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State agencies create complaint portal for students in college, vocational programs 

The abrupt closure of the Art Institute of Seattle earlier this year caused upheaval for hundreds of students.

That’s not the only higher-education institution to close in recent years – the for-profit ITT Technical Institute had three campuses in Washington and shut down in 2016.

Now, three state agencies have created a centralized complaint portal where postsecondary students can report concerns.

Don Bennett, deputy director of the Washington Student Achievement Council, said this new complaint portal will give students a chance to flag issues they encounter.

“Certainly in the realm of things that might be considered deceptive practices or unfair or fraudulent – we certainly want to hear about those,” Bennett said.

He said students at all kinds of institutions, including vocational programs and public universities, can submit complaints through the portal. It was created by the Washington Student Achievement Council, the Workforce Board and the Department of Licensing.

“We wanted to create a single platform where any student attending any type of school could bring things to our attention and then we could route it to the appropriate agency to intervene and help try to resolve those issues,” he said.  

Bennett said students should first try to resolve their issues through resources on campus. The portal is the result of a law passed by the Legislature last year.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.