Substantive Change Policy

Number:                    270

Subject:                     Substantive Change Policy

Updated:                    March 2016

Responsibility:          Vice President for Strategic Services.




Substantive Change Policy Statement

“Substantive change” is generally defined as any significant modification or expansion of the University’s scope (such as the addition of educational programs or instructional locations) or its nature (such as affiliation, ownership, or mission).  Specifically, the definitions and explanations in the SACSCOC policy regarding substantive change determine the understanding of what constitutes such a change.  

The federal government requires regional accrediting agencies to have a substantive change policy and to monitor the compliance of its member colleges and universities with the substantive change policy.  Amberton University’s regional accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) requires as a condition of accreditation member institutions to notify the SACSCOC of substantive changes, and, in some cases, seek SACSCOC approval prior to implementation of such changes. 

Policy Rationale

The purpose of this policy is to establish the Amberton University responsibilities and required procedures for timely notification of substantive change to SACSCOC.  The policy complies with the SACSCOC   Principles of Accreditation:  Foundation for Quality Enhancement and the SACSCOC Substantive Change for SACSCOC Accredited Institutions Policy (  in adherence with United States Department of Education Regulations 34 CFR 602.22 Substantive Change.   

Types and Procedures for Substantive Change

The SACSCOC website identifies the different types of substantive changes as well as the procedure for notification to SACSCOC.  Some procedures require simply notification while others require prior approval before implementation.  A complete listing of substantive change types and procedures is available on the SACSCOC website. 

Responsibilities and Process

Although the SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison (currently the Vice President for Strategic Services) is responsible for communicating with SACSCOC, the hierarchy of Amberton is such that all the administrators and the President will be involved in the substantive change process.  At the earliest stage of consideration, any potential substantive change is to be presented to the Administrative Council to determine if it is a substantive change.  Using the definitions of substantive changes on the SACSCOC website, the determination is made if a substantive change exists, if so what category, and the appropriate notification procedure to follow.  The substantive change documents will initially be prepared according to SACSCOC instructions and given to the SACSCOC liaison.  The SACSCOC liaison will finalize the document and give it to the President for approval.  Once approved, the document will be sent to SACSCOC.  The SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison will conduct any follow-up.