Academic problems, appeals, complaints procedure

We aim to provide a learning environment and experience that is enjoyable, rewarding, and prepares our graduates (you) for the future. We do recognise however that despite our best intentions, situations may arise where an issue occurs with:

  • The teaching or assessment of a course
  • One of the services the University or a University partner provides
  • An ANU education agent
  • The actions or behaviour of another University member (staff or student)

Working together

If this situation arises for you, we want to know about it so we can work together in resolving it.

What you can expect of us

If you do raise an issue, the University will treat it professionally and we will:

  • Treat your matter confidentially and not discuss your appeal, complaint, or grievance with anyone who does not need to know about it
  • Not treat you differently, less favourably, or victimise you because you have lodged an appeal
  • Recognise that due to a number of factors you may require assistance in discussing or lodging your appeal
  • Ensure that you are kept informed of what is happening as we resolve your issue

What we expect of you

If you need to lodge an appeal, complaint, or grievance, you should ensure that you:

  • Have considered the situation carefully and genuinely believe that you have a legitimate concern that you need to raise
  • Remain polite and factual, and avoid unnecessary personal attacks on any other staff, students or members of the University community in your appeal documentation
  • Keep a record of any meetings or discussions that may be held as part of the appeals process
  • Follow any directions from the University
  • Provide us with your contact details so that we can reach you. Whilst the University accepts anonymous appeals, complaints, and grievances, these will typically not be acted upon as the goal of our processes is to resolve issues with you


Problems can be split into two broad groups:

Reviews & appeals

These directly impact on your course or program.

Grievances & complaints

These may not be directly related to your course or program, but impact upon your time at University.


Appeals and grievances normally contain the following steps:

  • Stage 1 - Informal Resolution
  • Stage 2 - Formal Review
  • Stage 3 - Formal Appeal
  • Stage 4 - External Review

Wherever possible, we will try to resolve your concerns at stage 1.


At any stage of the process, you may go straight to the external appeals stage and lodge an appeal to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman usually expects complainants to try first to sort out the problem with the agency concerned or to use an alternative review mechanism where one exists; for example, the Social Security Appeals Tribunal in matters concerning AUSTUDY or the formal review procedures of universities and CIT. If your particular problem cannot be dealt with by the Ombudsman, you will be advised who can help you.

You can phone or write to:

The Commonwealth/ACT Ombudsman
Level 5, Childers Square
14 Childers Street
Canberra City ACT 2600
T: 1300 362 072
F: 02 6276 0123

Other resources

For information on the following please refer to these other websites: