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Student Complaints

Student Complaints

Student Complaints Arising from Grades and Grading Policy of a Faculty Member

Faculty members are expected, as a matter of right and professional standards, to recalculate any grade in which a computational error is alleged or suspected, provided that the student challenges the grade before the deadlines established by the policy on grade appeals (see grading policies). Generally speaking grades may only be challenged when a faculty member is alleged to have violated university, college, or departmental academic regulations and policies, or to have violated the faculty member’s own grading policy, as determined from the published course requirements for the course or section in question.

Complaints Concerning Classroom Matters Exclusive of Grades and Grading Policy

Students confronting classroom problems that are a source of legitimate concern are entitled to have their complaints heard and resolved according to the procedures specified below.

Classroom problems may include, but are not limited to, the following examples (but note that questions concerning grades and grading policies are reserved to the process specified above):

  1. faculty failure to observe university policy and/or regulations, such as violating the regulation against scheduling examinations during the last week of the semester;
  2. changing class schedules without the permission of the department chairperson and the college dean, or rescheduling final examinations (including setting a due date for take-home examinations) to a time and place other than that established by the Registrar;
  3. terminating semester classes prior to the date specified by the university calendar;
  4. failing to fulfill instructional obligations (such as unjustified cancellation of classes, frequent absenteeism and lateness);
  5. failing to provide and distribute a written statement of course requirements within the first 10 days of classes, which is mandated for all instructors;
  6. failing to adhere to the written statement of course requirements; and
  7. failing to post office hours or to maintain such hours.

Students normally should seek to resolve problems by discussion with the faculty member. If this is not feasible or if, after discussion, the matter cannot be resolved, the student must inform the faculty member in writing that he or she will initiate a formal complaint. This complaint must be in writing and addressed jointly to the chairperson of the department and the dean of the college in which the alleged problem and/or violation occurred.

After discussing the problem with the student and the faculty member, the chairperson and the dean determine whether the complaint is valid. (Should the subject of a formal complaint be a department chairperson, the review and determination will be made by the dean and the chairperson of another department.) Copies of the complaint, together with the written decision of the chairperson and the dean, will be sent to the student, the faculty member, the Provost and the President of the MSP.

Formal complaints about classroom problems shall be initiated before the last day of semester examinations in the semester during which the violation is alleged to have occurred. The determination of the chairperson and the dean must be made within 10 working days following receipt of the student complaint and, if unchallenged by the MSP, it is final.

Equal and Fair Treatment

Under federal and state laws, all students are protected from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, disability, gender, (including sexual harassment), age, sexual orientation, marital or veteran status. If you feel that you have been discriminated against based upon any one of these areas, you must contact Equal Opportunity and Outreach ( These protections also include retaliation for filing complaints of discrimination. Concerns regarding course offerings, instructor and student attitudes should also be directed to EOO staff.

Students are responsible for adhering to the polices of the university regarding equal and fair treatment.

Unresolved Complaints

Students are encouraged to contact University of Massachusetts Lowell, as outlined above, prior to filing a complaint with any agency. If an issue cannot be resolved internally, you may file a complaint about University of Massachusetts Lowell with the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education or its accrediting agency, New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Online and Professional Studies Students

All online and professional studies students should follow the UMass Lowell Institutional Complaint Process outlined above.

Online students with unresolved complaints should follow the Student Grievances/Complaint process that can be found on Graduate, Online & Professional Studies website.

For non-academic complaints: If you are an online or professional studies student and have a non-academic complaint that you would like to bring to our attention, please email us at and provide us with a brief description of the issue.