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Closures

When the University is anticipating a closure, it must prepare to notify students, faculty, and staff who may become impacted by this closure. The SACSCOC Substantive Change policy discusses two items which may be warranted when an institution approves a closure. They are the teach-out plan and the teach-out agreement. While the teach-out agreement may not be necessary for a particular type of closure, the teach-out plan will be required for all closures. In this section, the difference between the two will be explained and the expectations of submission for each type of closure outlined.

Teach-Out Plan

A plan developed by the institution and provides equitable treatment of students if an institution of a location of the institution providing at least 25% of a program ceases to operate. This plan will provide a pathway of completion for students who are currently enrolled. 

If the program being terminated is accredited by another agency, the Commission will notify that accreditation body of its approval of the teach-out plan.

 

Applicant and Candidacy Teach-Out Plan

SACSCOC Board of Trustees requires an institution to submit an institutional contingency teach-out plan as part of its Candidacy Report to the Candidacy Committee. This plan ensures students completing the teach-out would meet curricular requirements for professional licensure, or certification (if any), and must include a list of academic programs offered by the institution and the names of other institutions that offer similar programs that could potentially enter into a teach-out agreement with the institution.

Teach-Out Agreement

The teach-out agreement is a plan written between two institutions that provides for equitable treatment of students and a reasonable opportunity for a student to complete their program. 

For approval by SACSCOC, the agreement must be between institutions that are accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency, be consistent with applicable standards in the Principles of Accreditation, and provide for the equitable treatment of students: 

  • teach-out institution has the necessary experience, resources, and support services to provide an educational program that is acceptable quality and reasonably similar content
  • teach-out institution demonstrates that it can provide students access to the program and services without requiring them to move or travel substantial distance

Should an institution close without an agreement, SACSCOC will work with the U.S Department of Education to assist students in finding reasonable options for completion. 

