Substantive Change Policy

Approved By and Date:Board of Trustees06-14-2012
 Executive Leadership Team05-07-2012

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)   defines a substantive change as a “significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution”, to include but not limited to:

  1. The addition of courses or programs that represent a significant departure, either in content or method of delivery, from those that were offered when the institution was last evaluated,
  2. The addition of courses or programs at a degree or credential level above that which is included in the institution’s current accreditation or reaffirmation, or
  3. A substantial increase in the number of clock or credit hours awarded for successful completion of a program.

Substantive Change Procedures

Approved By and Date:Executive Leadership Team05-20-2019

Changes which could trigger a need to notify SACSCOC of substantive changes anticipated at the institution must be identified routinely and early enough to allow for time to make the required notifications.

  1. All curricular changes are brought before the College’s Faculty Senate and ICore for approval. Prior to advancing the request through the Faculty Senate and ICore, the SACSCOC liaison is notified of the change and must give an approval signature on the Curriculum Change Form. If the curriculum change warrants, the approved change is then advanced to the Executive Leadership Team and the Board of Trustees.
  2. The SACSCOC liaison will also request information on a semi-annual basis by sending out a check sheet to the ICore membership. The members will be asked to provide information on any institutional changes (listed above) that are planned for their areas six months in the future.
  3. The SACSCOC liaison monitors all curricular changes or anticipated changes and will instigate a notification to SACSCOC if the change fits the published criteria for substantive change.  In the case of questions regarding the applicability of the change, the SACSCOC liaison will communicate with the institution’s assigned SACSCOC representative.
  4. For changes identified as substantive, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will assign appropriate divisional personnel to work with the SACSCOC liaison to complete the required materials for submission (e.g., prospectus and letters).


Revisions: 06/14/2012, 02/03/2014 (procedures)


SACSCOC Standard 10.1, Academic policies

SACSCOC policy, Substantive Change for SACSCOC Accredited Institutions


Sample Substantive Change Check Sheet

Directions:  Please check the list below of institutional changes that could result in a SACSCOC substantive change for the college.  If your area has such a change, complete the form below and return to the institutional liaison Dr. Heather Hill by date February 04, 2013.

Institutional Changes Identified by SACSCOC (possible substantive changes)

  1. Initiating any new curriculum certificate, diploma or degree program (including programs moved from Continuing Education)
  2. Closing programs
  3. Expanding program offerings at previously approved off-campus sites
  4. Initiating off-campus sites (including Dual Credit programs offered at the high school)
  5. Expanding at current degree level (significant departure from current programs)
  6. Initiating a branch campus
  7. Initiating joint degrees with another institution
  8. Initiating program/courses offered through contractual agreement or consortium
  9. Relocating an off-campus instructional site
  10. Altering significantly the length of a program
  11. Initiating coursework or programs at a more advanced level than currently approved
  12. Altering significantly the educational mission of the institution
  13. Initiating a merger/consolidation with another institution
  14. Relocating a main or branch campus
  15. Changing governance, ownership, control, or legal status of an institution
  16. Closing an institution


Type of change (from list above):

Description of change in your area:

Name: ___________________________________ Date:_________________________________________­


Refer to the Substantive Change for Accredited Institutions of the Commission on Colleges Policy, available at www.sacscoc.org for more comprehensive information regarding substantive changes.