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SACSCOC Requirements for Substantive Changes

Substantive Change requirements by SACSCOC

Definition: Substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution.

Please contact the WKU Provost office to discuss if the new program meets the definition of a substantive change and requires separate reporting. WKU's policy on Substantive Change is located at https://www.wku.edu/policies/docs/index.php?policy=290

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits an entire institution and its programs and services, wherever they are located or however they are delivered. It is responsible for reviewing all substantive changes that occur between an institution’s decennial reviews to determine whether or not the change has affected the quality of the total institution and to assure the public that all aspects of the institution continue to meet defined standards.

The Commission on Colleges is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an agency whose accreditation enables its member institutions to seek eligibility to participate in Title IV programs. To maintain its recognition with the U.S. Department of Education, the Commission on Colleges has incorporated federal requirements into its substantive change policy and procedures. Some of those requirements expect an institution to seek approval prior to the initiation of a substantive change so that the change can be included in the institution’s scope of accreditation.

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 (including the prospectus), and their reporting time lines are included on the SACSCOC Substantive Change page.  An example prospectus to report substantive change for SACSCOC compliance.

SACSCOC Deadlines

1) Letter of Notification (anytime).

2) Prospectus (due to SACSCOC either January 1 for 7/1-12/31 implementation or July 1 for 1/1-6/30 implementation).

Please discuss the report and process with the WKU Provost office for details regarding reporting (contact information above).


Rob Hale

Dr. Rob Hale

Associate Provost, Faculty & Academic Excellence

Phone:  (270) 745-5776


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 Last Modified 7/1/20