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Consumer Information Policies

State Distance Education Complaint Process


NC-SARA logoSARA is an acronym for the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, which is an interstate agreement that allows colleges and universities located in a SARA member state to offer online classes in other SARA member states without needing to obtain authorization to do so from each state individually. The Commonwealth's Department of Higher Education (DHE) serves as the Massachusetts state portal entity for SARA. This means the DHE receives and evaluates institutional SARA applications, administers the student complaint process for students of SARA institutions operating in Massachusetts, and provides support to SARA institutions in Massachusetts. Lasell University is approved by DHE to operate under SARA in providing distance (online) education.

SARA Student Complaints

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, in its capacity as the SARA portal entity for Massachusetts, reviews and evaluates student complaints regarding distance learning programs offered by Massachusetts-based institutions that are members of SARA in accordance with 610 CMR 12.07. Complaints that should be filed as a SARA Complaint are those that pertain to distance (online) education provided by Massachusetts-based SARA institutions to students residing in other states pursuant to SARA only. Complaints about a SARA institution's operations or activities in Massachusetts can be filed at the link below and will be resolved pursuant to 610 CMR 2.00 or otherwise in accordance with Lasell's policies.

Filing a Complaint

Lasell University is committed to offering excellent education and student experience of the highest quality. In the event that you have a serious complaint against the University relating to distance education, students should be aware of the appropriate processes to follow.

Should you have a complaint, the first step you should take is to inform the University by completing the Student Complaint Form. We want to know your concerns and would like to work with you to resolve any issues you identify. Therefore, complaints relating to distance education should be directed to the following administrators:

For Graduate and Undergraduate Programs: Michelle Niestepski, Dean of Student Success, or Chrystal Porter, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Any concern should be expressed as soon as possible after it arises.

For Massachusetts Residents and Online Students in Non-SARA Member States and Territories

After you have exhausted the complaint procedures made available by Lasell University administration,  if your complaint has not been resolved, you may file a consumer complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education by using the consumer complaint form. The DHE consumer complaint form should be used by students who are located in:  

  • Massachusetts
  • Non-SARA Member States or Territories (e.g., California, Guam, etc.)

For Online Students Located in SARA Member States and Territories 

After you have exhausted the complaint procedures put in place by Lasell University by emailing Michelle Niestepski, Dean of Student Success, or Chrystal Porter, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, you may file a complaint with the DHE by using the SARA complaint form. The DHE SARA complaint form should be used by students who are located in SARA member states and territories.   

Additional information from the DHE's SARA complaint website is below: 

The SARA complaint process is as follows:   

  1. Students must first attempt to resolve their complaint using internal administrative procedures offered by the SARA institution.
  2. After all administrative remedies have been exhausted with the MA-SARA institution, the student may submit a SARA Complaint via the URL below.
  3. The Department shall send a copy of the complaint to the institution that is the subject of the complaint;
  4. Within 30 days of the date that the Department sends a copy of the complaint to the institution, the institution must provide a written response to the student and the Department.  

Learn more about DHE's complaint processes.