1.16 Substantive Change for Accreditation

Policy TrackingDate
ApprovedFebruary 5, 2014
RevisedMay 10, 2021

  1. Overview
    The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accredits the 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, determining whether the changes have affected the quality of the total institution, and assuring the public that all aspects of the institution continue to meet defined standards.

    As a member institution of SACSCOC, Blue Ridge Community College is required to notify the Commission of changes in accordance with the substantive change policy and, when required, seek approval prior to the initiation of changes.
  2. Definition
    For purposes of this policy, the following definition shall apply:
    1. Substantive changes, including those required by federal regulations, include:
      1. Substantially changing the established mission or objectives of an institution or its programs.
      2. Changing the legal status, form of control, or ownership of an institution.
      3. Changing the governance of an institution.
      4. Merging / consolidating two or more institutions or entities.
      5. Acquiring another institution or any program or location of another institution.
      6. Relocating an institution or an off-campus instructional site of an institution (including a branch campus).
      7. Offering courses or programs at a higher or lower degree level than currently authorized.
      8. Adding graduate programs at an institution previously offering only undergraduate programs (including degrees, diplomas, certificates, and other for-credit credential). 
      9. 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.
      10. 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.
      11. Initiating programs by distance education or correspondence courses.
      12. Adding an additional method of delivery to a currently offered program.
      13. Entering into a cooperative academic arrangement.
      14. Entering into a written arrangement under 34 C.F.R. § 668.5 under which an institution or organization not certified to participate in the 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 programs. An agreement offering more than 50% of one or more of an institution’s programs is prohibited by federal regulation.
      15. Substantially increase or decreasing the number of clock hours or credit hours awarded or competencies demonstrated, or an increase in the level of credential awarded, for successful completion of one or more programs.
      16. Adding competency-based education programs.
      17. Adding each competency-based education program by direct assessment.
      18. Adding programs with completion pathways that recognize and accommodate a student’s prior or existing knowledge or competency.
      19. Awarding dual or joint academic awards. 
      20. Re-opening a previously closed program or off-campus instructional site.
      21. Adding a new off-campus instructional site/additional location including a branch campus.
      22. 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.
      23. Closing an institution, a program, a method of delivery, an off-campus instructional site, or a program at an off-campus instructional site.
  3. The President shall establish procedures, consistent with SACSCOC policies, to ensure that all substantive changes are reported to the Commission in a timely fashion.