2.3.5sr – SRTC Procedure: Substantive Change
Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) notifies the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) of proposed changes in accordance with the Commission’s policy, “Substantive Change for SACSCOC Accredited Institutions.” SRTC acknowledges the Commission’s definition of substantive change as “…a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution. Under federal regulations, substantive change includes:
- 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 a currently offered program.
- 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 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.
- Substantially increasing 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.
- Adding competency-based education programs.
- Adding each competency-based education program by direct assessment.
- Adding programs with completion pathways that recognize and accommodate 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 instructional 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.
SRTC follows Commission Policy and as required in SACSCOC Requirement 14.2 as follows: 1) “…ensure that all substantive changes are reported in accordance with SACSCOC policy;” 2) by implementing the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia (SBTCSG) Policy 2.3.5: Technical College Substantive Change Reporting; and 3) by having a SRTC procedure “… to ensure that all substantive changes are reported to the Commission in a timely fashion.” SRTC understands SACSCOC requirements and accepts that failure of the College “to gain approval for substantive changes involving programs that qualify for federal financial assistance could result in the institution jeopardizing such funding.”
The different types of substantive change are addressed using three categories – institutional changes, program changes, and off-campus instructional site changes. The specific procedure to be used for each, their respective approval/notification requirements, and their reporting time lines are included in the Different Types of Substantive Change and Specific Procedure to be Used chart that follows. In order for the College to remain in compliance with SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation, SRTC will report all substantive changes within a timeframe defined in the chart that follows. This chart will be adjusted in accordance with changes made to the Commission policy.
The College will also submit requests/notifications to SACSCOC in cases where the SRTC Financial Aid Department needs documentation from SACSCOC of program approval(s) or program name change(s) to submit to the Department of Education for the purpose of program Title IV Eligibility, even though the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy does not require the submission of requests or notifications.
A Glossary of Terms is included from the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy and Procedures below the chart that follows. This is included to ensure that terminology referenced in this procedure is clear.
The following procedures are established to assist the College in communicating required changes to the Commission. The procedures may vary according to the nature of the specific substantive change and to local and Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) requirements.
- The Vice President for Academic Affairs informs the President’s Leadership Cabinet (PLC) at regularly scheduled meetings of intended changes;
- The Vice President for Academic Affairs meets with the Faculty Senate who provide review and input for intended changes;
- The Vice President for Academic Affairs then meets with PLC and intended changes are approved or disapproved;
- The local Board of Directors (BOD) reviews and recommends or does not recommend intended changes, as applicable;
- The State Board approves or does not approve intended changes, as applicable;
- The Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness works with appropriate staff to prepare appropriate correspondence and/or materials for submission to SACSCOC;
- The President provides input to correspondence and/or materials to SACSCOC; and
- The President submits correspondence and/or materials to the SACSCOC President.
The Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness has the overall responsibility for ensuring this procedure is implemented.
SACSCOC Requirement References Updated: 04/25/2019
Different Types of Substantive Change and Specific Procedure to be Used
The different types of substantive change, the specific procedure to be used for each, their respective approval/notification requirements, and their reporting time lines are included in the table that follows. Please read the full text under the appropriate procedure in the SACSCOC “Substantive Change Policy and Procedures” for details regarding reporting.
*The College will also submit requests/notifications to SACSCOC in cases where the SRTC Financial Aid Department needs documentation from SACSCOC of program approval(s) or program name change(s) to submit to the Department of Education (DOE) for the purpose of program Title IV Eligibility, even though the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy does not require.
