Skip navigation

Policy: Student grievance and complaint resolution


To provide a set of principles for the resolution of student concerns about their experience at the University.


Genuine complaint is a student complaint that is deemed by the University to be genuine in so far as it is not frivolous, vexatious, malicious or lacking in substance.

Genuine grievance is a student grievance that is deemed by the University to be genuine in so far as it is not frivolous, vexatious, malicious or lacking in substance.

Seeking enrolment: students who are seeking information, receiving counselling or marketing materials, or have applied to study at an education provider.

Student Complaint is a problem or concern about academic or non-academic matters that is formally raised with the University for resolution under the relevant parts of the Student grievance and complaint resolution procedure. Any grievance that is not resolved or is not capable of being resolved informally can be formally raised as a complaint.

Student Grievance is an expression of dissatisfaction with an aspect of a student’s experience with the University (including with agents or other related parties who represent or act on behalf of the provider). Mechanisms for resolving a grievance are informal and may be undertaken in accordance with the relevant parts of the Student Grievance and Complaint Resolution procedure.


This policy covers students' issues and concerns about unfair treatment in a course, discrimination, sexual or other harassment, bullying, and other grievances and complaints that arise during the student's time at the ANU. This includes the students’ dealings with the University’s education agents and any third party the University has engaged in the delivery of a program, or related services. The University encourages students to raise concerns with the University by following the Student grievance and complaint resolution procedure.


This policy applies to:

  • any person who is or was enrolled in, or is seeking enrolment in, a program or a course offered by the University, or who is or has been given permission by the University to audit a course offered by the University who has a grievance or complaint with regard to the University or a University member, and
  • any staff of the University involved in assisting with, or processing the complaint or grievance.

This policy and associated procedure are to be read in conjunction with other ANU legislation and do not affect specific review or appeal processes provided for, for example, in relation to:

Policy statement

  1. The Australian National University has an approach to student issues and concerns that:
  1. aims to provide a work and study environment that is responsive, safe and fair for all members of the University community;
  2. is consistent with the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards), Education Services for Overseas Student Act, and privacy legislation; and
  3. ensures that student complaints are treated seriously, expeditiously and sensitively, having due regard to procedural fairness, confidentiality and the potential for victimisation by other parties.
  1. The University does not tolerate bullying, discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, victimisation or vilification through any means or medium. The University has legal responsibilities to students regarding behaviour and work practices. The University has processes and policies that address bullying, unlawful discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, disadvantage and vilification.
  2. Where a student makes a genuine grievance or complaint, they are not disadvantaged by the University for making that grievance or complaint.
  3. Grievances are resolved by a process of discussion, cooperation and conciliation as soon as possible after an incident or situation has occurred, with the aim of achieving an outcome that minimises any potential detriment to ongoing work or study relationships.
  4. Grievance and complaint resolution is an integral part of managers' and supervisors' duties, which also include responsibility for identifying, preventing, responding to and redressing problems experienced by students.
  5. Both the complainant and the respondent receive appropriate information, support and assistance in resolving a grievance or complaint.
  6. Where a complaint concerns an enrolled student who is also employed as a staff member of the University, the complaint may be addressed under this policy or under the related policy for staff complaint resolution, as appropriate.
  7. The Dean of Students acts as a neutral intermediary between students and the University. The Dean advises the student on whether the University is likely to deem the complaint or grievance to be genuine, clarifies the best way to address the grievance or complaint within the University, and, where appropriate, helps a student to resolve a grievance informally. Consultations with the Dean of Students are confidential, do not constitute instigation of a formal complaint, and no action is taken unless a student agrees it should be taken.
  8. A formal complaint cannot be lodged anonymously. Where students wish to remain anonymous, they should contact the Dean of Students to determine whether and, if so, how informal resolution of their grievance can be achieved whilst their anonymity is preserved.
  9. Complaints that are not genuine complaints, as deemed by the University, are not pursued. Students participate in the complaint resolution process in good faith.
  10. Requirements relating to confidentiality and privacy extend to the use and storage of any information and records related to a complaint.


Printable version (PDF)
Title Student grievance and complaint resolution
Document Type Policy
Document Number ANUP_000468
Purpose To provide a set of principles for the resolution of student concerns about their experience at the University.
Audience Students
Category Academic
Topic/ SubTopic Students - Student and University Experience
Effective Date 9 Apr 2021
Next Review Date 9 Apr 2026
Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration
Approved By: Academic Board
Contact Area Division of Student Administration and Academic Services
Authority: Australian National University Act 1991
Residential Colleges Affiliation Statute 2021
Delegations 0

Information generated and received by ANU staff in the course of conducting business on behalf of ANU is a record and should be captured by an authorised recordkeeping system. To learn more about University records and recordkeeping practice at ANU, see ANU recordkeeping and Policy: Records and archives management.