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South Florida State College
Administrative Procedures

Procedure: 1030

Title: Substantive Change

Based on Policy: 1.03 - Accreditation

Office of Primary Responsibility: Vice President for Educational and Student Services


  1. Purpose:

To comply with the substantive change procedures of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and ensure that all substantive changes are documented and reported to the Commission in a timely fashion.

  1. Procedure:

Definition:  Substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution.  Under federal regulations, substantive change includes the following:
 

    1. Any change in the mission of the college
    2. Change in the legal status, governance, or ownership of the college
    3. Addition of courses or programs that represent a significant departure, either in content or method of delivery
    4. Initiation of courses or programs of study at a different degree or credential level
    5. Change from clock hours to credit hours
    6. Significant increase in the number of clock or credit hours awarded for successful completion of a program
    7. Establishment of a new location at which at least 50% of an education program is offered
    8. Establishment of a branch campus
    9. Closure of a program, off-campus site, or branch campus
    10. Entering into a collaborative academic arrangement with another academic institution
    11. Acquiring another institution or program location of another institution
    12. Adding a permanent location at a site where the college is conducting a teach-out program for a closed institution
    13. Entering into a contract with entities not eligible for Title IV funding to provide >25% of programs
  1. In order to maintain compliance with the SACSCOC policy on substantive change the college will work collaboratively and cooperatively. All questions about whether or not a change is substantive should be directed to the SACS Accreditation Liaison.  In general, responsibilities fall into the following categories:
    1. College committees will remain aware of current SACSCOC substantive change policies and will notify the college’s SACS Accreditation Liaison of initiatives that may require notification or prospectus.
    2. The college’s SACS Accreditation Liaison will be responsible for coordinating the substantive change notification.
    3. The President’s Council will be made aware of recommended substantive changes.
    4. The college president will recommend substantive changes to the District Board of Trustees for approval.
    5. The college president will communicate with the SACSCOC president regarding substantive changes.
    6. A database of substantive change initiatives, notifications and status will be maintained by the accreditation liaison.

Member institutions are required to notify SACSCOC of selected changes in accordance with the substantive change policy, and when required seek approval prior to the initiation of identified changes.  SACSCOC substantive change policy is published on the SACSCOC website http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/081705/Substantive%20change%20policy.pdf and should be consulted for the most current requirements. 

The following chart describes the reporting of the various types of substantive change (from SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy). 

Types of Change

Procedure

Prior Notification Required

Time Frame for Contacting COC

Prior Approval Required

Documentation

Initiating coursework or programs at a different level than currently approved

1

NA

NA

Yes

Application for Level Change 

Due dates: April 15 or September 15

Expanding at current degree level (significant departure from current programs)

1

Yes

6 months

Yes

Prospectus

Initiating a branch campus (See definition of branch campus on p. 3 of SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy document

1

Yes

6 months

Yes

Prospectus

Initiating a certificate program at employer’s request and on short notice

…using existing approved courses

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

 …at a new off-campus site (previously approved program)

1

NA

NA

Yes

Modified prospectus

 …that is a significant departure from previously approved programs

1

Yes

Approval required prior to implementation

Yes

Modified prospectus

Initiating other certificate programs 

…using existing approved courses

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

 …at a new off-campus site (previously approved program

1

NA

NA

Yes

Prospectus

…that is a significant departure from previously approved programs

1

Yes

6 months

Yes

 Prospectus

Altering significantly the educational mission of the institution 

1

NA

NA

Yes

 Contact Commission Staff

(Also, see page 16, Item 9 of SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy document)

Initiating joint or dual degrees with another institution
(See Agreements involving joint and dual academic awards in SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy document)

 …Joint programs with another SACSCOC accredited institution

2

Yes

Prior to implementation

NA

Copy of signed agreement and contact information for each institution

 …Joint programs with an institution not accredited by SACSCOC

1

Yes

6 months 

Yes

Prospectus

...Dual programs

2

Yes

Prior to implementation

No

Copy of signed agreement and contact information for each institution

Initiating off-campus sites (including Early College High School and dual enrollment programs offered at the high school) 

…Student can obtain 50% or more credits toward program

1

NA

NA

Yes

Prospectus

...Student can obtain 25-49% of credit

2

Yes

Prior to implementation

NA

Letter of notification

…Student can obtain 24% or less

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

Expanding program offerings at previously approved off-campus sites

…Adding programs that are significantly different from current programs at the site

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

...Adding programs that are NOT significantly different form current programs at the site

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

Altering significantly the length of a program

1

NA

NA

Yes

Prospectus

Initiating distance learning

…Offering 50% or more of a program for the first time

1

NA

NA

Yes

Prospectus

…Offering 25-49%

2

Yes

Prior to implementation

No

Letter of notification

…Offering 24% or less

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

Initiating programs or courses offered through contractual agreement or consortium

2

Yes

Prior to implementation

NA

Letter of notification and copy of signed agreement

Entering into a contract with an entity not certified to participate in USDOE Title IV programs

…if the entity provides 25% or more of an educational program offered by the COC accredited institution

1

NA

NA

Yes

Prospectus

…if the entity provides less than 25% of an educational program offered by the accredited institution

2

Yes 

Prior to implementation

NA

Copy of the signed agreement

Initiating a merger/consolidation with another institution

See SACSCOC policy: Merger, Consolidations and Change of Ownership: Review and Approval

Yes

6 months

Yes

Prospectus

Due dates: April 15 or September 15

Changing governance, ownership, control, or legal status of an institution

See SACSCOC policy: Merger, Consolidations and Change of Ownership: Review and Approval

Yes

6 months

Yes

Prospectus

Relocating a main or branch campus

1

Yes

6 months

Yes

Prospectus

Moving an off-campus instructional site (serving the same geographic area)

2

Yes

Prior to implementation

NA

Letter of notification with new address and starting date

Changing from clock hours to credit hours

1

NA

NA

Yes

Justify reasons for change, indicate calculation of equivalency, and other pertinent information

Altering significantly the length of a program

1

NA

NA

Yes

Prospectus

Initiating degree completion programs

1

NA

NA

Yes

Prospectus

Closing a program, approved off-campus site, branch campus, or institution

…Institution to teach-out its own students

3

Yes

Immediately following decision to close

Yes

Description of teach-out plan included with letter of notification

…Institution contracts with another institution to teach-out students (Teach-out Agreement)

3

Yes

Immediately following decision to close

Yes

Description of teach-out plan, copy of signed teach-out agreement detailing terms included with notification

Acquiring any program or site from another institution

See SACSCOC policy: Merger, Consolidations and Change of Ownership: Review and Approval

Yes

6 months

Yes

Prospectus

Adding a permanent location at a site where the institution is conducting a teach-out for students from another institution that is closing

See SACSCOC policy: Merger, Consolidations and Change of Ownership: Review and Approval

Yes

6 months

Yes

Prospectus

 

History: Adopted: 3/5/13

Adopted: 3/5/2013

Reviewed:

Revised: