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Monash University Policy Bank

Student Complaints and Grievances Policy


Please note that this Policy applies to grievances lodged after 22 April 2015. For grievances lodged on or before 22 April 2015, please refer to the previous Academic and Administrative Complaints and Grievances Policy.

  • To provide a framework for resolving complaints and grievances made by students;
  • To set out the rights and responsibilities of both the University and the student with regards to academic and administrative complaints and grievances.


This policy applies to:

  • All campuses and teaching locations

  • All coursework and graduate research courses, including non-award courses

  • Current and former students

  • Prospective students whose complaint or grievance relates to administrative processes during application, selection or admission

Complaints must be made, or grievances lodged, within the timeframe prescribed in the procedures.

The University has separate procedures for exclusion for unsatisfactory academic progress, progress management, discipline, revocation of degrees or awards, exclusion for safety reasons and complaints of unprofessional or inappropriate conduct by staff, discrimination or harassment. This policy may not be used to:

Grievances relating to financial assistance decisions that are reviewable decisions under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 do not fall within the scope of this policy.

Policy Statement


  1. The University recognises a student's right to make complaints and is committed to addressing complaints and grievances effectively and fairly.
  2. The University aims to address complaints and grievances through a resolution process that:
    is impartial and fair to all parties involved;
    b.  is carried out with transparency and consistency;
    c.  is accessible and available to all students;
    d.  is handled within established timelines;
    e.  respects the privacy of all parties involved;
    f.   is appropriate for dealing with complex and sensitive issues.
  3. A student making a complaint or grievance has the right to a fair and thorough investigation, based on the principles of this policy.
  4. A student may make a complaint or grievance without fear of reprisals.

    Process for complaints and grievances

  5. The resolution process for academic and administrative complaints and grievances is conducted in three stages:
    a.  Complaint - informal resolution process. Complaints are dealt with by a staff member close to where the complaint arose.
    b.  Grievance - formal resolution process. Grievances are investigated by designated staff members who have not had previous involvement with the complaint. 
    c.  Review - internal review process conducted by the University Student Ombudsman. The University Student Ombudsman is appointed by the University Council and is independent of the university administrative structure.
  6. To ensure quick and effective resolution the University strives to resolve complaints and grievances as close as possible to their source, with the people most directly involved.
  7. The University may set limits on its handling of a complaint or grievance or discontinue any process if the student making the complaint or grievance engages in behaviour which because of its nature or frequency raises substantial health, safety, resource or equity issues or the complaint is frivolous, vexatious or lacking in substance.
  8. Outcomes or decisions reached through application of complaints and grievances procedures must be achievable within University legislation and policies, and State or Commonwealth legislative requirements or other applicable legislation in countries where Monash campuses and teaching locations are situated.

    Student responsibilities

  9. A student making a complaint or grievance is expected to cooperate with the review of the complaint or investigation of the grievance. This includes providing all relevant information that the student has in his or her possession or knowledge at the time of making the complaint or grievance or as soon as possible thereafter. Failure to do so may result in the investigation or review of the complaint being discontinued.
  10. A student making a complaint or grievance is expected to treat staff with courtesy and respect. Failure to do so may result in the investigation or review of the complaint being discontinued.
  11. Only the individual student concerned may make a complaint or lodge a grievance under this policy.

    Roles and responsibilities of staff

  12. All University staff are responsible for:
    a.  giving serious consideration to student complaints that relate to a decision, an event, any action or inaction that is within the responsibility of the staff member;
    b.  responding to student complaints in a timely manner and with courtesy and respect;
    c.  respecting the privacy of students making a complaint.
  13. Grievance officers are responsible for:
    a.  receiving grievances and maintaining records of all related documents;
    b.  determining the nature of the grievance and directing it to the appropriate investigating officer;
    c.  maintaining a grievance register by recording and monitoring the number and nature of grievances received from students.
  14. Investigating officers are responsible for:
    a.  determining whether an investigation of a grievance is necessary;
    b.  carrying out a fair investigation and negotiating a resolution, as required in each case.
  15. The University Student Ombudsman ensures that the resolution of student grievances follows consistent procedures across the University and provides independent and impartial review of academic and administrative grievances.

