Substantive change


The purpose of this Policy is to establish the policy and procedures for reporting and review of institutional substantive change, prior to implementation, as well as to ensure compliance to the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges, (SACSCOC) policy and procedures relating to substantive changes.


All requests for substantive changes must be processed through the University’s SACSCOC Liaison, within the timeframe designated by SACSCOC. No substantive change requests should be submitted directly to SACSCOC, except by the President.


Substantive Change- defined by SACSCOC as a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution. Examples may include:

  • Any change in the established mission or objectives of the institution;
  • Any change in legal status, form of control, or ownership of the institution;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • A change from clock hours to credit hours;
  • A substantial increase in the number of clock or credit hours awarded for successful completion of a program;
  • The establishment of an additional location geographically apart from the main campus at which the institution offers at least 50 percent of an educational program; or
  • The establishment of a branch campus.


  1. Deans contemplating a new program or significant change in their College’s programming should contact the University’s SACSCOC Liaison. If a Dean is unclear as to whether a change is substantive in nature, he/she should contact the University’s SACSCOC Liaison for clarification.
  2. To initiate the process, a Dean should submit a “Letter of Intent” to the SACSCOC Liaison and copy the President.
    1. The Letter of Intent should include a summary of the proposed change(s) along with the anticipated implementation date and location.
    2. The Letter of Intent should be submitted at least twelve (12) months prior to the anticipated launch date.
  3. The SACSCOC Liaison will submit the Letter of Intent to the President for review. If approved, the SACSCOC Liaison will instruct the Dean to compile the required SACSCOC prospectus and/or application, as well as all required supporting paperwork to request a substantive change.
  4. The SACSCOC Liaison and the Dean should coordinate their efforts in preparing the prospectus and/or application to SACSCOC. No one other than the President should submit any substantive change requests directly to SACSCOC.
  5. The President or his designee will inform the Dean of the outcome of the prospectus and/or application evaluation by SACSCOC. No substantive changes to any College programming should occur prior to approval by SACSCOC.

To learn more about this policy or the supporting procedures, please contact Academic Affairs.

Policy updated on: Oct. 24, 2018