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Academic Appeals

Every college and university has a process for students to file an appeal (sometimes called a GRIEVANCE) to challenge a grade or other adverse decision, such as SUSPENSION OR DISMISSAL, based on the student’s claim that the grade, suspension or dismissal is unfair. Other outcomes that can be addressed in a grade appeal include rulings that require a student to repeat a course or being dismissed from a particular degree program. ACADEMIC APPEALS in public colleges and universities are based on due process rights and require a student to allege and prove a denial of PROCEDURAL DUE PROCESS or SUBSTANTIVE DUE PROCESS. Procedural due process claims must argue that a student did not receive a fair hearing to challenge the grade or other adverse academic decision.

These claims include probation appeals, academic suspension appeals and academic dismissal appeals. Substantive due process claims must argue that the adverse decision was “arbitrary and capricious.” Courts have ruled that this standard requires a judge to find the decision so lacking in facts and/or reason as to “shock the conscience of the court.”

Cohen-Law-Firm-Student-Acedemic-Appeals-Lawyers-Overland-Park-KSStudents at PRIVATE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES do not have due process rights. Their right to challenge a grade or other adverse academic decision is limited to claiming that the decision is contrary to the school’s policies, typically as set forth in the STUDENT HANDBOOK. The legal basis for this type of student appeal is under CONTRACT LAW. However, some student handbooks do guarantee “due process style” rights to students and judges have held the school to that type of promise.

Our firm has represented students in undergraduate and graduate school academic appeals throughout the United States, including Undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral candidates. Our clients have been in a variety of academic programs, including PSYCHOLOGY, SOCIAL WORK, PHYSICAL THERAPY, NURSING, PHARMACY, DENTISTRY AND MEDICINE.

Dismissal can occur after a student has invested years of study and tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition, fees and student loans. Many students we have represented were facing life-changing obstacles to their career plans. We apply our long years of experience to a careful analysis of each client’s unique situation, employing a detailed review of all student records, communications and school policies to maximize the power of our appeal documents. These appeals are submitted in writing to the college or university and to their general counsel. We believe it is important to get the facts and the legal argument in front of the school’s legal advisor in addition to the academic decision-makers.

You may contact attorneys Clifford A. Cohencac@studentrightslawyers.com ) and Andrew Duncan ( ad@studentrightslawyers.com ) at 785.979.7361.

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