RUL 11.36.01 – Procedure for Addressing Academic Written Student Complaints of Undergraduate Students relating to Final Course Grades

Authority: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

History:  First Issued: January 8, 1999 as REG11.40.01.  Last Revised: August 25, 2022.

Related Policies:
NCSU POL04.25.05 – Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy Statement
NCSU REG04.25.02 – Resolution Procedures for Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Complaints
NCSU REG11.35.04 – Written Student Complaints

Additional References:
Written Student Complaints Website
Student Ombuds Services

Contact: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost (919-515-2195)


1.1 This regulation provides a procedure for addressing Written Student Complaints (as defined in REG 11.35.04) of undergraduate students relating to final course grades.


2.1  The existence of this procedure does not bar a student from filing a claim in other forums to the extent permitted by state or federal law.


3.1  Any Written Student Complaint must be filed within 60 calendar days from receipt of the final course grade.  Filing occurs when the Written Student Complaint is submitted through the process listed on the Complaint Website.

3.2  Any of the time limits set forth in this rule may be extended by an appropriate administrator for good cause shown. The request for extension of time should be made before the expiration of the applicable deadline.


4.1 Informal Resolution. Before submitting a Written Student Complaint relating to a final course grade, the student must first pursue informal resolution of the grade complaint by discussing the matter with the instructor who issued the grade to the student.  If informal resolution is not satisfactory, the student may proceed in accordance with section 4.2.

4.2 Submission of a Written Student Complaint. If the issue is not resolved by the informal resolution process described in this Rule, a student may submit a Written Student Complaint by completing an online Written Student Complaint Form confirming the complainant’s status as an NC State student, providing a summary of the complaint, the name of the instructor who issued the grade that is the subject of the complaint, what resolution procedures were pursued before filing the Written Student Complaint, and the complainant’s preferred resolution, and a description of how the action complained about violates a university policy, procedure, or rule.

4.3 Investigation and Decision. Within ten (10) business days of receipt of the submission of the Written Student Complaint, considering the course at issue, the University will assign the Written Student Complaint for review by an appropriate university administrator (the “Reviewer”), generally the department head (or designee) of the course instructor for the course at issue.

4.3.1 Within ten (10) business days of their receipt of the Written Student Complaint, the Reviewer shall inform the instructor of the student’s Written Student Complaint.

4.3.2 Within ten (10) business days of their receipt of notice of the Written Student Complaint, the instructor may provide a written response to the Reviewer.

4.3.3 The Reviewer will review the matter and issue a written decision to the student and instructor within fifteen (15) business days of the deadline for the instructor to submit a written response to the Reviewer.

4.3.4 In no event shall the Reviewer substitute their subjective judgment for the judgment of the instructor. However, Written Student Complaints may be substantiated if it is determined there has been a clear error in grading based on objective criteria and the determination is consistent with the Grades and Grade Point Average Regulation (REG 02.50.03) or if the complaint demonstrates that NC State violated the student’s rights under a university policy, regulation or rule.

4.4 Appeal. The student may appeal the decision by delivering written notice of appeal to the Written Student Complaint Coordinator within ten (10) business days from the date the Reviewer sent the decision to the student. The Written Student Complaint Coordinator will work with the dean of the college for the Reviewer to designate an appropriate University administrator (the “Appellate Reviewer”) to review the appeal.

4.4.1  The written notice of appeal must:

  1. Identify the person whose decision is being appealed;
  2. Provide a brief statement of the grounds for appeal, which at minimum should contain a list of alleged errors in the decision or decision-making process;
  3. Indicate what remedy is requested; and
  4. Be signed and dated by the person filing the appeal.

4.4.2  Grounds for an appeal are limited to showing that:

  1. the decision was clearly erroneous and so lacking in support that no reasonable person could have reached the decision;
  2. the university violated the process laid out in this Rule or other applicable university policies, regulations or rules. The appeal should clearly describe the policy, regulation, or rule alleged to be violated and how it was violated. Reasonable deviations from the procedures will not invalidate a decision unless the student can show that, but for the deviation or error, there likely would have been a different outcome in the case; or
  3. there is new evidence that was not available at the time of the student’s original filing of the complaint, and the new evidence would likely have affected the outcome.

4.4.3  Appeals which are not timely or do not include the information in this section may be dismissed.

4.4.4 The Appellate Reviewer shall inform the instructor and Reviewer of the student’s appeal.  Within 30 days, the Appellate Reviewer shall prepare a written decision and send it to the student, instructor, and Reviewer.  The Appellate Reviewer’s decision shall be final and no further appeal is permitted.