Policy Statements Regarding Substantive Change
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Facts and Information Regarding Substantive Change

  1. The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement applied to all programs and services.
  2. Denial of approval of substantive change is not appealable.
  3. An accredited institution in the appeals process or in litigation with SACSCOC is not eligible for consideration of substantive change.
  4. The SACSCOC substantive change policy applies only to SACSCOC accredited institutions.
  5. Procedure One, Two and Three may not address all substantive changes that SACSCOC will review in the interim between reaffirmation cycles.
  6. An institution may withdraw its prospectus/application or may discontinues substantive change at any time during the review process by submitted a formal letter to the President of SACSCOC.
  7. Once an institution submits its prospectus or application and the document is reviewed by either the Committee on Compliance and Reports or by SACSCOC staff, any information included therein that indicates possible non-compliance with any of the Core Requirements or Comprehensive Standards may lead SACSCOC to further review the institution, even if the prospectus is withdrawn or approval of the change is denied.
  8. SACSCOC staff review all substantive changes requiring notification prior to implementation and conduct a preliminary review of all changes requiring approval. 
    1. Substantive change requiring prior approval
    2. Substantive change submitted by an institution recently removed from sanction 
    3. Proposed substantive change submitted by an institution currently on reimbursement for Title IV funding
    4. Prospectus of an institution planning a merger/consolidation, change of legal status, governance, ownership or form of control
    5. Prospectus for approval of a direct assessment competency-based education program
  9. In an institution fails to report or to gain approval of a substantive change prior to its implementation and the nature of that changes is not in the list of number 8 or a Procedure One change, the substantive change will be reviewed and if possible acted on by staff.
  10. All final decisions regarding the accreditation status of an institution are made by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees. 
  11. Substantive changes of the types described in Procedure One and Two normally will not affect an institution's cycle of reaffirmation of accreditation.
  12. Following the approval of a degree level change by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees, an institution may not initiate additional program at the new degree level until after the Board takes positive action on its continued accreditation following the Substantive Change Committee visit authorized at the time of approval. 
  13. The date of the letter of approval of a substantive change is considered the date on which the change is included as part of the institution's accreditation.
  14. Extensive substantive changes by an institution may accelerate the date for the institution's next reaffirmation.
  15. If an institution fails to follow SACSCOC substantive change policy and procedures, it may lose its Title IV funding or be required by the U.S. Department of Education to reimburse it for money received by the institution for programs related to the unreported substantive change.
  16. If an institution has education programs and off-campus instructional sites that are inactive but not closed the following applies:
    1. Institution does not enroll students in education program for five year then after that a prospectus must be submitted to reinstate the educational program
    2. Institution does not offer courses or programs at an approved off-campus instructional site for five years then the institution must submit a prospectus for the off-site campus to be activated and able to offer programs where students may earn 50% or more of program credit.


(pgs. 12-14 SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy)