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Policy 1307 – Policy and Procedure for Substantive Change

Effective Date: 3/8/2019

Responsible Office: Office of the President, Provost

Reference: Council for Academic Deans


Institutional Obligations:

  1. Member institutions are required to notify the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) of changes in accordance with the substantive change policy and, when required, seek approval prior to the initiation of changes.
  2. Member institutions are required to have a policy and procedure to ensure that all substantive changes are reported to the Commission in a timely fashion.

Definition: Substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of 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 program

(From Substantive Change for SACSCOC Accredited Institutions)

University Responsibilities:

It is the responsibility of the President of Louisiana Tech University to notify Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) of substantive changes described above. It is the obligation of the University faculty and staff to assist the President in recognizing and reporting substantive changes. Failure to report these changes and any planned substantive changes can result in loss of the University’s accreditation for certificate and degree programs. Henceforth, the following policies and procedures have been established for recognizing and reporting substantive changes.

Administrative Heads of Academic and Non-Academic Units:

These individuals are responsible for understanding the nature of what SACSCOC considers significant modifications, expansion of programs, and scope/nature of an accredited institution. Administrative Heads should become familiar with the SACSCOC website (www.sacscoc.org) and Substantive Change documentation.

President, Provost, Vice-Presidents, Deans, Chairs, Directors, and Administrators:

It is the duties of these individuals to ensure the University SACSCOC Liaison is notified of any planning as some modification may require pre-approval from SACSCOC.

University Approval Process

Standard University Policies and Procedures are to be followed during the process of implementation of new programs, curriculum, etc. and are to be done so PRIOR to submission of documentation to the SACSCOC main office. That is, all programmatic changes initiated at the Departmental or University level must continue to follow University Policies and Procedures for approvals at the College, University (Instructional Policy Committee, Graduate Council, Administrative and Planning Council) and Presidential levels (e.g., see Policy2301: Policies and Procedures of the Instructional Policies Committee and Policy 2311 Policies and Procedures of the Graduate Council).

Approval from the University of Louisiana System and/or Board of Regents, as in each case is appropriate, will be sought at the earliest scheduled meeting of the Board(s) after University approvals are obtained.

Programs are not permitted to advertise, admit, or initiate a new program until this final step has been completed: submission to and approved by SACSCOC.

Substantive Change Policy

The table below describes the procedure for submission for documentation to the SACSCOC main office. All submissions are reviewed by the University SACSCOC Liaison the Provost, and the President prior to submission to SACSCOC.

University personnel are to be reminded that all correspondences are to made with the University SACSCOC Liaison and NOT with the SACSCOC main office.

Procedures for Reporting: An Overview

There are three procedures for addressing the different types of substantive changes included in this document:

  • Procedure One for the Review of Substantive Changes Requiring Approval Prior to Implementation (Notification may also be required). 
  • Procedure Two for the Review of Substantive Changes Requiring Only Notification Prior to Implementation (some changes also require submission of additional documents).
  • Procedure Three for Closing a Program, Site, Branch Campus or Institution.

See substantive change for SACSCOC accredited institutions for procedures.

Procedures for the following types of changes are included in a separate document, “Merger/Consolidation, Acquisition, Change of Ownership, and Change of Governance, Control, Form, or Legal Status – Substantive Change for SACSCOC Accredited Institutions Policy Statement”

  • initiating a merger or consolidation;
  • acquiring an institution or location (including programs) of another institution;
  • initiating a change of ownership;
  • initiating a change of governance, control, form, or legal status; and
  • adding as a permanent off-campus instructional site a location at which the institution is conducting a teach-out for students of another institution.

Procedures for approval of direct assessment competency-based education programs are in a separate document, “Direct Assessment Competency-Based Educational Programs.”

The initiation or revision of programs not offered for academic credit and that are not eligible for federal financial aid does not require reporting; however, such programs are subject to review at the time of reaffirmation.

Reporting the Various Types of Substantive Change

The different types of substantive change, the specific procedure to be used for each, their respective approval/notification requirements, and their reporting time lines are included in the table that follows. Please read the full text under the appropriate procedure for details regarding reporting.

Substantive Change Policies and Procedures
Types of Change Procedure or Policy Prior Notification Required Prior Approval Required Documentation and Time Frame for Contacting SACSCOC
Initiating coursework or programs at a different level than currently approved Procedure 1 No Yes Application for Level Change
Due dates: March 15 (for June review) September 1 (for December review)
Initiating off-campus sites where students can obtain 50% or more credits toward a program (including but not limited to Early College High School, dual-enrollment programs offered at a high school, and certificate programs that are not at an employer’s request and not on short notice).

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

Expanding program offerings at previously approved off-campus sites by adding programs that are significantly different from current programs at the site and at the institution

Initiating degree completion programs

Initiating a branch campus (See definition of “branch campus” on page 3 of this document).

