Distance Education Concerns & Complaints

If you are not sure whom to contact about your complaint, you may contact Continuing and Distance Education at 605-658-6152 or cde@usd.edu, and we will help you obtain assistance in filing your claim.

Notification of Complaint Process for Program Integrity

Any person may file a complaint with the Executive Director of the South Dakota Board of Regents to obtain a review and appropriate action on allegations that an institution governed by the Board:

  • Violated South Dakota consumer protection laws;
  • Engaged in fraud or false advertising;
  • Violated South Dakota laws relating to the licensure of post-secondary institutions or programs;
  • Failed to provide an educational program meeting contemporary standards for content and rigor;
  • Failed to assign qualified instructors; or
  • Violated one or more accreditation requirements.

Where the institution has not already considered and acted upon the complaint, the Executive Director will refer the matter to the institutional president for review and action. If the complainant challenges an institutional disposition of the complaint, the Executive Director will provide for an independent review and disposition of the allegations. The Executive Director may be contacted at: The Office of the Executive Director of the South Dakota Board of Regents, 306 East Capitol Avenue, Pierre, South Dakota, 57501-2545; Phone: 605-773-3455; email: info@sdbor.edu.

Consumer Protection Laws

Allegations involving violation of consumer protection laws may also be filed with Office of Attorney General, Division of Consumer Protection; 1302 E Hwy 14 Ste. 3; Pierre SD 57501; Phone 605-773-4400, 1-800-300-1986 (in-state only); Fax 605-773-7163; consumerhelp@state.sd.us; Online Complaint Form.

Complaint Procedures for Students Living Outside South Dakota in SARA Member States

The complaint procedures for SD-SARA can be found in Section C.3 of SDBOR SARA Policy 1:29. Complaints must first be processed through USD's procedures for resolution of complaints under Concerns and Complaints. The State Portal Entity Contact will verify that all complaints have been received and processed by the institution, and will not consider complaints that have not gone through the institutional complaint process. Complainants who processed their complaints through institutional complaint procedures but remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the institutional process may request that the State Portal Entity Contact review the institutional resolution of the complaint.

Complaints to the State Portal Entity Contact must specify:

  • The basis for believing that the institutional action is inconsistent with the accreditation or SARA requirements,
  • The harm caused to the complainant by virtue of the inconsistency, and
  • The corrective action that the complainant seeks.
  • If the complainant alleges that institutional documents were misleading, the request should contain the portions of the catalog, letters or email exchanged
  • between the complainant and the institution, and should identify with specificity statements that the complainant found to be misleading and what the complainant understood the statements to mean.

SARA Complaint Resolution Form

SARA Complaint Procedures Flow Chart

Contact Information For Students Residing In States Other Than South Dakota Who Have Complaints Relating Specifically To Distance Learning Or Correspondence Education

Pursuant to the United States Department of Education's Program Integrity Rule, the University of South Dakota is required to provide all prospective and current students with the contact information of the state agency or agencies that handle complaints against post-secondary education institutions offering distance learning or correspondence education within that state. Students residing in other states while enrolled in a course offered by the University of South Dakota are encouraged to utilize USD's complaint or review policies and procedures prior to filing a complaint with a state agency or agencies. However, if the complaint is not resolved through these processes, a student may use the following list to identify the office(s) in the state in which the student resides to which the complaint against any public institution in South Dakota may be filed.

California: Complaints involving out-of-state institutions may be filed with the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Consumer Information Center, 1625 North Market Blvd., Suite N-112, Sacramento, CA 95834. Students can file complaints online or call toll-free 833-942-1120.

For all other states, use the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) provisions stated above for ensuring a timely response to your complaint.

If a student is not able to contact the appropriate agency in his or her state of residence, please contact the Offices of the South Dakota Board of Regents and assistance will be provided. (306 East Capitol Ave, Suite 200, Pierre, SD 57501; phone: 605-773-3455; e-mail: info@sdbor.edu).

USD’s Accreditor Complaint Procedure

Institutional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA) of Colleges and Schools provides assurance to prospective students, parents, and others that an institution of higher education meets the agency's clearly stated requirements and criteria. Institutional accreditation is the standard against which colleges and universities are evaluated as a whole for the quality of their education activities. The HLC is an independent organization founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. The University of South Dakota has been accredited by the HLC of the NCA since 1913. Instructions for filing a complaint with the Commission.


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