Substantive Change Reporting for SACSCOC Compliance

Authority: President
Date Enacted or Revised: March 2012; Revised February 2016; March 21, 2022

As an accredited member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), McNeese State University adheres to the Commission’s Policy on Substantive Change and notifies SACSCOC of changes in accordance with the substantive change policy and, when required, seeks approval prior to the initiation of changes.   

Policy and Procedure

SACSCOC defines substantive changes as a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution. Substantive changes are defined both by federal regulations and SACSCOC and include, but are not limited to, the following actions:

  • 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;
  • 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 or 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.

Certain substantive changes require only prior notification. Other changes require notification and submission of a substantive change prospectus six to 12 months prior to the initiation of a substantive change. Many substantive changes require on-site committee reviews by SACSCOC.


It is the responsibility of the provost and vice president for academic affairs and enrollment management, college deans, department heads, the chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, and the chair of the Graduate Council to be generally aware of the Substantive Change Policy and to inform the University’s SACSCOC liaison at the earliest point possible that a proposed change may be substantive in nature and require prior notification and approval from SACSCOC before implementation.


When discussions begin regarding the intention to make a modification to an existing program or to implement a new program or to make a change in mode of delivery, enter into an agreement with another institution, or otherwise consider a substantive change, the University’s SACSCOC liaison must be contacted to determine the appropriate notification process for the change. Appropriate substantive changes will be considered for approval after it is determined the required SACSCOC documentation and notification is complete. Substantive changes may also require approval by the University of Louisiana System and Board of Regents.


This policy is distributed via the Academic Advisory Council and the University Policies webpage.