  1. Communication
    1. describe a communication plan to inform students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders of the institution's closure
      1. rely on a single medium (email)
      2. appropriate to each stakeholder
      3. include how it will inform students how to access transcripts, other academic records, financial records, and financial aid records
      4. must explain how it will inform students of any additional costs associated with teach-out options
  2. Student Academic Records
    1. describe a plan to preserve and make available to former students all academic transcripts including validations/confirmations of academic credentials awarded
    2. identify the party to whom academic records will be entrusted and include a physical address and contact information
    3. identify any state or other governmental agency requirement regarding disposition of academic records
    4. describe a plan to inform current and former students how they may request transcript copies
    5. include a description of any encumbrances placed on access to academic records such as withholding transcript copies if former student has an outstanding balanced owed to the institution
  3. Student Accounts Receivable
    1. describe a plan to collect outstanding balances owed to the institution by students and former students after the closure
    2. include a description of how students and former students will be informed of the institution's intent to collect
  4. Refunds and Loan Discharges
    1. describe a plan to provide all potentially eligible students with information about how to obtain a closed school discharge and information on state refund policies, if applicable
  5. Re-employment
    1. explain how the institution will assist faculty and staff in finding new employment
  6. Programs
    1. provide a list of all academic programs offered by the institution for all credentials and instructional levels
    2. program list must include
      1. at least two teach-out institutions offering comparable programs where students could complete their program of study
      2. for each program/teach-out institution combination
        1. a statement of assurance that the method of delivery is comparable
        2. a good faith assessment of the number and types of credits each teach-out institution is willing to accept prior to students' enrollment
        3. a statement of assurance that the curricular requirements at all teach-out institutions meet requirements for professional licensure or certification as applicable to the program
        4. a statement of assurance that students are not required to move or travel substantial distance or durations with possible exceptions for highly specialized programs
        5. institution's plan to provide a clear statement to students of tuition and fees of the educational program and the number and types of credits that will be accepted by the teach-out institution
  7. Teach-out Institutions
    1. provide a list of all institutions identified as offering comparable programs where students could complete their program of study to include
      1. name and web address of each institution
      2. institution's accreditor or accreditors
      3. a good faith statement of assurance that the institution is in good standing with its institutional accreditor(s), the U.S. Department of Education, and is not under investigation, subject to action, or being prosecuted for an issue related to academic quality, misrepresentation, fraud, or other severe matters by law enforcement agency
  8. Students
    1. provide a list of all enrolled students by academic program to include each student's current progress to completion
  9. Teach-out Agreements
    1. usually required if any significant consideration other than the transfer of academic credit is agreed upon between the institution and a teach-out institution.
  1. Communication
    1. describe a communication plan to inform students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders of the institution's closure
      1. rely on a single medium (email)
      2. appropriate to each stakeholder
      3. include how it will inform students how to access transcripts, other academic records, financial records, and financial aid records
      4. must explain how it will inform students of any additional costs associated with teach-out options
  2. Student Academic Records
    1. describe a plan to preserve and make available to former students all academic transcripts including validations/confirmations of academic credentials awarded
    2. identify the party to whom academic records will be entrusted and include a physical address and contact information
    3. identify any state or other governmental agency requirement regarding disposition of academic records
    4. describe a plan to inform current and former students how they may request transcript copies
    5. include a description of any encumbrances placed on access to academic records such as withholding transcript copies if former student has an outstanding balanced owed to the institution
  3. Student Accounts Receivable
    1. describe a plan to collect outstanding balances owed to the institution by students and former students after the closure
    2. include a description of how students and former students will be informed of the institution's intent to collect
  4. Refunds and Loan Discharges
    1. describe a plan to provide all potentially eligible students with information about how to obtain a closed school discharge and information on state refund policies, if applicable
  5. Re-employment
    1. explain how the institution will assist faculty and staff in finding new employment
  6. Programs
    1. provide a list of all academic programs offered by the institution for all credentials and instructional levels
    2. program list must include
      1. at least two teach-out institutions offering comparable programs where students could complete their program of study
      2. for each program/teach-out institution combination
        1. a statement of assurance that the method of delivery is comparable
        2. a good faith assessment of the number and types of credits each teach-out institution is willing to accept prior to students' enrollment
        3. a statement of assurance that the curricular requirements at all teach-out institutions meet requirements for professional licensure or certification as applicable to the program
        4. a statement of assurance that students are not required to move or travel substantial distance or durations with possible exceptions for highly specialized programs
        5. institution's plan to provide a clear statement to students of tuition and fees of the educational program and the number and types of credits that will be accepted by the teach-out institution
  7. Teach-out Institutions
    1. provide a list of all institutions identified as offering comparable programs where students could complete their program of study to include
      1. name and web address of each institution
      2. institution's accreditor or accreditors
      3. a good faith statement of assurance that the institution is in good standing with its institutional accreditor(s), the U.S. Department of Education, and is not under investigation, subject to action, or being prosecuted for an issue related to academic quality, misrepresentation, fraud, or other severe matters by law enforcement agency
  8. Students
    1. provide a list of all enrolled students by academic program to include each student's current progress to completion
  9. Teach-out Agreements
    1. usually required if any significant consideration other than the transfer of academic credit is agreed upon between the institution and a teach-out institution.
  1. Substantive Change Cover Sheet
  2. Provide the closure data, the date when students are no longer admitted
  3. An explanation of how affected parties will be informed of the impending closure
  4. An explanation of how all affected students will be helped to complete their programs of study with minimal disruption or additional costs
  5. Explain whether the students subject to the teach-out plan will incur additional charges or other expenses because of the teach-out and if so how they will be notified
  6. Copies of signed teach-out agreements with other institutions, if applicable
  7. A description of how faculty and staff will be redeployed or helped to find new employment
  1. Substantive Change Cover Sheet
  2. Provide the closure data, the date when students are no longer admitted
  3. An explanation of how affected parties will be informed of the impending closure
  4. An explanation of how all affected students will be helped to complete their programs of study with minimal disruption or additional costs
  5. Explain whether the students subject to the teach-out plan will incur additional charges or other expenses because of the teach-out and if so how they will be notified
  6. Copies of signed teach-out agreements with other institutions, if applicable
  7. A description of how faculty and staff will be redeployed or helped to find new employment

 

*Information Source: SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy and Procedures