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2023-24 Student Handbook 

Procedures for Appeals and Complaints

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The University’s guideline explaining how to file an appeal for a fee adjustment is available online. Please read the acceptable reasons (www.apsu.edu/appeals) for which fee adjustments are made. If your situation meets the criteria outlined, complete the Appeal Form and submit to the Office of Enrollment and Student Achievement (ESA). Supporting documentation must be sent to the ESA office within five (5) business days of the submission of the appeal. The ESA office will provide a decision in writing via email to the appellant’s official APSU email account. Decisions of the ESA office may be appealed in writing to the Fee Adjustment Appeals Committee, which meets twice each fall and spring semester. The committee chairperson will provide a decision in writing via email to the appellant’s official APSU email account. Appeals of adverse decisions made by this committee must be in writing to the Assistant Vice President for Finance and Administration. A written decision of matters appealed to that office will be sent to the student’s official APSU email account. This concludes the fee adjustment appeals process.

Deadlines for Fee Adjustment Appeals:

  • Fall Semester, Fall I FC and Fall II FC Terms: Feb. 15 of following year
  • Spring Semester, Spring I FC and Spring II FC Terms: Oct. 15 of same year
  • Maymester, Summer (Full), Summer I, Summer II and Summer III FC: Dec. 1 of same year

Appeals received after the stated deadlines will not be considered. For assistance, please contact Enrollment and Student Achievement at 931-221-6540.

Any applicant who does not fulfill requirements for any category of admission may be asked to submit an Appeal for Further Review form to be considered by the University’s Committee on Admissions Standards (https://www.apsu.edu/governance/committees/AdmissionStandCom.php). For assistance, please contact the Office of Admissions at 931-221-7661.

Students who have been classified as out-of-state for fee payment purposes may appeal their residency classification by completing the Residency Application. New students must submit the completed form and supporting documentation to the Office of Admissions, Ellington Lobby, and currently enrolled students must submit their materials to the Offic of the Registrar, Ellington 316. All appeals must be submitted prior to the beginning of the term for which the appeal is filed. Applications for the current term will not be accepted if the term has already begun. Students wishing to further appeal the decision of the Office of Admissions or the Office of the Registrar may do so by contacting the Office of the Registrar and requesting for the application to be reviewed by the Residency Appeals Committee.

For assistance, please contact the Office of the Registrar at 931-221-7150.

Traffic fines and citations may be appealed through accessing the Appeal form found on the APSU Parking and Transportation website. For assistance, please contact the Parking and Transportation Department at 931-221-7275.

Residence hall and dining charges may be appealed using the Housing Appeals Form. The form must be printed, completed and submitted to the Housing Office located in Miller Hall. For assistance, please contact Housing, Residence Life and Dining Services at 931-221-7444.

The purpose of the University’s Student Grade Appeal policy is to hear students’ grievances about the final grade awarded in a course or the method of evaluation. Students may appeal course grades in accordance with the Student Grade Appeal Policy, www.apsu.edu/policy. Once a degree has been posted to the transcript, the academic record is deemed complete and changes will not be made on grades earned prior to the posted degree.

Policy 2:040 details the procedure for appealing a grade. A student should first try to resolve the issue with the faculty member if possible. If this attempt is not agreeable, the student should then appeal in writing to the department chair in the area where the instructor is a member. The departmental assistant can provide information about the name of the department chair. If the situation is not resolved at this level, the student can then appeal to the dean of the college over that department. If the appeal needs to proceed further than the dean, the dean will forward the appeal to the Student Academic Grievance Committee (https://www.apsu.edu/governance/committees/studgrev.php). The dean will notify the student in writing of the final decision.

The purpose of the University’s Non-Academic Grievance policy is to hear students’ grievances and complaints about the action and performance of University personnel in non-academic matters, to determine the validity of the grievance or complaint and to recommend resolution. See Policy 3:002 at www.apsu.edu/policy. For assistance, please contact the Student Affairs office at 931-221-7341.

