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SACSCOC Requirements

Substantive Change Reporting

A substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution.

  1. What previously approved programs does USC offer that are closely related to the new program and how are they related?
  2. Will significant additional equipment or facilities be needed?
  3. Will significant additional financial resources be needed?
  4. Will a significant number (greater than 25%) of new courses be required?
  5. Will a significant number of new faculty be required?
  6. Will a significant number of additional library/ learning resources by required?


SACSCOC Requirements by Program and Change Type

Program Type Type of Change SACSCOC Requirement Keywords
(hidden column)

New Program

ACAF 2.00

Initiate a new program (significant departure) Approval  

New Program

ACAF 2.00

Initiate a new program (not a significant departure) No action required  

ACADEMIC PROGRAMS (credit-bearing)

ACAF 2.03

Initiating coursework or programs at different level than currently approved Approval  
Program Termination Close a program Approval  
Program Modification Change curriculum (already approved program, non-substantial change in credit hours) No action required   
Program Name Change Change program name No action required   
Academic Concentrations Add/Remove Concentration/Track within approved program No action required   
Academic Programs Initiating degree completion programs Approval  
ACADEMIC PROGRAMS (credit-bearing) Altering significantly the length of a program Approval  
ACADEMIC PROGRAMS (credit-bearing) Expanding at current degree level (significant departure from current programs) Approval  
OFF-CAMPUS INSTRUCTIONAL SITES
(not previously accepted or approved)
Initiate <25% of a program No action required   
OFF-CAMPUS INSTRUCTIONAL SITES
(not previously accepted or approved)
Initiate < 25-49% of program Notification   
OFF-CAMPUS INSTRUCTIONAL SITES
(not previously accepted or approved)
Initiate 50% or more of a program Approval  
OFF-CAMPUS INSTRUCTIONAL SITES
(not previously accepted or approved)
Initiating a branch campus Approval  
OFF-CAMPUS INSTRUCTIONAL SITES
(previously accepted or approved)
Change of Address  Notification  
OFF-CAMPUS INSTRUCTIONAL SITES
(previously accepted or approved)
Relocation Notification   
OFF-CAMPUS INSTRUCTIONAL SITES
(previously accepted or approved)
Closure (when admission stops) Approval  
OFF-CAMPUS INSTRUCTIONAL SITES
(previously accepted or approved)
Closure with teach out of students by institution Approval, Notification  
OFF-CAMPUS INSTRUCTIONAL SITES
(previously accepted or approved)
Closure with contract with another institution to teach out students (Teach-out Agreement) Approval, Notification  
OFF-CAMPUS INSTRUCTIONAL SITES
(previously accepted or approved)
Adding a site under a U.S. military contract Approval  
OFF-CAMPUS INSTRUCTIONAL SITES
(previously accepted or approved)
Expanding program offerings at by adding programs that ARE significantly different from current programs at the site AND the institution  Approval  
OFF-CAMPUS INSTRUCTIONAL SITES
(previously accepted or approved)
Expanding program offerings by adding approved programs that ARE significantly different from current programs at the site but NOT at the institution No action required   
CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS Initiating a certificate program at employer’s request and on short notice using existing approved courses and location No action required   
CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS Initiating certificate program (not at employer’s request and not on short notice) using existing approved courses and location No action required   
CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS Initiating a certificate program that is a significant departure from previously approved programs at employer’s request and on short notice Approval  
CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS Initiating a certificate program at a new off-campus site at employer’s request and on short notice (previously approved program) Approval  
DISTANCE LEARNING Initiate institution’s first program offering 50% or more via Distance Learning Approval  
DISTANCE LEARNING Initiating distance learning by offering <24% of any program for the first time No action required   
DISTANCE LEARNING Initiating distance learning by offering 25-49% of the first program for the first time Notification  
DISTANCE LEARNING Initiate additional programs offered via distance learning (institution is already approved for distance learning) No action required   
DISTANCE LEARNING Close an academic program offered via distance learning Approval  
JOINT/ DUAL PROGRAMS Initiating dual or joint degrees with other SACSCOC accredited institution(s) Notification   
JOINT/ DUAL PROGRAMS Initiating programs or courses offered through contractual agreement or consortium Notification   
JOINT/ DUAL PROGRAMS Initiating dual or joint degrees involving program expansion (significant departure) Approval  
JOINT/ DUAL PROGRAMS Initiating a new site where students can obtain 50% or more credits toward a program Approval  
JOINT/ DUAL PROGRAMS Initiating dual or joint degree with at least one institution not accredited by SACSCOC Approval, Notification  
JOINT/ DUAL PROGRAMS 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 Notification   
INSTITUTIONAL POLICY/ ADMINISTRATION Change in Mission Statement (minor-e.g., editorial) No action required   
INSTITUTIONAL POLICY/ ADMINISTRATION Change in Mission Statement (major-e.g., direction) Approval  
INSTITUTIONAL POLICY/ ADMINISTRATION Change in the Highest Degree Offered (Level Change)- From Level V to VI Adding a fourth Doctorate (not a significant program departure)  Notification   
INSTITUTIONAL POLICY/ ADMINISTRATION Change in the Highest Degree offered (Level Change)- From Level V to VI- Adding a fourth Doctorate (significant program departure) Approval, Notification  
INSTITUTIONAL POLICY/ ADMINISTRATION Change the highest Degree Offered (Level Change)- higher or lower (except Level V- VI see above) Approval  
INSTITUTIONAL POLICY/ ADMINISTRATION Changing from clock hours to credit hours Approval  
INSTITUTIONAL POLICY/ ADMINISTRATION Initiating a direct assessment competency-based program Approval, Notification  
INSTITUTIONAL POLICY/ ADMINISTRATION Initiating a merger/ consolidation with another institution Approval  
INSTITUTIONAL POLICY/ ADMINISTRATION Changing governance, ownership, control or legal status of an institution Approval  

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