Substantive Change Type:
|This is a summary only. Always consult policy for complete information of substantive change types.||Notification||
Approval: Exec Council
Approval: Full Board
|Contingent||Required||Review Fee||Sub Change Restriction|
|Change Measure Progress to Completion||•||•|
|CBE Course-Credit Approach-Institutional Approval||•||•|
|Distance Ed-Institutional-level Approval||•||•|
|Institutional Contingency Teach-out||•|
|Level Change (a)||•||•||•|
|Ownership, Means of Control, or Legal Status Change||•||•||•||•|
|Substantive Change Type: PROGRAM CHANGES|
|Clock-Credit Hour Conversion||•|
|CBE Direct Assessment-Approval||•||•||•|
|CBE Direct Assessment-Notification||•|
|Coop Acad Arr Title IV Entities||•|
|Coop Acad Arr Non-Title IV Entities-Approval||•||•||•|
|Coop Acad Arr Non-Title IV Entities-Notification||•||•|
|Dual Academic Award||•|
|Joint Academic Award with Non-SACSCOC Accredited
Institution(s) or Entity(ies)
|Joint Academic Award with SACSCOC Institution(s)||•|
|Method of Delivery-Approval||•||•|
|Method of Delivery-Notification||•||•|
|Program Designed for Prior Learning-Approval||•||•||•|
|Program Designed for Prior Learning-Notification||•||•|
|Program Length Change||•||•||•|
Substantive Change Type:
OFF-CAMPUS INSTRUCTIONAL SITE (OCIS) CHANGES
|This is a summary only. Always consult policy for complete information of substantive change types.||Notification||Approval-Exec Council
Jan 1 for 7/1 - 12/31 impl.
Jul 1 for 1/1 – 6/30 impl.
Mar 15 for Jun review
Sept 1 for Dec review
|Contingent||Required||Review Fee||Sub Change Restriction|
|OCIS Approval Extensive Review||•||•||•||•|
|OCIS Approval Limited Review||•||•||•||•|
|OCIS Name or Address Change||•|
(a) Refer to Level Change for exceptions for embedded associate degrees and embedded Specialist degrees
[Note: This chart is prepared from the SACSCOC Policy dated Adopted: Executive Council, March 2016; Revised March 2022.]
Glossary of Terms
Acquisition: Acquisition is the sale, exchange, or transfer of a component of an institution’s or entity’s assets to a SACSCOC accredited institution. (See also merger/consolidation)
Additional location: See off-campus instructional site / additional location
Approval: An official action by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees enabling an institution to implement a proposed substantive change. All changes requiring approval are defined in Substantive Change Policy and Procedures. An institution secures approval by submitting a substantive change prospectus or application subject to satisfactory review by the Board of Trustees.
Branch campus: An off-campus instruction site / additional location
- that is geographically apart from an institution’s main campus,
- where instruction is delivered, and
- is independent of the main campus of an institution.
An off-campus instructional site is independent of the main campus if it
- is permanent;
- offers courses in educational programs leading to a degree, diploma, certificate, or other for-credit credential;
- has its own faculty and administrative or supervisory organization; and
- has its own budgetary and hiring authority.
Closure: The ending of instruction
- in an educational program,
- at off-campus instructional site,
- in an educational program at an off-campus instructional site or main campus,
- by a method of delivery, or
- at an entire institution
- such that a student cannot complete their program of study as planned.
(See also teach-out agreement and teach-out plan)
Competency-based education: A method of delivery in which competencies are learned through interaction with faculty and an academic credential is earned based on what students demonstrate they can do. A competency is a well-defined statement of what a person can do as a result of learning. Progression and completion are measured by demonstrated attainment of competencies. (See also competency-based education by course/credit-based approach, competency-based education by direct assessment, and method of delivery)
Competency-based education by course / credit-based approach: Demonstrating competencies is embedded in a traditional curriculum with courses completed, credits earned, and a credential awarded. Students typically enroll in an academic term and course credits are awarded at the end of the term by demonstrating mastery of the competencies associated with a course. Students may accelerate learning through demonstration of competencies. Transcripts record courses and grades, though the institution may opt to maintain a separate transcript of competencies.
Competency-based education by direct assessment: Progression and completion of a program is based solely on demonstrating mastery of prescribed competencies. There are no academic terms (i.e., calendars), courses, or credit hours. Students progress through a program’s competencies at their own pace within limits, if any, established by the institution. The academic transcript consists of successfully demonstrated competencies and the level of mastery attained.
Cooperative academic arrangement: An agreement between a SACSCOC-accredited institution and another entity (or entities) to deliver program content recorded on the SACSCOC institution’s transcript as its own (see also Standard 10.9 (Cooperative academic arrangements) of the Principles of Accreditation). Examples include geographic or denominational consortia, statewide distance education agreements, collaborative agreements with international institutions, and contractual instruction.
