Substantive Change

Accredited institutions with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) are required to notify the Commission of substantive changes, and when required, seek approval prior to the initiation of changes. Substantive change is a critical component of our ongoing accreditation with SACSCOC, and failure to comply with substantive change requirements could result in a sanction for the university.  

The University of Florida has developed its Substantive Change policy to align with and operationalize the SACSCOC policy for our campus.  Here are the links to the UF and SACSCOC policies:

What Constitutes Susbstantive Change

A substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution.  Substantive change includes high-impact, high-risk changes and changes that can impact the quality of educational programs and services.  Substantive changes, including those required by federal regulations, include:

  • Substantially changing the established mission or objectives of an institution or its programs.
  • Changing the legal status, form of control, or ownership of an institution.
  • Changing the governance of an institution.
  • Merging/consolidating two or more institutions or entities.
  • Acquiring another institution or any program or location of another institution.
  • Relocating an institution or an off-campus instructional site of an institution (including a branch campus).
  • Offering courses or programs at a higher or lower degree level than currently authorized.
  • Adding graduate programs at an institution previously offering only undergraduate programs (including degrees, diplomas, certificates, and other for-credit credential).
  • Changing the way an institution measures student progress, whether in clock hours or credit-hours; semesters, trimesters, or quarters; or time-based or non-time-based methods or measures.
  • Adding a program that is a significant departure from the existing programs, or method of delivery, from those offered when the institution was last evaluated.
  • Initiating programs by distance education or correspondence courses.
  • Adding an additional method of delivery to currently offered programs.
  • Entering into a cooperative academic arrangement.
  • Entering into a written arrangement under 34 C.F.R. § 668.5 under which an institution or organization not certified to participate in title IV Higher Education Act (HEA) programs offers less than 25% (notification) or 25-50% (approval) of one or more of the accredited institution’s educational program. An agreement offering more than 50% of one or more of an institution’s programs is prohibited by federal regulation.
  • Substantially increase or decreasing the number of clock hours or credit hours award or competencies demonstrated, or an increase in the level of credential awarded, for successful completion of one or more programs.
  • Adding competency-based education programs.
  • Adding each competency-based education program by direct assessment.
  • Adding programs with completion pathways that recognize and accommodated a student’s prior or existing knowledge or competency.
  • Awarding dual or joint academic awards.
  • Re-opening a previously closed program or off-campus instructional site.
  • Adding a new off-campus institutional site/additional location including a branch campus.
  • Adding a permanent location at a site at which an institution is conducting a teach-out program for students of another institution that has ceased operating before all students have completed their program of study.
  • Closing an institution, a program, a method of delivery, an off-campus instructional site, or a program at an off-campus instructional site.

Questions? 

Contact Cheryl Gater at cgater@aa.ufl.edu, or Tim Brophy, UF's SACSCOC liaison, at tbrophy@aa.ufl.edu