Online Student Consumer Information – College of Professional Studies (formerly College of Online Education)

Please refer to the institution-wide Student Consumer Information page to access a list of comprehensive consumer information.

State Licensure for Online Programs

Johnson & Wales University was approved as a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) in 2016. The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a national initiative to provide more access to online courses while maintaining compliance standards with state regulatory agencies. SARA allows institutions to provide online courses outside of their own state borders by seeking and maintaining state approvals via a streamlined process. Learn more about SARA.

NC-Sara Approved Institution

Johnson & Wales University has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements

SARA Approval of JWU

On November 9, 2015, the New England Board of Higher Education approved the state of Rhode Island to join SARA. On May 3, 2016, the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) approved institutional participation for Johnson & Wales University. The State of Rhode Island approved Johnson & Wales University to participate in NC-SARA on April 14, 2016. NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. As a SARA member in the state of Rhode Island authorized by the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner, Johnson & Wales University is authorized to provide distance education to students in all of the other SARA states (listed below).

Current SARA Member Jurisdictions

Current authorized jurisdictions subject to the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) and the National Council for SARA (NC-SARA) standards include 49 states (all but California) and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. California has its own process for the filing of complaints by online students living in that state that is discussed under the Student Complaint Process for Online Students in Non-SARA Jurisdictions below. Find NC-SARA complaint information

Online Student Complaint Process

Information on Student Complaint Processes for students enrolled in the College of Professional Studies (formerly College of Online Education) is below. Review additional Student Consumer Information related to all other aspects of Johnson & Wales University.

If you are enrolled as an online student and you have a complaint that cannot be resolved through Johnson & Wales University’s internal complaint process, as set forth in the JWU Professional Studies Catalog, you may file a complaint with the Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education (RI-CPE), as described below in Student Complaint Process for Online Students in SARA Jurisdictions, or, if living in California, with the California Department of Consumer Affairs (CADCA), as described below in Student Complaint Process for Online Students in Non-SARA Jurisdictions.

Initial Complaints To Be Filed with JWU

Before filing a complaint with RI-OPC or CADCA, online students are expected to first file an internal complaint with JWU, by following the process outlined in the JWU Professional Studies Catalog.

The complaint will be reviewed, evaluated, and, whenever possible, resolved by the relevant JWU personnel. If the student bringing the complaint is not satisfied with the outcome of JWU’s internal complaint process, the complainant may file his/her complaint, within two years of the incident about which the complaint is made, with RI-OPC or CADCA, depending on where the online student resides. The resolution of the complaint by RI-OPC or CADCA will be final.

Student Complaint Process for Online Students in SARA Jurisdictions (All But California)

RI-CPE has promulgated a “Student Complaint Procedure.” That procedure is posted on the RI-CPE website. As specified in that procedure, JWU online students may file the following types of complaints with RI-CPE:

  • Allegations of Consumer Protection Violations, including Fraud and False Advertising
  • Allegations of Violations of State laws, Rules or Licensing Requirements
  • Allegations of Violations of Accreditation Standards
  • Allegations of Violations of Standards Established by NC-SARA
  • Complaints About Education Program Quality
  • Other Complaints as specific in the RI-CPE Student Complaint Policy

As specified in the RI-CPE Student Complaint Procedure, such student complaints shall be delivered or mailed to the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner (RI-OPC) at the following address:           

Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner
560 Jefferson Boulevard
Warwick, RI  02886-1304

The phone number for RI-OPC is (401) 736-1100. Visits the RI-OPC website.

Student Complaint Process for Online Students in Non-SARA Jurisdictions (California)

If you are enrolled as an online student living in a state that is not a member SARA (currently only California) and you have a complaint that cannot be resolved through Johnson & Wales University’s internal complaint process, you may file a complaint with CADCA. On behalf of California student residents, CADCA will evaluate complaints, identify the appropriate accrediting agency or governmental entity to handle the complaint, and request a response from the entity regarding the final disposition of the complaint. The address and contact information for CADCA are below:

California Department of Consumer Affairs
Consumer Information Center

1625 North Market Blvd., Suite N-112
Sacramento, CA 95834

Phone: (833) 942-1120
Email: [email protected]

File a complaint with CDCA

For a complete list of relevant state agencies within the U.S., please download the list of State Agencies.

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