Correspondence courses: Courses in which students and instructors are not in the same locations and in which instructional materials and learning assessments (such as examinations, assignments, creative works, etc.) are delivered electronically or by mail. Interaction between instructor and student is limited, is not regular and substantive, and is primarily initiated by the student. Courses are usually self-paced within limits.
Direct Assessment: See competency-based education by direct assessment
Distance education: A method of delivery in which 50% or more of instruction occurs when students and instructors are not in the same location. It includes synchronous (live or in real-time) and asynchronous (not live or in realtime) instruction. (See also method of delivery)
Distance learning: See distance education
Dual academic award: A student receives instruction at two (or more) institutions in prescribed curricula leading to each institution granting academic awards at the same credential level. (See also joint academic award)
Educational program: See program
Face-to-face instruction: A method of delivery in which 50% or more of instruction occurs when students and instructors are in the same location. (See also method of delivery)
Federal regulations: Rules and regulations of the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) as codified in the Code of Federal Regulation (C.F.R.) including but not limited to 34 C.F.R. § 600, 602, 603, 654, 668, and 674 (Federal Register, Vol. 84, No. 212, November 1, 2019/Rules and Regulations; pp. 58834-58933), viz., § 600.2 (definitions), § 602.22 (substantive changes and other reporting requirements), and § 602.24 (additional procedures certain institutional agencies must have).
Geographically apart: (or geographically separate): Non-contiguous locations independent of distance. See also off-campus instructional site / additional location (and branch campus)
Instructional level: For courses and programs, the level of content and rigor corresponding to traditional academic degree levels: associate, baccalaureate, master’s, education specialist, or doctoral.
Joint academic award: A student receives instruction at two (or more) institutions in prescribed curricula leading to the institutions granting a single academic award bearing the names, seals, and officials’ signatures of each participating institution. (See also dual academic award)
Merger/consolidation: The sale, exchange, or transfer of all assets of at least one institution or entity to a SACSCOC accredited institution. Following a merger/consolidation, only one institution remains in operation as a separate institution or entity. (See also acquisition)
Method of delivery: The principal method by which instruction is delivered to include:
- competency-based education (all forms),
- distance education, and
- face-to-face instruction.
Notification: An official communication from an institution to SACSCOC as defined in Substantive Change Policy and Procedures. A notification is complete only when accepted by SACSCOC upon satisfactory review by staff. (See also approval)
Off-campus instructional site / additional location: A location
- geographically apart from an institution’s sole main campus and
- where instruction is delivered. An off-campus instructional site may qualify as a branch campus.
(See also branch campus)
Program: a coherent course of study leading to a for-credit credential including a degree, diploma, certificate, or other generally recognized credential. Exception: General education, for substantive change purposes, is usually considered a program even if a credential is not awarded. See also Standard 8.2.b (Student outcomes: general education) Standard 9.3 (General education requirements) of the Principles of Accreditation.
Substantive Change Restriction: Additional or different requirements for institutions meeting defined criteria. The criteria are defined in this policy and the additional or different requirements are identified for each substantive change type. These restrictions and the criteria for which institutions are affected are required by federal regulations.
Teach-out: The process and time period of a teach-out plan. (See also closure, teach-out agreement, and teach-out plan)
Teach-out plan: A written plan developed by an institution for students to complete their programs of study because it decided to end a program, off-campus instructional site, method of delivery, or to close the institution. A teachout plan provides an orderly process, the equitable treatment of students, minimal disruption and additional costs to students, and covers all enrolled students regardless of their progress to completion. (See also closure, teach-out, and teach-out agreement)
Teach-out agreement: An optional written agreement with an institution or entity under which students covered by a teach-out plan may complete their programs of study. A teach-out agreement may include student eligibility criteria, time limits, fee waivers, tuition parity, or other negotiated terms. (See also closure, teach-out, and teach-out plan)
The Glossary of Terms is included from the SACSCOC “Substantive Change Policy and Procedures,” pages 89-91.