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Complaint Procedure

Formal Complaint Procedure

Virginia International University is committed to providing a positive educational experience for its students. VIU faculty and staff attempt to create, in all areas, an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. For this reason, VIU has established a procedure to address any school-related problems, concerns, or complaints to ensure that student concerns on academic and non-academic matters are constantly aware, addressed, resolved, improve and enhance the quality of services.

The life cycle of a complaint is made up of five stages, wherein the first stage encourages informal resolutions to address and resolve the student complaints as quickly as possible. In the event that matters are unresolved or do not result in a satisfactory outcome, the complaints can be escalated to the next stage. Certain complaints will receive immediate attention by the Department of Quality Assurance and a formal investigation will be launched, based on the urgency and sensitive nature of a given complaint.

Stage 1: Informal complaint

VIU team members maintain an open-door policy. Students may express concerns to any administrator. In order to resolve the problem at the earliest opportunity, all students are encouraged to address their complaints initially to the VIU staff member involved or the other department responsible for overseeing the immediate area causing the concerns. It is advisable for VIU staff members and department involved to briefly record the complaints in writing and share with other departments if the case and experience could benefit other departments.  For example, academic concerns will be handled by the instructors directly. Students should first discuss the problem with the instructor and then with the Dean of the School, if necessary. If the problem is not resolved at that level, the student should then contact the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Stage 2: Referral to Appropriate Executive

In the event that a complaint may not be resolved at the departmental level, the complaint will be escalated to the next highest level. If the complaint is academic in nature, it would be escalated from the faculty to the dean, and eventually the Chief Academic Officer.  A complete list of possible escalation is below:

Department Receiving ComplaintExecutive Level Escalation

Academic Affairs VP of Academic Affairs
Accounting Associate VP, Budget & Planning
Admissions Associate VP, Local & Community Relations
Alumni Relations Associate VP, Chief of Staff
Business & Property Management Director of Operations, Facility & Property Management
Career Center Associate VP, Chief of Staff
Financial Aid Associate VP, Local & Community Relations
Human Resources Director of Human Resources
Information Technology Executive VP of IT & Business Development
Inquiry & Communications Executive VP of IT & Business Development
Institutional Effectiveness VP, Institutional Effectiveness
International Student Services Executive VP of IT & Business Development
Library VP of Academic Affairs
Marketing Associate VP, Local & Community Relations
Media & Public Relations VP, Institutional Effectiveness
Online Education VP of Academic Affairs
Quality Assurance & Compliance VP, Institutional Effectiveness
Registrar VP of Academic Affairs
Scholarship Office Associate VP, Chief of Staff
Student Affairs Associate VP, Chief of Staff
University Affairs Executive VP of University Affairs
Writing, Media & Research Center VP of Academic Affairs

Stage 3: Complaint to Institutional Effectiveness & Quality Assurance Department

Students have various options to file complaints and suggestions for academic and non-academic matters to the Institutional Effectiveness & Quality Assurance Department. There are three options that students can choose to file the complaints and suggestions.

  1. Online: Individuals can complete the online suggestion form on the website or send an email to qa@viu.edu.
  2. On-campus: Suggestion boxes are placed at the front desk of each campus, along with business cards for the Quality Assurance team
  3. In person: Students can walk in to discuss complaints with the Quality Assurance department every day of the week.

Quality Assurance staff investigates the complaint, interviews the parties involved, find the related resources and provides the resolution. The complaint is logged and is forwarded to the related department to review, improve and enhance the quality of the education and services.

Stage 4: Referral to Office of the President

If the complaint or grievance may not be resolved at any of the previous three levels, a student is referred directly to the Office of the President for resolution of their complaint.  The President and his support staff take the time to listen to the student or staff member, hear the grievances, and also receives a full, written report on the background of the issue from Quality Assurance and tries to find a fair and agreeable resolution for all parties.

Stage 5: Formal Written Complaint

At any time throughout the complaint process, at the written request of the student for issues that are academic in nature, an ad-hoc Grievance Committee comprised of the Provost, one senior faculty member, the Dean of the School, and other invited staff or faculty. The Committee will convene to address concerns which remain unresolved. The ad-hoc Grievance Committee will convene within ten (10) working days of a written request from the student. The student will be notified of the committee’s decision within three working days of the meeting.

If after following the above stated procedure, the student feels that his or her concerns have not been resolved, he or she may address these concerns in writing to the following organizations:

State Council for Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV)
James Monroe Building,
101 N. 14th Street,
Richmond, VA 23219
Institutional Approval Coordinator
Accrediting Council for
Independent Colleges and
Schools (ACICS)
750 First Street NE, Suite 980
Washington, DC 20002

VIU ensures that a student will not be subjected to unfair action as a result of initiating a complaint proceeding.

For Intensive English as a Second Language (ESL) Program Students Only:
Commission on English Language Accreditation (CEA)
1001 North Fairfax Street, Suite 630
Alexandria, VA 22314 USA
CEA Complaint Procedures can be found  here.

VIU ensures that a student will not be subjected to unfair action as a result of initiating a complaint proceeding.