Skip to main content
The University of Massachusetts Amherst

State Authorization and Complaints


Out-of-State students: Information about programs related to professional licensure/certification.

Some restrictions may apply to programs related to professional licensure (e.g., nursing, education). For details, visit the program's website.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA):  The University of Massachusetts Amherst operates distance education classes and programs for out-of-state students under the terms and provisions of SARA.  Please see for a list of participating states and territories.

California Students:  The state of California allows all public institutions to offer distance education to its residents.


UMass Amherst aims to resolve all student complaints in a fair and expedient manner. Students wishing to file a complaint about an online course are encouraged to first contact the department chair or dean of the school or college offering the online program. The next step is to follow the formal Academic Grievance Procedure (see also the Graduate School Academic Grievance Procedure). Begin the formal grievance procedure by completing the Notice of Academic Grievance Form. Notice of Academic Grievance Form.  Students can also receive assistance from the Ombuds Office.

In the event that a student complaint is not satisfactorily resolved through the institutional procedures, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) provides a general consumer complaint form which is available to all students. For general complaints, exhaustion of the institution’s procedures is not required. DHE will accept complaints of any nature (academic, discrimination, harassment, etc.) regardless of the subject, where the student resides, or how they are taking classes. The form is available at

If online students residing in another state wish to file a formal complaint with their home state authorizing agency after exhausting internal avenues, they may do so using the contact information listed below.

For students residing in: California

California Department of Consumer Affairs
Consumer Information Center
1625 North Market Blvd., Suite N-112
Sacramento, California 95834
Telephone: (833) 942-1120


Students may also:

All other U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

The University of Massachusetts operates distance education programs under the policies and procedures of the National Council for State Authorization Agreements (SARA).In accordance with the Agreement, if a person bringing a complaint is not satisfied with the outcome of the institutional process for handling complaints, the complaint (except for complaints about grades or student conduct violations) may be appealed, within two years of the incident about which the complaint is made, to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (MA DHE) which is the SARA portal for Massachusetts SARA member institutions. Exhaustion of the institution’s complaint procedures is required prior to filing a SARA Complaint.  The MA DHE’s complaint procedure/forms can be found at the following URL: The resolution of the complaint by the institution’s home state SARA portal entity, through its SARA complaint resolution process, will be final.