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Substantive Change is a term used by our accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), to describe "any significant modification or expansion in the nature and scope of an accredited institution." Some of the most common changes that would apply to Southwestern Community College (SCC) are:

  • adding new types of curriculum programs
  • adding locations where SCC holds curriculum courses
  • expanding a program from one campus to an additional location (even if we already have approval for other programs at that location)
  • changing the method of delivering instruction to students
  • forming collaborative arrangements with other colleges or schools
  • moving or closing a location where SCC holds curriculum courses

Any change in the curriculum programs that SCC offers, or the locations where curriculum courses meet (including a change from seated to distance courses), needs to be evaluated to determine whether the change needs to be reported. At SCC, the Executive Vice President for Instruction, Student Services and Workforce Innovations reviews any and all proposed changes and notifies SACSCOC for approval.

If you have an initiative that you feel may constitute a substantive change, please contact the Executive Vice President for Instruction, Student Services and Workforce Innovations to discuss the matter. He will research the appropriate guidelines to follow and will organize the submission of appropriate notification.

Types and Timing of Notification

Substantive changes generally require a notification of the change be submitted to SACSCOC six months prior to the implementation AND a prospectus be submitted at least three months prior to implementation.

  • The notification letter simply demonstrates our intent to make a change and includes the proposed implementation date and the physical address(es) of the change.
  • The prospectus documents and demonstrates in great detail the need for the change, the plan for the change and the College's ability to support the change under property authority, through adequate resources, facilities and faculty, and with appropriate evaluation and assessment.

Details about what constitutes a substantive change and what SCC needs to send to SACSCOC in response to a substantive change are available in the Substantive Change Chart.

Helpful Resources


Please contact us if you have any questions about substantive change or if you would like to report a possible substantive change. 

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