Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What type of complaints does the Distance Learning Authorization Board have jurisdiction over?


The DLAB has jurisdiction to consider only complaints or disputes that include the following criteria and factors:

  • The institution participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement through the approval of the State of Wisconsin Distance Learning Authorization Board (DLAB) to offer distance education programs out of state. and
  • The complainant has exhausted all internal complaint or grievance options available at the institution and no acceptable outcome was reached; and
  • The complaint relates to an issue, dispute or incident involving the distance education program being offered by the institution which occurred within two (2) calendar years from the date of the alleged violation(s)(Complaints regarding incidents that occurred prior to an institution’s participation in SARA do not fall under the jurisdiction of DLAB.); and
  • One or more of the allegations relate to the complaint:
    • The institution's distance education program does not meet the state authorization requirements in Section 3 (Institutions and Participation) of the SARA Manual; or
    • The institution violated Section 4 (Consumer Protection) of the SARA Manual; or
    • The institution's distance education program does not meet any other standards established by the institution's accrediting agency or SARA

The DLAB has no statutory or lawful authority or responsibility to respond to complaints related to course grades, academic sanctions or discipline/conduct matters in regard to any institution within the State of Wisconsin.

What if I want to complain or file a grievance regarding a grade dispute, academic sanctions, curriculum issues or misconduct on the part of my professor or other staff members at my institution?


For complaints or disputes related to grades, curriculum decision or academic matters, including any alleged misconduct on the part of a professor or staff member, please contact the institution's Office of the Provost or Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The DLAB has no statutory or lawful authority or responsibility to respond to complaints related to course grades, curriculum decisions, academic sanctions or discipline/conduct matters in regard to any institution within the State of Wisconsin.

How do I know if I have a legitimate complaint?

For information related to individual institution complaints or other concerns related to the responsibilities of the DLAB in regard to the enforcement of the Midwestern State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, please see contact for information on how to contact the particular institution involved.

How do I file a complaint?

Please see Students for information on how to file a complaint with DLAB.

Can I file a complaint anonymously?

You may submit a complaint anonymously. However, because we can't contact you for more information it could limit our investigation or even contribute to a decision to not investigate your complaint at all. Therefore, we encourage you to identify yourself in your complaint.

Will my complaint be kept confidential?

The information contained in the complaint will be disclosed to the institution in question in order to investigate the complaint. However, if you are an enrolled student, your complaint will be protected under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and will only be disclosed in accordance with said law. In addition, under the Wisconsin's Open Records Law (Wis. Stats, Ch. 19), your complaint may be available for review on request from a member of the public after the board or agency action is complete if required by law.

How long does the complaint process take?

The complaint process should take approximately sixty (60) days, unless extenuating circumstances require additional time, such as breaks in the academic calendar or additional time required to obtain the necessary information.

What type of outcome can I expect can be the result of filing a complaint?

The DLAB may take the following action:

  • Dismiss the complaint due to insufficient evidence to find that a violation of one or more of the alleged violations occurred;
  • Dismiss the complaint due to lack of cooperation or participation on the part of the complainant;
  • Find that there was sufficient evidence to show that a violation occurred in which a recommended course of action will be provided to the institution that is consistent with the authority granted under SARA Manual; or
  • Refer the complaint to another state agency with jurisdiction and authority over the issue.

Does the DLAB have the authority to require the institution to pay any form of monetary relief as a remedy to my complaint?


The DLAB only has authority to take action as authorized by the SARA Manual, which may include at minimum a dismissal of the complaint for lack of sufficient evidence to repealing an institution's participation in MSARA, if such remedy is determined to be appropriate and necessary. The DLAB cannot force an institution to pay any monetary relief nor can DLAB engage in any collection efforts on behalf of a complainant.

If the DLAB does not have jurisdiction over my complaint and/or determines that the complaint should be dismissed, what other options do I have as a student?


In the event that DLAB determines that the complaint is not within the DLAB's jurisdiction, or is untimely or is dismissed on other grounds, there may be other agencies or offices that may have jurisdiction to consider the complaint. Below is a non-exhaustive list of a few regulatory agencies that may be able to assist the complainant: