PROV-021: Substantive Change for Regional Accreditation
The purpose of this policy is to ensure compliance with the “Substantive Change Policy and Procedures” established by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The U.S. Department of Education requires regional accrediting bodies, such as SACSCOC, to ensure that any substantive change to the educational mission, program, or programs of an accredited institution does not adversely affect the capacity of said institution to continue to meet the agency's standards. To do this, SACSCOC has established a substantive change policy that requires the University to notify and/or seek approval from SACSCOC when institutional actions occur that could qualify as substantive change. The SACSCOC “Substantive Change Policy and Procedures” outlines institutional responsibilities related to the reporting of a substantive change. Failure to comply with SACSCOC’s Substantive Change Policy may jeopardize the University’s accreditation and/or ability to receive federal funds.
A significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution. Substantive changes can impact the quality of educational programs and services (see U.S. Department of Education Required Operating Policies and Procedures section 602.22).
To ensure compliance with the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy and Procedures, the following roles and responsibilities have been established. Each school is expected to designate an individual to serve as a school academic compliance contact for SACSCOC substantive change purposes.
The University’s SACSCOC liaison is responsible for:
- Coordinating with the University’s schools to ensure institutional activity complies with the SACSCOC policy on substantive change; and
- Acting as the institutional authority on the SACSCOC policy on substantive change, inclusive of managing all notifications and related correspondence to SACSCOC regarding a substantive change.
School academic compliance contacts are responsible for:
- Familiarizing themselves with this policy, the SACSCOC policy on substantive change, and the procedures outlined in “Review and Approval Processes” related to academic program actions;
- Altering the University’s SACSCOC liaison in advance of any activity that may constitute substantive change; and
- Promoting adherence to institutional policies and procedures that support compliance with SACSCOC substantive change policy.