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Section 3: Student Expectations and Responsibilities:
Petitions, Appeals, Grievances, and Complaints

The guidelines and policies that follow are designed to provide faculty and students with a common understanding of Walden’s expectations on important issues in the classroom.

Process for Petitions, Appeals, Grievances, and Complaints

This Walden University Student Handbook describes policies and procedures for matters including but not limited to academic policies, transfer-of-credit evaluations, admissions, grade appeals, and the Student Code of Conduct. When an outcome is not to students’ satisfaction or expectation, students may initiate a number of types of academic and other requests, including expressions of concern. Students may initiate this process by submitting the proper online form to the Student Success Advising Team.

Students should consult specific sections of this Walden University Student Handbook for the circumstances around a given request. The university always attempts to provide a prompt response; however, the complexity of the request and procedure for resolution may determine the time frame for arriving at a decision as necessary.

Note: Also see the Petitions for Policy Exceptions section of this Walden University Student Handbook.

The types of student-initiated requests are as follows:

  • Petition: A petition is the vehicle used in requesting a waiver of a particular institutional policy due to events beyond one’s control and or legitimate circumstances that render a particular policy as not applicable.
  • Academic Appeal: An academic appeal is a request to have an academic policy-related decision of the university reconsidered on the sole grounds that the original decision made was noncompliant with established university procedure or that reconsideration be granted based on new information pertinent to the original request.
  • Grade Appeal: A grade appeal is an appeal that is limited to reconsideration of a final grade in a course. The criteria for reconsideration are limited to mathematical error in the calculation of the final grade, that the grade was determined in a manner that differed from the grade calculation formula in the course syllabus, or that the grade was determined in a manner sufficiently egregious to warrant review by others (rare).
  • Grievance: A grievance is a formal announcement from an individual to the university that a violation of university policy or procedure has allegedly occurred of sufficient gravity that the grievant has been impacted negatively. The grievance may be directed toward the university, a staff member, or a student.
  • Complaint: A complaint is a notice from the complainant to the university that he or she is not satisfied with a level of service, some inconvenience, technical support, or other matter that the complainant feels has detracted from his or her student experience. The university regards all such complaints as important to the improvement of the Walden student experience.

Petitions for Policy Exemptions

Excluding matters covered under the policies regarding academic appeals related to the Code of Conduct, grievances, transfer-of-credit evaluations, admission, and grade appeals, all exceptions to university policies must be formally petitioned within 30 calendar days of the last day of classes of the academic term in which the situation occurred, using the Student Petition Request Form. Students can access this form from the Student Request Forms tab of their portal, under Support. Supporting documentation must accompany all petitions. All supporting documentation must be submitted within the same 30-calendar-day time frame as the petition in order for the request to be considered. There will be no consideration of any petitions or supporting materials beyond 30 calendar days of the last day of classes for the term.

The student bears the responsibility to submit all relevant documentation, including email correspondence, curriculum materials, and external documents supporting the petition, to their student success advisor, via email address

Once the petition is received, an student success advisor will review and verify the submitted documentation. The advisor may contact any of the parties named in the petition to verify information. The advisor will determine whether or not the petition falls into the category of an exception to university policies.

After the documentation has been verified, the student success advisor will forward it to the student’s dean or executive director or their designees, with a recommendation, if appropriate. The dean or executive director or their designees will review the information, make a decision recommendation to the bursar, notify the student in writing of the decision, and notify any relevant university offices. The decision of the bursar will be final.

Note to District of Columbia Residents. If the complaint is not resolved at the school level through its complaint procedure, students may file a complaint with the District of Columbia Higher Education Licensure Commission, 1050 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002, (202) 481-3951.