Academic Resources

Academic Grievances

Academic Grievance Procedure

An "academic grievance" is a claim by an enrolled student receiving academic credit for a course that a specific academic decision or action (such as the assignment of a final grade or academic dismissal of a student or other grade assignment) has violated published policies and procedures, or has been applied to the grievant in a manner different from that used for other students.

Additional information regarding relevant terms, resolution process steps, and formal Grievance appeal procedures can be found in the Academic Grievance Procedure for Students Policy 10-002.   

What is (and is NOT) considered an Academic Grievance?

  • Academic grievances will not deal with general student complaints.
  • An academic grievance must include a reference to a violation of a specific USF Policy, or an academic decision that was applied differently to the grievant than other students to be considered under this Policy.
  • Disagreement or issues with individual test grades, responses to exam questions or general disagreement with the academic discretion or professional judgment of instructors, will not be considered grounds for an academic grievance, except where they impact the final grade.
    • If a student has a concern on an individual assignment, and would like some formal consideration, the student should contact the instructor to discuss the issue and may submit the concern as a general complaint in writing to the instructor. If the student and instructor cannot resolve the complaint, the student may forward the complaint to the instructor’s supervisor and that supervisor shall review the complaint and provide a response to both the student and instructor. If the supervisor identifies a need for a review by another office or process, the supervisor may make an additional referral.
  • Dismissals based on University protocols such as failure to maintain GPA, probation for academic performance or other automatic administrative actions are not grievable.
  • Only the final grades assigned in a course, final actions or dismissals by the academic unit are grievable.

Step-by-Step Process for Submitting an Academic Grievance

Please Note: For the purposes of this Policy, each step is afforded three (3) weeks as a standard time limit.

  • Students must first make a reasonable effort to resolve any academic grievance with the course instructor.
  • If the situation cannot be resolved or a meeting with the instructor is not feasible, the student must file a notification letter to both the department Chairperson/Director and Dean.
    • This concise written statement must include specific reference to the following:
      • Published USF Policy, procedure or official published catalog and the manner in which it was allegedly violated;
      • A description of the manner in which the student was treated in a substantially inequitable manner and a statement indicating the remedy sought;
      • Supporting documentation of all claims in the grievance; and
      • The effort the student made to resolve the issue with the instructor.
  • The department Chairperson/Director must determine if the matter is an Academic Grievance (a specific Policy violated or a student treated differently than others) or if the matter is a complaint regarding the course or instructor.
  • The Chairperson/Director will review the student's written statement to determine whether the matter is an Academic Grievance.
    • If the Chairperson/Director determines that the matter is not an Academic Grievance, the Chairperson/Director will discuss the complaint with the student and/or the faculty member and must advise the Dean of the complaint and the recommended resolution if any. The Dean will then review the classification of the complaint as not subject to the Academic Grievance Process and advise the student and faculty member in writing of the Dean’s decision
    • If the Chairperson/Director determines the matter is an Academic Grievance, the Chairperson shall provide a copy of the student’s statement to the instructor. The instructor may file a written response to the grievance and the Process will continue.
  • The department Chairperson/Director shall discuss the student’s statement with the student and the instructor to see if the grievance can be resolved. 
  • If the grievance cannot be resolved, the department Chair/Director shall notify both the student and the instructor, and will inform the student of their right to file a written request to move the grievance to a Formal Grievance Appeal.

Students may direct any questions related to the Academic Grievance Policy to

Tips for Submitting an Academic Grievance

Tip No. 1: Addressing the situation promptly is critically important for the process.

Tip No. 2: Any written communication you send to the faculty member/chair/committee must clearly explain how the policy was violated or applied to you in a manner different from that used for other students. Resist the urge to add extraneous information or disparaging remarks.

Tip No. 3: You must provide convincing factual evidence that a violation of policy or syllabus occurred (or that a policy/grading practice was applied to you in a manner different from other students). If you cannot identify a violation, then your complaint is not a grievance.

Academic Grievance Procedure for Students

Academic Grievance Process for Students

Students may direct any questions related to the Academic Grievance Policy to