State Authorization

State authorization is the legal directive that requires higher education institutions to be in compliance with the laws and regulations of each state where it conducts business. Each state has the authority to regulate educational activities that are delivered within and across its borders, including distance/online education.   Compliance with individual state requirements is now part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, Amended 2010.  The act states that institutions offering distance education courses or programs must provide current and prospective students with the contact information for filing complaints with the college, its accrediting agency, and with the state agencies that handle complaints in the students’ state of residence. There can be significant consequences to institutions that are not in compliance with state authorization regulations, so Sandhills Community College takes this requirement very seriously.

The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) provides a regional approach to oversight of distance education and streamlines the process for institutions to become compliant in other states for distance education. Membership in NC-SARA is voluntary. NC-SARA ensures students are afforded various consumer protection benefits as well as access to quality programs by establishing a set of guidelines to which member institutions must adhere. You can read more about NC-SARA here.  In December, 2017 Sandhills Community College was granted membership into NC-SARA. While membership in NC-SARA allows Sandhills to meet the basic state authorization requirements in other member states, we still must be compliant with professional licensing board requirements in other states.


To verify that Sandhills Community College is authorized to offer Distance Learning courses in your state, please visit the NC-SARA website. California is not part of NC-SARA. As an out-of-state public institution, SCC is not under the purview of the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education. SCC is in compliance with California regulations and has been approved to offer online/distance learning programs to California residents.


Student Complaint Process for Online Courses

Current students who wish to resolve a grievance should first follow Sandhills' Student Grievance Procedure (Adjudication) outlined in the current college catalog (page 90). A formal grievance procedure requires the Grievance Appeal Form. To access the form, students select eForms on the MySCC portal, login, select Forms, and then choose Grievance Appeal within the Student Affairs section.

Former students should use the Incident Reporting Form.

Out-of-state students who wish to file a complaint with their home state should refer to the list of state agencies responsible for handling complaints.

Student Complaint Information by State and Agency

Contact for Student Conduct
Dr. DJ Farmer, Vice President of Student Services and Enrollment Management
Phone: (910) 695-3714
Office: 123 Stone Hall

Contact for Student Academic
Dr. Julie Voigt, Vice President, Instruction
Phone: (910) 695-3715
Office: 106 Stone Hall


NC Post-Secondary Education Complaint Procedures

If a complaint cannot be resolved through the institution’s complaint process, students may file a complaint with the North Carolina Post-Secondary Education Complaints unit. Please review the NC Post-Secondary Education Student Complaint Policy (PDF) and submit their complaint using the online form at

For more information contact:

North Carolina Post-Secondary Education Complaints
223 S. West Street, Suite 1800
Raleigh, NC 27603

Phone: (919) 962-4550
Website: North Carolina Post-Secondary Education Complaints


SACSCOC Student Complaint Process

Sandhills Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates. If a complaint directly related to specific compliance with the Principles of Accreditation is not satisfactorily resolved, students are able to file a complaint with SACSCOC.

Students should follow the SACSCOC Complaint Procedure.

1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097
Telephone: 404-679-4500


SARA-NC Complaint Process and Information

Students may also file a complaint through SARA-NC.

SARA North Carolina
North Caroline State Education Assistance Authority
P.O. Box 41349
Raleigh, NC 27629
T: (855) SARA-1-NC (727-2162)
T: (919) 549-8614, ext. 4667
SARA-NC Complaint Process
SARA-NC Complaint Form (PDF)

Professional Licensure and Certification programs offered by Sandhills Community College