Initiating distance learning by offering 50% or more of the first program for the first time

Relocating a main or branch campus

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 SACSCOC accredited institution

Procedure 1 No Yes

 

 

 

Cover Sheet Prospectus

(See Appendix B of this document)

 

Due dates:

January 1 for 7/1-12/31 implementation July 1 for 1/1-6/30 implementation

Initiating dual or joint degrees involving program expansion (significant departure) or initiating a new site where student can obtain 50% or more credits toward a program See SACSCOC policy

Agreements Involving Joint and Dual Academic Awards

No Yes Cover Sheet

Prospectus

(See Appendix B of this document)
Due dates: January 1 for 7/1-12/31 implementation July 1 for 1/1-6/30 implementation

Copy of signed agreement, contact information for each institution, and additional details on non-SACSCOC institution(s) involved. See Policy.

Initiating dual or joint degree with at least one institution not accredited by SACSCOC See SACSCOC Policy

“Agreements Involving Joint and Dual Academic Awards”

At least 6 months prior to implementation Yes Acceptance of notification, copy of signed agreement, contact information for each institution, and additional details on non-SACSCOC institution(s).See Policy.
Initiating a program or courses delivered through cooperative academic arrangement Procedure 2 At least 6 months prior to implementation No Acceptance of notification, copy of signed agreement, contact information for each institution/entity
Initiating a direct assessment competency-based program See SACSCOC Policy

Direct Assessment Competency-Based Educational Programs

Yes – Screening Form Yes Submit “Screening Form” with letter of notification. If Prospectus is required,

Due dates: March 15 (for June review) September 1 (for December review)

Initiating a merger/consolidation with another institution

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

Acquiring an institution or location (including programs) of another institution

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:

Mergers/Consolidation, Acquisition, Change of Ownership, and Change of Governance, Control, Form, or Legal Status — Substantive Change for SACSCOC Accredited Institutions Policy Statement”

Yes: December 15 (for June review); (for December review) Yes Cover Sheet Institutional Summary Form

Prospectus

(See Appendix in SACSCOC Policy: “Mergers/Consolidation, Acquisition, Change of Ownership, and Change of Governance, Control, Form, or Legal Status — Substantive Change for SACSCOC Accredited Institutions Policy Statement”)

Due dates: March 15 (for June review); September 1 (for December review)

Initiating a certificate program at a new off-campus site at employer’s request and on short notice (previously approved program)

Initiating a certificate program that is a significant departure from previously approved programs at employer’s request and on short notice

Adding a site under a U.S. military contract for a previously approved program

Altering significantly the length of a program

Altering significantly the educational mission of the institution

Procedure 1 No Yes Cover Sheet Modified

prospectus

Contact Commission Staff

Changing from clock hours to credit hours Procedure 1 No Yes Justify reasons for change, indicate calculation of equivalency, and other pertinent information
Moving an off-campus instructional site (serving the same geographic area) Procedure 2 Yes No Letter of notification with old address, and implementation date
Initiating dual or joint degrees with other SACSCOC accredited institution(s) See SACSCOC Policy

Agreements Involving Joint and Dual Academic Awards

At least 6 months prior to implementation No Acceptance of notification, copy of signed agreement and contact information for each institution. See Policy.
Initiating programs or courses offered through contractual agreement or consortium

Entering into a contract with an entity not certified to participate in USDOE Title IV programs if the entity provides less than 25% of an educational program offered by the SACSCOC accredited institution

Procedure 2 Yes No Letter of notification and copy of signed agreement
Initiating off-campus sites where students can obtain 25-49% of credits toward a program (including but not limited to Early College High School, dual enrollment programs offered at a high school, and certificate programs that are not at employer’s request and not on short notice)

Initiating distance learning by offering 25-49% of the first program for the first time

Procedure 2 Yes Yes Letter of notification including street address and implementation date
Closing a program, approved off-campus site, branch campus, or institution where the institution plans to teach out its own students Procedure 3 Yes Yes Description of teach-out plan included with letter of notification
Closing a program, approved off-campus site, branch campus, or institution where the institution plans contracts with another institution(s) to teach-out students (Teach-out Agreement) Procedure 3 Yes Yes Description of teach-out plan, copy of signed teach-out agreement(s) detailing terms included with notification
Initiating a certificate program at employer’s request and on short notice using existing approved courses and location

Initiating certificate program (not at employer’s request and not on short notice) using existing approved courses and location

Initiating off-campus sites (including Early College High School and dual enrollment programs offered at the high school) where students can obtain 24% or less of credits toward a program

Expanding program offerings at previously approved off-campus sites by adding approved programs that are not significantly different from current programs at the site

Expanding program offerings at previously approved off-campus sites by adding approved programs that are significantly different from current programs at the site but not at the institution

Initiating distance learning by offering 24% or less of any program for the first time

N/A No No N/A

(From Substantive Change for SACSCOC Accredited Institutions)