How to Appeal a College Decision – Education Law and Academic Appeals

Springtime in Gainesville is marked by miles of wildflowers along Newberry Road, trips to the springs, and activities that involve the beautiful coast of Florida. Most important to the University of Florida students is graduation day.
Last week, thousands of excited Florida Gators crossed the stage to accept their well-deserved diplomas. They put in thousands of hours of homework, coursework, and studying to achieve this important milestone. However, for some students, graduation day is just a reminder of the issues they had or are having in school.
Due to a myriad of reasons, students at the University of Florida, Santa Fe College, and other institutions of higher learning will not be completing their degrees on time.
Grade Appeals
Often students will feel that their hard work goes unnoticed, or that there was some mistake in calculating their grades. Often this can be addressed by discussing the issue with the course instructor or professor. However, if this approach fails, your appeal should be sent to a department chair or by the Department of Academic Affairs. There is a stringent timeline for grade appeals, and they often vary between institutions and even between academic departments. The appeal process is outlined in your Student Handbook.
Residency Appeals
One of the most important benefits of attending a state college or university is the possibility of receiving reduced tuition rates based on “in-state residency.” In the State of Florida, these requirements are strictly adhered to and make a huge difference in thousands of dollars in tuition fees. If you are a student and you are concerned that you have been wrongfully denied in-state tuition rates, then you should seek legal counsel for advice on the appeals process. The Law Firm of Massey & Duffy has had brilliant success in reversing residency decisions for students at the University of Florida and Santa Fe College. Employment, housing, military service are just a few factors that can help change an erroneous denial. Time is critical in these matters.
Disciplinary or Dismissals
In rare instances, the university or college may decide to bring disciplinary procedures or dismiss a student from their program. The student must act quickly in these circumstances as there are multiple and varying deadlines for disciplinary appeals. The Law Firm of Massey & Duffy has represented numerous students in these matters and can assist you in determining the proper action and documentation needed for these appeals.
Discrimination Based on Sex – Title IX Complaints
Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states:
“ No person in the United States shall, based on sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Under this federal law, colleges, universities, public school districts, and specific private education programs are prohibited from discriminating against students based on sex. Complaints regarding Title IX violations can be directed to the US Department of Education – Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The Law Office of Massey & Duffy has assisted numerous clients on OCR complaints. There are strict deadlines on filing, however, and it is in the student’s best interest to seek legal advice as soon as possible to avoid having complaints barred due to the length of time since the violation occurred.
Americans with Disabilities Act – Discrimination, Failure to Provide Accommodations
Beginning a college program is stressful and uncomfortable and can be even more so if you suffer from chronic illness or disability. Most colleges and universities are equipped with a Disability Resource Center or equivalent department to ensure that the school is compliant with ADA legislation. This Center is there to assist students with disabilities in finding the resources they need to be successful. It may be difficult or awkward to ask for help, especially when discussing medical conditions. However, it is essential to register to ensure your institution is held accountable.
Many students require physical accommodations such as ramps, wheelchair accessibility, etc. While others may need assistance with learning disabilities or emotional support, the Disability Resource Center should be able to assist you with these needs. Unfortunately, in certain circumstances, a faculty member or department may fail in their duty to provide this assistance or these accommodations. In these cases, students may have no recourse but to file a complaint with the university, college, or to file a complaint with the OCR. The Law Firm of Massey and Duffy has represented students with their ADA claims and can offer you a Free Consultation to discuss your situation. If you feel like you have been discriminated against due to your disability or that reasonable accommodation was refused by your institution, we may be able to assist you in your claim.
Education Law, Academic Appeals, Discrimination Claims
The Law Office of Massey & Duffy wants to congratulate the Class of 2018 during this graduation season. We are proud to have represented so many students over the past ten years and wish them the best in their future endeavors. Whether you are a student of the University of Florida, Santa Fe College, University of Central Florida, or Florida State University, we are happy to provide you with a free consultation regarding your education issue, academic appeal or discrimination claim. We have represented many college students in not only the problems above but also personal injury, employment law, and consumer protection. Please call our Gainesville Office at (352) 505-8900 or our new Ocala Satellite Office at (352) 229-8656.


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