State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement: Complaints

Distance Learning Education – State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement

On August 25, 2016, UW universities were approved as participants in the National Council – State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) which allows universities to provide online distance learning to students who reside in other states without having to obtain that state’s authorization.  Rather, universities must abide by the SARA Terms and Conditions and obtain approval each year to remain a part of SARA.  Part of SARA’s requirements include the creation of a complaint process in accordance with Wis. Stats. Ch. 39.85, et. al.  This state law provides that any current or former student who is enrolled in an online distance education program with a university that has been approved to offer distance education programs pursuant to the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) may file a complaint against the university. This complaint process shall only apply to the distance education activity of the university which is conducted across state lines. No other complaints shall be considered by the Distance Learning Authorization Board (DLAB). However, other resolution options may be available to the complainant as noted below.

For purposes of this process, a complaint shall be defined as a formal assertion in writing that the terms of this agreement, or of laws, standards or regulations incorporated by the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements Policies and Standards (SARA Policies and Standards) are being violated by a person, university, state, agency or other organization or entity operating under the terms of SARA.  If you believe you have a complaint or dispute that fits under the terms of SARA, please complete the online form and submit it within the time frames provided.  There are also FAQs to assist you in answering any questions you may have about the DLAB complaint process.

To file a complaint, please complete the DLAB complaint form and by following process provided at this link:

For additional information about the Wisconsin Distance Learning Authorization Board, please go to the Distance Learning Authorization Board website.

For the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, please follow this link.

Program Integrity Rule: Complaints (Process for Out-of-State Students)


UW System Student Complaint Process Information for PIR Out-of-State Students

Pursuant to the United States Department of Education’s Program Integrity Rule, an individual may file a complaint against any of University of Wisconsin System’s public universities alleging a violation of one or more of the following categories:

  • Complaints that allege a violation of state consumer protection laws that include but are not limited to fraud and false advertising;
  • Complaints that allege a violation of state law or rule relating to the licensure of postsecondary universities; and/or
  • Complaints relating to the quality of education or other State or accreditation requirements.

Under the Universities of Wisconsin Administration (UWSA) policies and procedures, an individual should utilize the university's internal complaint or review policies and procedures through the Office for Student Affairs or Office of the Provost prior to contacting UWSA.

To access and submit an official PIR Complaint Form, please read all three sections of the information provided under the Process tab. You can access the form here.

If a resolution is not reached at the university level, or if you believe that the nature of the complaint or its impact on the system as a whole warrants an immediate review, please contact Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) at or 608.262.8778.