Comments & Complaints

The Commission has two means of hearing from students, faculty, staff, and members of the public about its member institutions: (1) Public Comments and (2) Complaints. Both offer important opportunities for the Commission to hear from individuals about the quality of affiliated institutions.

Neither the Public Comment nor the Complaint process is designed to offer a remedy for personal grievances. In no case are anonymous submissions accepted.

Public Comments

In keeping with federal regulations, Public Comments must be solicited by the Commission and the institution during an institution’s comprehensive evaluation. Comments are forwarded to the institution’s Chief Executive Officer, who has the opportunity to respond. The Public Comment and institutional response, if provided, are considered by the Commission as part of the institution’s evaluation for accreditation. (Consult the schedule of Upcoming Evaluations to see a list of institutions undergoing comprehensive evaluations.)

Public comments regarding an individual’s experiences and observations, positive or negative, about the quality of a member institution and its programs may also be submitted at a time other than an institution’s comprehensive evaluation.  A summary of all topics covered in Public Comments submitted at other times (without identifying the institutions or the commenters) is provided to the Commission annually. The Commission reserves the right to take action as it deems appropriate or necessary on Public Comments. 

For further information, consult the policy and procedures for Public Comments. For guidance on filing a Public Comment, email


Complaints are more formal expressions of concern regarding an institution’s compliance with the Standards for Accreditation.

A complaint must meet nine criteria to be considered by the Commission. A complaint must:

  1. Focus on general institutional conditions, not individual grievances.
  2. Cite specific Standards or Criteria that may be violated and provide substantial evidence of such violation. Such evidence should state relevant and provable facts beyond general allegations. Evidence cannot be submitted via a live webpage or other shared document. All evidence must be submitted in a manner that, once submitted, can no longer be edited.
  3. Demonstrate that a serious effort has been made to pursue grievance or complaint procedures provided within the institution.
  4. Include full disclosure about any other external channels the complainant is pursuing to resolve the complaint, including legal action.
  5. Be submitted in a timely manner and refer to current or recent matters at the institution. Except in extraordinary circumstances, the Commission will not consider complaints if the conditions alleged occurred more than three years prior to the filing of the complaint.
  6. Include a summary of the resolution the complainant is seeking.
  7. Not relate to matters that the complainant has included in complaints or public comments previously submitted to and acted upon by the Commission.
  8. Be submitted by the complainant and not by an individual acting on behalf of the complainant unless evidence is provided to confirm that such complainant is incapacitated or otherwise unable to act on his/her behalf.
  9. Be submitted through the Commission’s Complaint Form available on the NECHE website. The complaint must be signed and include permission for the form and related materials to be forwarded to the institution. The Commission does not accept anonymous complaints.

The Commission recognizes the importance of timely resolution of complaints, consistent with fairness to the complainant and the institution. In cases where circumstances beyond the Commission’s control necessitate modification of the timeline below, the involved parties will be so informed.

  1. Commission staff review and respond to complaints or inquiries about complaints within 30 working days of receipt.
    a) If the complaint does not meet each of the nine criteria outlined above and/or is found to be not within the scope of Commission policies and/or jurisdiction, the complainant is informed, and the matter closed. (Individuals with concerns that do not meet the criteria for complaints may be advised to submit Public Comments.)
    b) If the complaint meets the nine criteria outline above, appears to be within the scope of Commission policies and jurisdiction, and is adequately documented, a copy of the complaint and supporting documentation is forwarded to the institution’s chief executive officer, who is requested to provide a response within 30 working days. The matter is then placed on the agenda of the next Commission meeting.
    c) In the event a complainant revises or updates a complaint after it has been accepted, Commission staff may review and respond to the revised complaint within 30 working days in accordance with paragraphs a) and b) above.
  2. If the institution acknowledges the complaint is valid, it advises the Commission in writing of the actions taken to rectify the situation. Should the institution deny that the complaint is valid, it provides the Commission a written response indicating why it believes the allegations made are either untrue or do not represent a breach of the Commission’s standards. Such a response should include supportive documentation where appropriate.
  3. At its next scheduled meeting, the Commission considers the complaint and the institutional response and takes action as it deems appropriate. The Commission Chair, at their sole discretion, may call a special meeting to act on a complaint when it is believed in the public interest to do so.
  4. The complainant and the institution are notified in writing of the Commission’s determination regarding the complaint within 30 working days after the Commission meeting.
  5. Member institutions shall not take retaliatory action against an individual who has filed a complaint with the Commission, or against an individual who expresses concerns privately to the visiting team at the time of a comprehensive evaluation or other institutional visit. Allegations of retaliatory action will be reviewed by the Commission. If the Commission finds that an institution has taken any form of retaliatory action in response to the filing of a complaint, the Commission will treat such action as a violation of Standard 9 on Integrity, Transparency, and Public Disclosure and may take action as it deems appropriate and necessary.
  6. Complaints against institutions accredited by other recognized institutional accrediting bodies will be referred to the appropriate accrediting agency.
  7. Complaint materials and the Commission’s decision become part of the institution’s NECHE file. At the time of an institution’s comprehensive evaluation, if the Commission has received three or more complaints concerning the same matter during the last accreditation cycle, it provides the visiting team with a summary of those complaints and their disposition. The visiting team is then asked to confirm that the institution’s practice in the matter is in compliance with the Standards for Accreditation.
  8. The Commission generally discloses the identity of the complainant; however, in extreme circumstances, the Commission may determine that a matter of concern is best submitted to the chief executive officer of the institution for response without identifying the name of the complainant. In all instances, the complainant must self-identify to the Commission and provide permission to have the complaint submitted to the institution.
  9. Once an institution has responded to a complaint, in unusual circumstances and at its sole discretion, the Commission may send the institution’s response to the complainant along with a request for additional information.


The Commission processes complaints as stated in this policy, using good faith in its review. The Commission reserves the right to terminate any further processing on a complaint or suspend consideration of future complaint inquiries and/or complaints by the complainant(s) for a period of up to five years if the complainant(s) is threatening or aggressive in communications with the Commission or Commission staff, or in the judgment of the Commission, the repetitive nature and volume of the complaints by the complainant(s) rise to the level of harassment.

Complaints are reviewed to ensure that they meet the Commission’s criteria listed above. Consult the FAQs About Complaints to ensure that your concern meets the criteria. Individuals with concerns that do not meet the criteria for complaints are encouraged to submit those concerns as Public Comments.

If the complaint meets the Commission’s nine criteria for consideration, it is forwarded to the institution’s president, who is asked to respond within 30 days. At its next regularly scheduled meeting, the Commission considers both the complaint and the institution’s response and determines whether or not further action is required. The complainant and the institution are notified in writing of the Commission’s decision in the matter.

For further information, consult the policy on Consideration of Complaints Against Affiliated Institutions. For guidance on filing either a Public Comment or a Complaint, email

Registering a Complaint with a State

For information on registering a complaint against an institution with an agency within the student’s state of residency, refer to the contact information below:

Complaint Form

To submit a complaint to the Commission, please complete and submit the electronic complaint form, accessible through the link below.