Substantive Change Notification
The policy of the University of Houston-Victoria (UHV) is to follow the substantive change procedures of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and to inform SACSCOC of any changes in its programs and activities in accordance with those procedures.
SACSCOC policy complies with federal law and Department of Education requirements. Failure to adhere to the Substantive Change policy may result in UHV losing Title IV funding or being required to return money received for programs related to the unreported substantive change.
Substantive Change is defined by SACSCOC as a “significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution. Substantive change includes high-impact, high-risk changes and changes that can impact the quality of educational programs and services.” The substantive change policy includes changes to programs, locations, or other operations as outlined below. These substantive changes must be reported to and receive acknowledgement or approval from SACSCOC prior to implementation of the change.
Notification refers to the formal process outlined by SACSCOC whereby institutions (via the President or Institutional Accreditation Liaison) outline the substantive change, providing the requested information as outlined on the SACSCOC website. Because substantive changes vary in scope, some require “notification,” and some require “approval”; these distinctions are clearly outlined in the SACSCOC guidelines regarding substantive change.
Process for Substantive Change for Curriculum Changes
To ensure that all curriculum changes that may require substantive change are identified in a timely fashion, the Provost and/or SACSCOC liaison will review every curriculum change before it is submitted to Faculty Senate for approval. If a substantive change prospectus or letter must be prepared, the Provost and/or SACSCOC liaison will work with the faculty to prepare the documents. This may happen concurrently with the Faculty Senate’s curriculum approval process.
Programmatic changes that require multiple new courses and/or new faculty are probably a change significant enough to require a prospectus. Every new academic program, including concentrations and minors that share a CIP with existing programs, will be recorded in the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, along with the status (date letter/prospectus sent; date approval/acknowledgement received; or date of decision to submit neither).
Process for Substantive Change for Instructional Sites or Consortial Agreements
To ensure that prospectuses related to opening and closing sites are submitted in a timely fashion, the Provost and/or SACSCOC liaison will submit a prospectus as soon as the decision is made.
To ensure that consortia relationships that may require substantive change are identified in a timely fashion, the Provost and/or SACSCOC liaison will begin drafting a prospectus as soon as the contract is drafted before the final agreement is signed.
Timeline for Preparing Substantive Change Materials
Changes must be approved by SACSCOC before implementation. Following is a guide for calculating deadlines:
Type of Change
Date of implementation
Begin writing the prospectus/letter
Deadline to submit a prospectus/letter
October of previous year
January 1 of the year of intended implementation
spring or summer semester
May of previous year
July 1 of previous year
Students may not be accepted into a new program before approval is received from SACSCOC. Once the prospectus has been submitted, programs may advertise and recruit students if all materials clearly state that the program is pending approval by SACSCOC.
Summary of SACSCOC Substantive Change policy statement
A complete list of substantive changes, including those required by federal regulations can be found on the SACSCOC website. Some of the more common changes that require a notification or prospectus to be submitted to SACSCOC include:
- Offering classes at a new location
- Ceasing to offer classes at a location
- Creating a new academic program
- Reconceptualizing or changing the length of an academic program
- Ceasing to offer an academic program
- Offering courses or programs at a higher or lower degree level than currently authorized
- Offering a program in a format not previously offered at UHV (e.g., correspondence or competency-based programs) or adding an additional method of delivery to a currently offered program
- Forming a consortial relationship with another degree-granting institution, other than articulation agreements
- Changing the mission, governance, or legal status of the university
All questions regarding substantive changes should be directed to the President or the Institutional Accreditation Liaison.
Robert K. Glenn, Ph.D.
Next review date: December 2027 (5 years)
Origination: Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs