Compliance and Ethics
Compliance and Ethics
The University of Southern Mississippi desires to resolve student complaints, grievances, and concerns in an expeditious, fair and amicable manner.
As of January 15, 2021, 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 (MCAA)–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 https://www.usm.edu/about/accreditation. 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. Casey Prestwood
3825 Ridgewood Road
Jackson, MS 39211-6453
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.
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:
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:
Active Duty Receiving Tuition Assistance or Spousal Assistance
File a complaint with the Department of Postsecondary Education Complaint System https://afvec.langley.af.mil/pecs/DoDPECS.aspx
File a complaint with the Department of Veterans Affairs https://www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/Feedback.asp relative to an institution failing to follow the Principles of Excellence https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/principles_of_excellence.asp relative to recruiting or marketing practices, accreditation, financial issues, student loans, post-graduation job opportunities, or change in degree plan/requirements.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau https://www.consumerfinance.gov/practitionerresources/students/
Current Student Receiving Federal Financial Aid
File a complaint with the Department of Education Ombudsman https://feedback.studentaid.ed.gov/s/?language=en_US