seven of the A&M schools abandoned their missions, and a decision was made to abolish the remaining A&M schools.
Despite the change, the Fourth District Agricultural and Mechanical School was chosen later that year to become West Georgia College, a two-year institution of higher learning.
The evolution continued when West Georgia became a four-year institution in 1957. At that time, 589 students were enrolled. By 1971, enrollment had increased to over 6,000 students. Just seven years after West Georgia received University status, fall enrollment topped 10,000.

The History and Evolution of UWG


Accreditation

The University of West Georgia is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097; 404-679-4501) to award Bachelor’s, Master’s, Education Specialist’s, and Doctorate degrees.

The University of West Georgia’s academic programs are accredited by a variety of accrediting/professional agencies. The various accreditations provide the public, including prospective students, an assurance that respective programs have met the agencies’ stated requirements and criteria for continuous improvements. The accreditation process provides the institution or program an opportunity for self-analysis that will lead to continuous improvements and for consultation/advice from stakeholders.

Accreditations by College, Program, and/or Agency

Title IV – Federal  Student Financial Aid

Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 governs the federal student financial aid programs. The University of West Georgia is authorized to participate in federal Title IV programs. This authorization does not imply approval or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of the quality of the University of West Georgia’s educational programs.

Authorization to Participate in Federal Programs

UWG SACS Fifth-Year Interim Report: Area 14

Consumer Complaints

UWG desires to resolve student grievances, complaints and concerns in an expeditious, fair and amicable manner. Complaints regarding any aspect of UWG operations should be filed internally to UWG authorities first and then, if necessary, to external authorities. Contact information for filing complaints is given below.

Internal UWG Contacts

Online Courses and Programs
Janet Gubbins, Director, UWG Distance & Distributed Education Center, jgubbins@westga.edu

From the UWG Student Handbook, Appendix O: Complaints by Distance Learning Students -

Students who are enrolled in distance learning courses are provided with this student complaint form:   http://www.westga.edu/~distance/Students/complaint/. Upon submission of the form, the issue is assigned to a UWG Distance Education Department staff person for follow-up or routing to the appropriate parties. For all non-anonymous submissions, surveys of this service are provided. As necessary, complaints are resolved following the same general procedures for students who attend classes on campus. However, for any process that requires that a student appear in person, the university may make other arrangements. For processes that cannot be completed via telephone, e-mail, or written correspondence, the university may set up a two-way videoconference site in place of a meeting on the UWG campus.

eCore students have an additional route that they may pursue, for help with academic and non-academic issues: http://ecore.usg.edu/students/studentComplaint/policy.php.

Online students are also encouraged to consult with their eCore advisors (678-839-5300/ecore@westga.edu) and the UWG Distance Ed Helpline (678-839-6248/distance@westga.edu) for assistance, as needed.

Student Development
Gerald W. Hall, Assistant Dean of Student Services, jhall@westga.edu

Academic Affairs
Dr. Donadrian Rice, Interim Provost, drice@westga.edu

Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
Dr. Scot Lingrell, Vice President and Dean of Students, slingrel@westga.edu

School of Nursing
Dr. Kathryn Grams, Professor and Dean, School of Nursing, kgrams@westga.edu

Dr. Cynthia Epps, Professor and Associate Dean, School of Nursing Undergraduate Coordinator, cepps@westga.edu

Dr. Laurie Jowers Ware, Professor and Assistant Dean, Graduate Studies, School of Nursing, ltaylor@westga.edu

 

Internal UWG Contacts for Former Students


Donna Haley, Registrar, dhaley@westga.edu

 

External Contacts for Current and Former Students

Accreditor

Instructions for filing a complaint with our regional accreditor, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS):  Complete the Commission’s Complaint Form and send two print copies to the President, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097. (To access the Commission’s complaint policy, procedures, and the Complaint Form, please see Complaint Procedures Against the Commission or Its Accredited Institutions.) Please read the document carefully before submitting a complaint. Note that the complaint policy only addresses significant, documented, alleged non-compliance with the SACSCOC accreditation standards, policies or procedures. Complainants are expected to have attempted to resolve the issue through the institution’s complaint processes before filing a complaint with SACSCOC. The SACSCOC complaint process is not intended to be used to involve the Commission in disputes between individuals and member institutions or to cause the Commission to interpose itself as a reviewing authority in individual matters; nor does the policy allow the Commission to seek redress on an individual’s behalf. The primary purpose of the SACSCOC complaint procedure is to acquire valuable information regarding an accredited institution’s possible non-compliance with accreditation standards, policies and procedures rather than to resolve individual disputes.  Complaints must be tied to specific standard numbers from The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement

For Federal Financial Aid and other federal obligations:

Instructions for filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education in regard to Title IV (financial aid, civil rights violations or discrimination) can be found here.

Complaint resolution contacts by state

UWG desires to resolve student grievances, complaints and concerns in an expeditious, fair and amicable manner. Students residing outside of the State of Georgia while attending UWG who desire to resolve a grievance should follow the College's Student Grievance Procedure

However, if an issue cannot be resolved internally, you may file a complaint with your State. The Student Grievance Contact Information for Individual States provides phone numbers, emails and/or links to state education agencies and is linked here:  These new regulations require us to provide prospective and current students with contact information for filing complaints with the appropriate agency in the state where the student resides. Please click on your state to be connected to the contact form should you have a complaint about UWG

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland (As of Nov 8, 2012, UWG is registered with the Maryland Higher Education Commission, to offer programs to students domiciled in Maryland at their point of enrollment; complaints are subject to investigation by the Office of the Attorney General of the Maryland Higher Education Commission)
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas (UWG is not regulated in Texas under Chapter 132 of the Texas Education Code, at this time. It is understood that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board requires that if identified for a clinical, practicum, or internship, we must provide the information via their Certificate of Authorization process.)
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Other Issues

Georgia Department of Education – Office of Legal Affairs
2062 Twin Towers East, 205 Jesse Hill Jr. Dr. SE
Atlanta, GA 30334