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Compliance and Ethics


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The University of Southern Mississippi desires to resolve student complaints, grievances, and concerns in an expeditious, fair and amicable manner.

Complaint Pathways

  • Students with an academic concern are encouraged to visit our CARES page.
  • All students who are seeking to resolve grievances that were not previously resolved based on communications between the parties involved can file a grievance under the USM’s Student Grievance Policy.
  • Students residing outside of the State of Mississippi while attending USM who have already exhausted all other remedies and desire to resolve a grievance should also follow the University’s Student Grievance Procedure.
  • Any issue that cannot be resolved internally that does not involve Grade Appeals or Conduct matters, can be addressed by having the individual file a complaint with the state agency that handles complaint in the student's state of residence.
  • To comply with the Higher Education Opportunities Act of 2008, institutions offering education must provide enrolled and prospective students with contact information for filing complaints with its accrediting agency and with the appropriate state agency for handling complaints in the student’s state.
    • For matters unrelated to conduct or grades, students also have the right to attempt to resolve complaints by contacting state consumer agencies or other related bodies as described below if resolution with the institution is unsuccessful. 
    • Clicking on any state in the list that begins near the bottom of this page displays the state agency responsible for complaints regarding out-of-state online education programs. 



As of February 5, 2024, no adverse actions related to our online degree programs have been initiated by the Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) or the National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) against The University of Southern Mississippi for the past five years.


Regional Accrediting Agency
A complaint with our regional accrediting agency – the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) – can be filed when there is evidence to support noncompliance with a SACSCOC standard or requirement. Please review the Commission’s complaint policy, procedures, and complaint form. The SACSCOC contact information is below:

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
1866 Southern Lane Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097
Phone: (404) 679-4500
Fax: (404) 679-4558

State Authorizing Agency
A complaint can be filed with our state authorizing agency – the Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation (MCCA)–when there is evidence of the of the following: 
conduct or behavior on the part of the University of Southern Mississippi or any of its agents, representatives or employees that constitute dishonest or fraudulent behavior, including providing false or misleading information to a student
the operation of programs (including distance education) contrary to practices expected by institutional and/or programmatic/specialized accreditors
[The University of Southern Mississippi has a number of programs that are accredited by professional, discipline-specific accrediting bodies. Accredited programs at USM are listed at Contact the Office of the Provost for additional information on program accreditation.]

Please review the MCCA Student Complaint Process.

The MCCA contact information is below:

Dr. Sheriece Robinson
3825 Ridgewood Road
Jackson, MS 39211-6453
Telephone: 601.432.6336
Fax: 601.432.6225 


State Accrediting Agency

If your complaint is not resolved at the institutional level, then you may refer your complaint to the  Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation using the MCCA Student Complaint Form within two years of the incident. If the complaint is outside of MCCA’s jurisdiction, it may be directed to another agency that is authorized to address the concerns, if appropriate.

Note: This process is not applicable for matters related to student grades or discipline/conduct matters.

Consumer Protection

MS students taking online courses may also contact the Attorney General:

Mississippi Consumer Protection Division
Office of the Attorney General
State of Mississippi
PO Box 22947
Jackson, Mississippi 39225-2947
Mississippi Consumer Protection Complaint Form


If your complaint is not resolved at the institutional level by filing a complaint pursuant to the student grievance policy, then out-of-state students residing in NC-SARA (National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement) states, which includes all states except California, may submit complaints to the MS-SARA portal agent:

NC-SARA Student Complaint

Complaint process (students in non-SARA states)

If you are a resident of California and have a complaint, contact the following home state consumer protection agency:
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:

Print and File Complaint Form

Use the Online Complaint Form


Active Duty Receiving Tuition Assistance or Spousal Assistance

File a complaint with the Department of Postsecondary Education Complaint System   

Veterans Using Montgomery or Post 9/11 GI Bill

File a complaint with the Department of Veterans Affairs relative to an institution failing to follow the Principles of Excellence   relative to recruiting or marketing practices, accreditation, financial issues, student loans, post-graduation job opportunities, or change in degree plan/requirements.

GI Bill Beneficiaries

The Mississippi State Approving Agency (SAA), is the approving authority of education and training programs for Mississippi. Our office investigates complaints of GI Bill beneficiaries. While most complaints should initially follow the school grievance policy, if the situation cannot be resolved at the school, the beneficiary should contact our office via email at


File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 

Current Student Receiving Federal Financial Aid

File a complaint with the Department of Education Ombudsman