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900.6 - Substantive Change

University Group Policy #900.6

I.    Executive Summary

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accredits an entire institution and its programs and services, wherever they are located or however they are delivered.  Member institutions are required to notify SACSCOC of changes in accordance with the substantive change policy and, when required, seek approval prior to the initiation of changes. 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.

II.  Policy Statement

It is the policy of Winston-Salem State University to comply with the requirements of SACSCOC substantive change policy by notifying and obtaining approval prior to implementing substantive changes to its mission or programs.

III.     Definitions

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 programs.

IV.    Roles and Responsibilities

The Chancellor of WSSU has overall responsibility for ensuring compliance with this policy.  The university’s Accreditation Liaison is responsible for assisting the Chancellor and academic program officials in complying with the SACSCOC Policy and Procedures on Substantive Change and for reporting substantive changes to SACSCOC.  Under the guidance of the Provost, the university deans, the chairs of the Academic Standards and Curriculum Committee and the Graduate Council are responsible for:

  • Recognizing pending substantive changes;
  • Ensuring that all relevant notification and approval processes outlined in the on- campus routing forms for approval of undergraduate and graduate curricular proposals are followed;
  • Reporting actions that may be substantive to the Accreditation Liaison; and
  • Ensuring that the university has obtained prior approval from SACSCOC before implementing any programs with substantive changes.

V.     Applicability

This policy applies to all employees and relevant programs.

IV.    Compliance

The institutional accreditation liaison will review new recommended programs and changes to programs with the Provost as they arise to ensure that all substantive changes are reported in accordance with the policy of SACSCOC.                                                                   

Responsible Division: Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic & Student Affairs

Authority: Board of Trustees


  • Adopted: March 16, 2018
  • Amended March 15, 2019