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Substantive Change

According to SACSCOC a substantive change is defined as any significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution.

SACSCOC is responsible for reviewing all substantive changes that occur between an institution's decennial (ten year) reviews. These reviews are used to assist with determining whether the changes have affected the quality of the total institution and assuring the public that all aspects of the institution continue to meet defined standards.

An institution is required to inform SACSCOC of all substantive changes as specified in the following pages outlining the three procedures for reporting. Failure of an institution to gain approval for substantive changes could result in the institution jeopardizing its funding.

Examples of what may constitute a substantive change

  • Change in the established mission or objectives of the institution
  • Change in legal status, form of control, or ownership of the institution
  • Significant departure in either content or method of delivery for courses or programs.
  • Course or program offerings at a level different from the university's current accreditation status.
  • Change from clock to credit hours
  • Substantial increase in the number of clock or credit hours awarded for successful completion of a program
  • Establishment of additional location separate from the main campus at which the institution will offer 50% or greater of an education program
  • Establishment of a branch campus
  • Closing a program, off-campus site, branch campus or institution
  • Entering into a collaborative academic arrangement which includes the initiation of a dual or joint academic program with another institution
  • Acquiring another institution, program or location of another institution
  • Adding a permanent location at a site where institution is conducting a teach-out program for a closed institution
  • Entering into a contract by which an entity not eligible for Title IV funding offers 25% or more of one or more of the accredited institution's programs.

*This list is not an exhaustive list of substantive changes. Other items may be deemed substantive and should the University have concerns should seek guidance from the SACSCOC liaison.