Substantive Change

Substantive Change is a term used by our accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), to describe "any significant modification or expansion in the nature and scope of an accredited institution." Under federal regulations, substantive change includes:

  • 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% 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% or more of one or more of the accredited institution's programs

Any change in the curriculum programs that CCCC offers, or the locations where curriculum courses meet (including a change from seated to distance courses), needs to be evaluated to determine whether the change needs to be reported. At CCCC, the Institutional Effectiveness Office reviews any and all proposed changes and recommends appropriate communication of the plan to SACSCOC for approval.

If you have an initiative that you feel may constitute a substantive change, please contact Stormy Mascitelli, Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Research, to discuss the matter. She will research the appropriate guidelines to follow and will work to organize the submission of appropriate notification.

Types and Timing of Notification

Substantive changes generally require a notification of the change be submitted to SACSCOC six months prior to the implementation AND a prospectus submitted the prior January for a fall implementation and by June for a Spring implementation.

  • The notification letter simply demonstrates our intent to make a change and includes the proposed implementation date and the physical address(es) of the change.
  • The prospectus documents and demonstrates in great detail the need for the change, the plan for the change and the college's ability to support the change under property authority, through adequate resources, facilities and faculty, and with appropriate evaluation and assessment.

Details about what constitutes a substantive change and what CCCC needs to send to SACSCOC in response to a substantive change are available in the Substantive Change Charts.

Helpful Resources