The Office of Student Affairs will consider a special circumstance withdrawal if the criteria for the withdrawal is met. The criteria set is subject to change at the discretion of the Office of Student Affairs. All necessary paperwork related to the special circumstance withdrawal process should be submitted to the Office of Student Affairs at studentaffairs@apsu.edu. All necessary paperwork related to a specific course drop because of special circumstance should be submitted to Enrollment and Student Achievement at sa@apsu.edu. 

A request of a specific course drop because of exigent circumstance can be requested and must be processed through the office of Enrollment and Student Achievement. This exigent drop could include courses that require physical activity that may be untenable because of health considerations. A special drop can be enacted for any courses that do not fully withdraw the student from the semester. As an example, if the student needs to drop from 12 credit hours to 3 credit hours, the special drop is the applicable option. If the student needs to drop all currently attended courses, then a withdrawal is required.

Backdated Withdrawal
This type of withdrawal is for an event that has occurred that will require special circumstance withdrawal from all classes at the University. Backdated withdrawals can only be enacted for the currently active semester – as an example, if at the beginning of the semester a special circumstance listed below occurred that prevented attendance for greater than 10 calendar days, then you are able to request a backdated withdrawal.

Retroactive Withdrawal
This type of withdrawal is for an event that has occurred that will require special circumstance withdrawal from all classes at the university in a semester that is not currently active. Retroactive withdrawals are needed if the student has a special circumstance that made them unable to attend the university in a previous semester. For example, if a student has a qualifying circumstance occur during the fall semester and is requesting a special circumstance withdraw during the spring semester, they must use the retroactive withdraw request.

Qualifying Factors related to a Drop or Withdrawal
Special circumstance drop or withdrawal requires official paperwork that specifically notes the student’s inability to attend during the requested period of time for drop or withdrawal. The following circumstances are currently considered:


  • Field training exercises
  • Military active deployment
  • Military deployment (training)
  • PCS orders
  • School training orders


  • Hospitalization
  • Immediate family member death
  • Immediate family emergency
  • Doctor’s statement that includes the student’s inability to attend for a specific or prolonged time period
  • Counselor or therapist statement that include the student’s inability to attend for a specific or prolonged time period


  • Police reports
  • Documentation that may support your request that is not listed above

Please keep in mind that this appeal is subject to review by the corresponding offices. 

Special Circumstance Withdrawal Request: email Student Affairs at studentaffairs@apsu.edu

Special Circumstance Drop Request: email Enrollment and Student Achievement at sa@apsu.edu

Student complaints relating to consumer protection laws that involve distance learning education offered under the terms and conditions of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), must first be filed with the institution to seek resolution.

Complainants not satisfied with the outcome of the Institution’s internal process may appeal, within two years of the incident about which the complaint is made, to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (https://www.tn.gov/thec/bureaus/student-aid-and-compliance/postsecondary-state-authorization/request-for-complaint-review.html).

For purposes of this process, a complaint shall be defined as a formal assertion in writing that the terms of SARA or the laws, standards or regulations incorporated by the SARA Policies and Standards have been violated by the institution operating under the terms of SARA.

For a list of SARA member States, please visit the NC-SARA website (https://nc-sara.org/directory). Students residing in non-SARA states should consult their respective State of residence for further instruction for filing a complaint.

Students should be aware that, should they have concerns or complaints about their program or their financial aid, this institution has a complaint procedure. (See Academic and Non-Academic Grievance Procedure contained herein.) To the extent possible, students should seek a resolution of such matters through the institution’s complaint procedure before involving others. Under Tennessee’s open records law, all or parts of complaints will generally be available for review upon request from a member of the public. Complaints of fraud, waste or abuse may be made by calling the Tennessee Comptroller’s Hotline for Fraud, Waste and Abuse at 1-800-232-5454. Students or prospective students who wish to file a complaint related to accreditation may contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Austin Peay State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, education specialist, and doctoral degrees. Degree-granting institutions also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Austin Peay State University may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (www.sacscoc.org).