Substantive Change

SACSCOC Substantive Change Policies

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.

To learn more, see the SACSCOC Substantive Changes. Developments that represent a substantive change and the procedures for reporting them can be found in the Commission’s Substantive Change Policy and Procedures.

SACSCOC Substantive Change FAQs

SACSCOC Substantive Change Workshops

ACC Substantive Change Guidelines and Procedures

The ACC Office of Institutional Planning & Accreditation works with SACSCOC to ensure timely submission of substantive changes in compliance with the Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement.

In accordance with SACSCOC policies and timelines, Austin Community College will notify SACSCOC of substantive changes prior to implementation. Austin Community College will request approval of substantive changes, when required by SACSCOC policies.

Administrative Rule 7.1100.01.1 Reporting Substantive Changes to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Administrative Rule 7.1100.01.1 Guidelines/Procedures

When should the ACC Office of Institutional Planning & Accreditation be notified?

The ACC Office of Institutional Planning & Accreditation 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 percent 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 percent 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 uncertain about whether a situation constitutes a substantive change, please contact the ACC Office of Institutional Planning & Accreditation.

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 Institutional Planning & Accreditation 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.

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