Supporting procedures

Student Complaints and Grievances Procedures

Supporting guidelines

Responsibility for implementation

University staff
Grievance officers
Investigating officers
University Student Ombudsman
Staff responsible for orientation and induction
Office of the General Counsel
Deans of faculties
Faculty managers
Division/section directors and managers
Associate Deans (Education) and Deputy Deans (Education)
Associate Deans responsible for graduate research students
Vice-Provost (Graduate Education)
Vice-Chancellor and President
Safer Community Unit
Academic Board
University Council
Pro Vice-Chancellor and President (Malaysia)



Key Stakeholders

University Student Ombudsman
Vice-Provost (Graduate Education)
Vice-Provost (Learning and Teaching)
Office of the General Counsel
President of Academic Board
Deans of faculties
Associate Deans (Education) and Deputy Deans (Education)
Associate Deans responsible for graduate research students
Faculty managers
Grievance officers
University student associations
Division/section directors and managers
Monash Graduate Education
Graduate Research Committee
School/department graduate studies coordinators and officers
Safer Community Unit
Deputy President (Academic) (Monash Malaysia)
Pro Vice-Chancellor and President (Malaysia)

Approval body

Name: Academic Board
Meeting: 2/2015
Date: 22-April-2015
Agenda item: 10.1

Endorsement body

Name: Learning and Teaching Committee
Meeting: 2/2015
Date: 17-March-2015
Agenda item: 8.1

Name: Graduate Research Committee
Meeting: 1/2015
Date: 03-February-2015
Agenda item: 11.2


Complaint: An expression of dissatisfaction from a student with a decision of the University or the manner of delivery of a service offered or provided by the University.

Grievance: A formal written notice given by a student after an unresolved complaint which initiates action under this policy.

Grievance officer: Staff member responsible for receiving grievances and maintaining grievance records and registers.

Investigating officer: Staff member responsible for investigating a grievance.

Student: For the purposes of this policy, ‘student’ includes prospective, current and former students of the University and includes prospective, current and former students of graduate research degrees.

Legislation Mandating Compliance

All relevant legislative instruments that stipulate requirements with which members of the Monash community (all of whom are subject to the law) are obligated to comply.

Monash University (Council) Regulations Part 7 - Student Discipline

Monash University (Council) Regulations Part 8 - Revocation of Degrees or Other Awards

Monash University (Academic Board) Regulations Part 4 - Exclusion for Unsatisfactory Progress or Inability to Progress

Monash University (Academic Board) Regulations Part 6 - Student Progress Management

Monash University (Vice-Chancellor) Regulations Part 6 - Exclusion for Health Reasons

Australian Commonwealth and Victorian State Governments

Higher Education Support Act 2003

Commonwealth Ombudsman Act 1976

Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 - National Code of Practice 2007

Public Records Act (Victoria) 1973

Malaysian Government

Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996 (Act 555) as amended from time to time and, where the context requires, includes any other relevant Malaysian laws applicable to private higher educational institutions

South African Government

Higher Education Act 101 of 1997

Related policies

Conduct and Compliance Procedures - Staff / Student Relationships

Conduct and Compliance Procedures - Whistleblowers

Conduct and Compliance Procedures - Privacy

Discrimination and Harassment Grievance Procedures (Australia only)

Recordkeeping Policy

Graduate Research Progress Management Policy

Monash Residential Services - Policy on the Resolution of Breaches of Residential Community Standards

Monash University Malaysia

Conduct and Compliance - Staff / Student Relationships Procedure

Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Procedure

Related documents

University Student Ombudsman

See the University Student Ombudsman web page

Victorian Ombudsman

Victorian Ombudsman's website

Monash website on the Victorian Ombudsman

Complaint handling good practice guide

South African Government Bodies

Council on Higher Education

Higher Education Quality Committee

Monash University

Student complaints and grievances website

Unreasonable Complainant Conduct (Safer Community Unit website)

Grievances relating to financial assistance decisions

Graduate Research Handbooks

Privacy at Monash

Retention and Disposal of University Records

Monash University grievance templates:

Date Effective


Review Date



Vice-Provost (Learning and Teaching); Vice-Provost (Graduate Education)


Director, Policy; Director, Monash Graduate Education

Content Enquiries

Education Policy Unit
Policy Mrgs

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Version Number: 2.0


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