Formal Student Complaints

Grievances and Appeals of College Actions

It is the general expectation at LWTech that an attempt should be made to resolve all complaints in an informal manner. The interests of all are best served when complaints are resolved at the lowest possible level of the administrative structure. Any employee of the College receiving a complaint concerning a faculty or staff member shall encourage the complainant to discuss the situation with the faculty or staff member involved before meeting with anyone else. If that step does not resolve the situation, the following procedure may be used by the student to file a formal complaint. 

  1. Students may appeal or grieve a college action (excluding area described by 7A-7C below) by filing a written formal complaint with the appropriate vice president or executive cabinet leader.
    1. Formal complaints must be filed with twenty-one (21) days of notice of the college action. Documented extenuating circumstances (such as medical complications or recall to military duty) may extend this timeframe.
    2. Failure to timely file a formal complaint constitutes a waiver of the right to grieve or appeal and the college action shall be deemed final.
    3. The formal complaint shall be filed with the Vice President of Instruction regarding academic actions, with the Vice President of Administrative Services for administrative and business service issues, and with the Vice President of Student Services for other student matters. Other executive cabinet leaders that may receive formal complaints include the Executive Director of Human Resources, the Director of Marketing and Communications, the Director of Institutional Research and Grants, the Executive Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Chief Information Officer, and the Director of the Foundation.
  2. The formal complaint must include a brief statement explaining why the student is seeking review of the college action.
  3. The parties to a formal complaint shall be the student and the college employee who initiated the college action.
  4. A student who timely files a formal complaint regarding a college action has a right to a prompt, fair, and impartial review of the matter.
  5. Upon receipt of the formal complaint, the college bears the burden of establishing the evidentiary facts underlying the college action based on a preponderance of the evidence. 
  6. From the date of receipt of the formal complaint, the vice president or other executive cabinet leader has 15 business days to render a written decision to both parties. The brief written statement will minimally contain the reasons for the decision. This decision is final.
  7. This procedure does not apply to:
    1. Grade appeals which are described separately below.
    2. Student Conduct Decisions which are described separately below.
    3. Equal Opportunity and Title IX complaints which are described separately below
  8. Please file your written formal complaint online.

Grade Appeals

A grade appeal only applies to the final course grade. The assignment of a grade is the sole right and responsibility of the instructor, reflecting his or her careful and deliberate judgment. Assigned grades are presumed to be correct. Students have the right to appeal a grade assigned in error or perceived as prejudiced, arbitrary, or capricious.  

In a grade appeal, the appropriate instructional division dean will meet only with the student and the instructor. No other advocate may be present. The student is responsible for knowing and initiating the grade appeal process; the burden of proof rests on the student. The student must file grade appeal with the appropriate division dean as indicated below within the academic quarter following the quarter for which the grade was received. Documented extenuating circumstances (such as medical complications or recall to military duty) may extend this timeline. 

Full procedures and forms are available online.

Student Conduct Appeals

Students may appeal a disciplinary action by filing a written notice of appeal within twenty-one (21) days of service of the conduct decision.  Failure to timely file a notice of appeal constitutes a waiver of the right to appeal and the student conduct officer’s decision shall be deemed final. 

Full procedures are available in the Student Handbook.

Equal Opportunity and Title IX Complains

Students should direct complaints to the college’s Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator

Notification of Title IV Student Complaint Process:

The Higher Education Act (HEA) prohibits an institution of higher education from engaging in a “substantial misrepresentation of the nature of its educational program, its financial charges, or the employability of its graduates.” 20 U.S.C. §1094(c)(3)(A). Further, each State must have “a process to review and appropriately act on complaints concerning the institution including enforcing applicable State laws.” 34 C.F.R. § 600.9. The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) maintains a process to investigate complaints of this nature brought by community and technical college students in the State of Washington. For more information, contact the SBCTC Student Services Office at (360) 704-4315 or the SBCTC website.

Students Who Live Outside of Washington State Enrolled in an Online Course

The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) has authority to investigate student complaints against specific schools. WSAC may not be able to investigate every student complaint. Visit for information regarding the WSAC complaint process.