State Authorization of Distance Education

Harvard University operates distance education courses and programs for students located out-of-state, pursuant to the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), a voluntary agreement among member states, districts and territories that establishes national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education. SARA membership currently includes all states (except California), the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Logo of the NC-SARA organizationDistance Education refers to online degree or certificate education programs available to students physically located in other states and territories.

Harvard University has been approved by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to operate its distance education programs under SARA, and has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

Complaint Process for Distance Education Students

Harvard’s schools have procedures in place to resolve complaints from students enrolled in their distance education programs. Distance education students should review the Contact Information for Distance Education Students below to understand the Complaint Procedure for their school. Distance education students should first exhaust the school-specific Complaint Procedure for resolution of complaints before pursuing the following procedure.

A distance education student located in a SARA member state other than Massachusetts who has first followed and exhausted the internal grievance procedures made available by Harvard has the right to file a written complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE), the state portal agency for SARA, in accordance with the complaint process described by DHE at https://www.mass.edu/foradmin/sara/complaints.asp. Complaints regarding grading and student discipline matters are not within the purview of DHE.

For Distance Education Students Located in Massachusetts

After first exhausting the complaint procedures made available by Harvard, distance education students who are located in Massachusetts may file a consumer complaint with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.

For Distance Education Students Located in California

After first exhausting the complaint procedures made available by Harvard, distance education students who are located in California may file a consumer complaint with the California Department of Consumer Affairs:

California Department of Consumer Affairs
Consumer Information Center
1625 North Market Blvd., Suite N-112
Sacramento, California 95834
Telephone: (833) 942-1120

Tuition Refund Policies for Distance Education Students

Distance education students seeking information about the tuition refund policy for their Harvard program should review the Contact Information for Distance Education Students below to understand the policy for their school.

Contact Information for Distance Education Students

School/ Program

Complaint Procedure

Tuition Refund Policy

Contact for Questions

Harvard Business School – HBS Online/HBX

Contact hbsonlinesupport@hbs.edu

See Policies, in the “Changing Your Program Status" section, under “Withdrawals and Refunds”

hbsonlinesupport@hbs.edu

Harvard Chan School of Public Health

See the Student Handbook, Appendix C: “Grievance Procedures for Students” (p. 64)

See the https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/student-billing/2019-2020-student-withdrawal-refund-policy/

registrar@hsph.harvard.edu

Harvard Division of Continuing Education

See Filing an Appeal

See Tuition Payments and Refunds

appeals@extension.harvard.edu

Harvard Graduate School of Education – Professional Education

Contact ppe@gse.harvard.edu

See Refunds and Withdrawals

ppe@gse.harvard.edu

Harvard Kennedy School – Executive Education online

Contact exed@hks.harvard.edu

See Attendance, Withdrawal & Cancellation Policies

exed@hks.harvard.edu

Harvard Law School – Executive Education online

Contact execed@law.harvard.edu

See Admissions for the Cancellation Policy

execed@law.harvard.edu

Harvard Medical School – CME Online

Contact CEPrograms@hms.harvard.edu

Because online course materials can be accessed immediately, refunds are not permitted. For more information, please email ceprograms@hms.harvard.edu

CEPrograms@hms.harvard.edu

Harvard Medical School – HMX

Contact onlinelearning@hms.harvard.edu

See FAQ, “Can I get a refund if I find out a course is not right for me and I need to drop the course?”

onlinelearning@hms.harvard.edu

HarvardX courses offered through GetSmarter

See Our Agreement with You, Section O, “Complaints and dispute resolution”

See Our Agreement with You, Section H, “Cancellations and Deferrals”

See the Contact form