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Notification of Montana University System Complaint Process

In October 2010, the United States Department of Education released new regulations known as the “Program Integrity” rules, which are intended to address concerns relating to the integrity of programs offered by postsecondary educational institutions and authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA), as amended. As part of those new rules, each state must have in place a process for receiving, reviewing, and responding to complaints concerning post-secondary educational institutions delivering educational services in that state, and each institution must inform students how to initiate complaints in the state where student receives instruction. This notification provides information on the complaint process available to students of the Montana University System and to students receiving instruction in the State of Montana.

Pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 20-25-201 and Title 20, Chapter 15 of the Montana Code Annotated, the designated units of the Montana University System and the duly organized community college districts in the State of Montana are legally authorized to provide postsecondary education in the State of Montana.  Together, these fourteen entities form the group of public postsecondary educational institutions in the State of Montana, all of which are under the authority and control of the Board of Regents of the Montana University System. Those institutions are as follows:

  • Montana State University – Bozeman
  • Montana State University – Billings
  • Montana State University – Billings College of Technology
  • Montana State University – Northern
  • Great Falls College MSU
  • The University of Montana – Missoula
  • The University of Montana – Missoula College of Technology
  • The University of Montana – Helena College of Technology
  • Montana Tech of the University of Montana
  • Montana Tech of the University of Montana College of Technology
  • The University of Montana – Western
  • Dawson Community College
  • Flathead Valley Community College
  • Miles Community College
  • These institutions are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, 8060 165th Avenue NE, Suite 100, Redmond, Washington 98052, (425) 558-4224. You may view evidence of each institution’s accreditation online.

    HOW TO FILE A COMPLAINT:

    Montana University System Institutions

    Students and prospective students of the Montana University System are encouraged to initially address complaints through the relevant institution’s complaint or review procedures. For distance education students, you may contact Laura Wight, Director of eLearning and Library Services, and for on-campus students, you may contact Heidi Pasek, Associate Dean/CAO, if you wish to file a complaint.

    Complaints that remain unresolved after engaging in the above-referenced process may be further pursued in the following manners:

  • An individual adversely affected by the final decision of a university president may appeal the decision to the commissioner of higher education and the Board of Regents pursuant to Board of Regents’ Policy 203.5.2.
  • Complaints concerning broad institutional academic practices, such as those that raise issues regarding an institution’s ability to meet accreditation standards may be filed with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
  • Complaints concerning consumer protection violations may be directed to the Montana Department of Justice Office of Consumer Protection.
  • Individuals enrolled in an online or distance course with the Montana University System and residing outside of the State of Montana can seek to utilize the complaint processes in their state of residence. View the State Contact Information and Processes for a list of links to the complaint processes of other states.
  • Institutions Outside the Montana University System

    Individuals with complaints regarding institutions that are operating in Montana, but are not part of the Montana University System, have the following options:

  • Utilize the internal complaint processes of the enrolling institution.
  • Complaints concerning consumer protection violations may be directed to the Montana Department of Justice Office of Consumer Protection.
  • Complaints concerning proper licensure under Montana law may be directed to the Montana University System Board of Regents pursuant to Board of Regents Policy 320.1.
  • Complaints concerning broad institutional academic practices, such as those that raise issues regarding the institution’s ability to meet accreditation standards may be directed to the applicable institution’s accrediting agency.
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