Authorization for Online Degree Programs at Wytheville Community College (WCC)
Virginia is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) and WCC is a member through the state portal entity, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). SARA establishes national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education programs among member states. The agreement creates a system for institutions offering distance education to receive authorization from states other than their home state, by placing the responsibility for regulation, quality assurance, and student protection on the institution’s home state. The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) is the organization tasked with implementing SARA.
The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) was established to help expand students’ access to educational opportunities and ensure more efficient, consistent, and effective regulation of distance education programs.
To do so, SARA participating institutions must meet certain requirements – many of which are focused on ensuring appropriate consumer protections for students.
Key NC-SARA Student Consumer Protections include:
- All SARA institutions must be accredited.
- SARA institutions must have U.S. oversight.
- SARA institutions must demonstrate healthy finances.
- SARA institutions are accountable for third-party providers.
- SARA institutions must adhere to high standards.
- SARA institutions must uphold stringent reporting and accountability requirements.
- SARA institutions are required to have transparency around professional licensure.
- SARA institutions must find ways to meet obligations to students.
- Student complaints are taken seriously.
- Compliance is non-negotiable.
In cases where the institution cannot fully deliver the instruction for which a student has contracted, it will provide a reasonable alternative for delivering the instruction or reasonable financial compensation for the education the student did not receive. This includes but is not limited to teach out plans that ensure the equitable treatment of students, transfer, tuition refund policies, etc.
Learn more about each of these protections.
Instruction Delivery Agreement
The institution agrees that in cases where the institution cannot fully deliver the instruction for which a student has contracted, to provide a reasonable alternative for delivering the instruction or reasonable financial compensation for the education the student did not receive. This may include tuition assurance funds, surety bonds, irrevocable letter of credit, assistance with transfer, teach-out provisions or other practices deemed sufficient to protect consumers.
Licensure Disclosure Statements
WCC makes public disclosure of any program, no matter the method of delivery, designed to meet educational requirements for specific professional licensure or certification that is required for employment or is marketed as such. Disclosures indicate whether the program meets such requirements in the state where the student is located, does not meet requirements in that state, or that no determination has been made. For more information, see WCC’s Professional Licensure Disclosures page.
Wytheville Community College will make individual disclosures in writing to current and prospective students when a program leading to professional licensure or certification that is required for employment or marketed as such does not meet educational requirements in states where students are located or that no determination has been made. The disclosure will include the current contact information for any applicable licensing board and will advise the student to determine whether the program meets requirements for licensure in the state where the student is located.
The WCC Grievance Procedure for all students is described in the WCC Catalog and Student Handbook.
Student Complaints Under State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA)
Wytheville Community College (WCC) is approved by the State Board for Community Colleges and by the Virginia Community College System. The associate degree curricula of the college have also been approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
WCC accepts oversight from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), the Commonwealth’s coordinating body for higher education, in resolving complaints from students taking distance education under the aegis of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA). If a student has exhausted the avenues provided by the institution and the complaint has not been resolved internally, the student may submit the Student Complaint Form to SCHEV.
Director of Academic Services
State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
101 N. 14th Street, 9th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219
For a complaint which has not been resolved through these grievance procedures, students residing outside Virginia may file complaint with the state in which you reside. The State Authorization Network maintains a list with student complaint information by state and agency.
Students in California, which is not a member of SARA, may contact the state Attorney General Office of California or the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.
Office of Civil Rights
Students may also seek resolution through the Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education (“OCR”). A complaint filed with OCR must be filed within 180 calendar days of the alleged discrimination. Or, if the college complaint procedure was utilized by the student, the OCR complaint must be filed within 60 calendar days from the date of the final decision, unless the time for filing is extended by the OCR for good cause shown. Information on how to proceed may be accessed on OCR’s website.
Title IX Complaints
If the complaint involves Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (“Title IX”), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities, admission, and employment, the complaint must be filed according to the WCC Policy on Sexual Harassment.
SACSCOC Student Complaint Process
Wytheville Community College (WCC) is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate degree. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Wytheville Community College. Students may also follow the SACSCOC Complaint Procedure.