Substantive Change

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) defines substantive change as a significant modification or expansion in the nature and scope of an accredited institution.

SACSCOC is responsible for reviewing all substantive changes that occur between an institution's decennial reviews to determine whether the change has affected the quality of the institution, and to ensure that the institution continues to meet defined standards. Certain types of substantive changes, such as adding branch campuses, mergers/consolidations, and changes in governance, require a visit by a substantive change committee to determine continued compliance.

Developments that are considered to represent a substantive change and the procedures for reporting them can be found in the Commission's policy on Substantive Change.

When should the ACC Office of Accreditation and Compliance be notified?

The ACC Office of Accreditation and Compliance must be notified PRIOR to

  1. any change in the established mission or objectives of the institution;
  2. any change in legal status, form of control, or ownership of the institution;
  3. 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;
  4. the addition of courses or programs of study at a degree or credential level different from that which is included in the institution’s current accreditation or reaffirmation;
  5. a change from clock hours to credit hours;
  6. a substantial increase in the number of clock or credit hours awarded for successful completion of a program;
  7. the establishment of an additional location geographically apart from the main campus at which the institution offers at least 50% of an educational program;
  8. the establishment of a branch campus;
  9. closing a program, off campus site, branch campus or institution;
  10. entering into a collaborative academic arrangement that includes only the initiation of a dual or joint academic program with another institution;
  11. acquiring another institution or a program or location of another institution;
  12. adding a permanent location at a site where the institution is conducting a teach out program for a closed institution; and/or
  13. 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.

New Location Request Form

Program Award Expiration Form

Program Revision Form

Proposed New Program Form

 If you are unclear as to what situation constitutes a Substantive Change, please contact the ACC Office of Accreditation and Compliance.

Who should be notified once a substantive change is approved by SACSCOC?

Once a new program location has been approved by SACSCOC, the ACC Office of Accreditation and Compliance notifies the Financial Aid office to update its report of program locations to the Department of Education. Additionally, the Office notifies the Clery Compliance Officer.