Substantive Change 



Policy/Operational Procedure Name:

Substantive Change


Tina B. Ruff
Chief of Staff, Office of the President
SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison


SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison

Effective Date(s):

June 2012, January 25, 2019 (Revision)

Next Review Date:

2023 - 2024



SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy


Policy Statement 

Durham Technical Community College provides written notification to its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), of substantive changes at the College in accordance with Commission policies and timetables.


The procedure for notifying SACSCOC about a substantive change is as follows:

  • The Accreditation Liaison is responsible for providing information about the SACSCOC substantive change policy to the  President, division heads, deans, and directors at the beginning of the academic year or more frequently if updates are required by SACSCOC action.

  • The SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison is a member, by virtue of position, of the College’s Program Management Committee. This allows the liaison to gain first-hand knowledge of proposed program changes, including the introduction and discontinuation of programs. The manager of Curriculum Support and Development, or his/her designee, is responsible for providing the Accreditation Liaison with the following details of proposed or discontinued programs:

    • A description of the educational program(s) involved;

    • The nature of the change;

    • The academic and professional qualifications of faculty members assigned to coordinate and teach in the program(s);

    • The manner in which the college will provide educational and academic support for students enrolled in the program(s) involved; and

    • How students enrolled in programs being discontinued will be able to complete the program in good order (Consult the Curriculum Course/Program Termination procedure for more information).

  • All division heads, deans, and directors are responsible for informing the Accreditation Liaison of other changes to the College’s educational programs, services, or operations that might prompt the initiation of a substantive change.

  • The Accreditation Liaison is responsible in turn for notifying the President of proposed changes in the College’s educational programs, services, or operations that might prompt the substantive change.

  • The President is responsible for notifying SACSCOC of possible substantive changes; for ensuring the Board of Trustees is properly notified of planned revisions to educational programs, services, or operations; and, when applicable, for seeking Board approval for adding significantly different programs to the academic curriculum or other substantive changes to College programs or services.

  • The Accreditation Liaison is responsible for coordinating any required follow-up action requested by SACSCOC in response to substantive change notification, including prospectus submission and any on-site visits to the College.


Durham Technical Community College is a constituent member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), which serves as the College’s regional accrediting body. SACSCOC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an agency whose accreditation enables its member institutions to seek eligibility to participate in Title IV programs. To maintain its recognition with the U.S. Department of Education, the SACSCOC has incorporated federal requirements into its substantive change policy and procedures. Some of those requirements specify that an institution seek and receive approval prior to the initiation of a substantive change so that the change can be included in the institution’s scope of accreditation.

Accreditation Liaison – The College employee appointed by the President to oversee the College’s compliance with SACSCOC accreditation requirements and policies.

Prospectus – A concisely worded narrative that describes a proposed substantive change written in the format specified by SACSCOC.

Substantive change – A significant modification or expansion in the College’s nature and scope.

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 fifty (50) percent 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; and
  • Entering into a contract by which an entity not eligible for Title IV funding offers twenty-five (25) percent or more of one or more of the accredited institution’s programs.