Substantive change

Substantive change is defined by SACSCOC as "a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution."

Actions that fall under substantive change 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 of study at a degree or credential level different from 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
  • The establishment of a branch campus
  • Closing a program, off-campus site, branch campus or institution
  • Entering into a collaborative academic arrangement that includes only the initiation of a dual or joint academic program with another institution
  • Acquiring another institution or a program or location of another institution
  • Adding a permanent location at a site where the institution is conducting a teach-out program for a closed institution
  • Entering into a contract by which an entity not eligible for Title IV funding offers 25 percent or more of one or more of the accredited institution’s programs

Substantive change process

Questions about whether a given action constitutes a substantive change should be directed to the Office of the Provost. Please contact Deborah Noble-Triplett, SACSCOC liaison, at

Substantive change fees

Some, though not all, substantive changes require fees to be paid to SACSCOC. Please note that the unit responsible for the substantive change will also be responsible for covering these fees.

Fees can vary based on the type of substantive change required. Contact Rachel Gable, director of institutional effectiveness, at with questions about fees.


Some departmental actions that require SCHEV approval may also require SACSCOC notification or approval under the substantive change policy. Please contact with any questions.

For academic units proposing actions that require SCHEV approval, please also complete the SACSCOC Substantive Change Checklist [Word Doc] to determine whether these actions also require SACSCOC notification or approval.