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Facts and Information Regarding Substantive Change

  1. The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement apply 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. The listing of items for approval, notification, or teach-out may not address all substantive changes that SACSCOC will review in the interim between reaffirmation cycles.
  6. An institution may withdraw a substantive change application, prospectus, or notification at any time during the review process by submitted a formal letter to the President of SACSCOC.
  7. If the review of a substantive change notification, prospectus, or application suggests material non-compliance with any of the Principles of Accreditation or SACSCOC policies, SACSCOC reserves the right to further review. An institution may be required to submit materials related to the possible non-compliance for review by the staff and for possible review and action by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees.
  8. SACSCOC staff review all substantive changes requiring notification prior to implementation and conduct a preliminary review of all changes requiring approval. 
    1. Governance Changes
    2. Institution, Program, or Location Acquisition 
    3. Level Change
    4. New Programs that are a significant departure
    5. Mergers or consolidations
    6. Ownership, Means of Control, or Legal Status
    7. Competency-based Education by Direct Assessment
    8. First two Off-campus sites
    9. Institutions on Substantive Change Restriction will have more requirements for approval. Substantive Change Restriction applies if the institution is: 
      1. on warning status
      2. on probation
      3. on probation for good cause
      4. is under provision certification for participation in federal financial aid programs
  9. All final decisions regarding the accreditation status of an institution are made by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees. 
  10. Substantive changes that may affect the accreditation cycle are: 
    1. merger/consolidation, acquisition of an institution, or change of ownership
    2. change of governance, means of control, or legal status
    3. extensive substantive changes
  11. 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. 
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. If an institution has education programs and off-campus instructional sites that are inactive but not closed the following applies (please note, if we are no longer actively admitting students to that site or program we must submit a teach-out plan to SACSCOC):
    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.