Substantive Changes

Updates and announcements

  • Prison Education Program (PEP) Information:  SACSCOC staff is preparing for institutions’ participation in the recently enacted federal Prison Education Program (PEP).  Information is being created to provide guidance prior to new requirements being incorporated into the substantive change policy. 
    • An advisory memorandum and supporting materials will be available. Note: This is a work-in-progress; check back and/or refresh your browser as this material will be updated as work progresses.
    • The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has created a Prison Education Program Question and Answers webpage.
    • Accessing Pell Grants for College Programs in Correctional Settings, a guide released by the Vera Institute, is available with other supporting materials.
  • The SACSCOC Board of Trustees approved revisions to the Substantive Change Policy and Procedures in March 2022.  One material change was made in policy; multiple changes were made in procedures.  Reload your browser to ensure you are reading the most recent version.
    • Summaries of all revisions since the December 2020 major revision are in Appendix D (Summary of Recent Changes).
    • An annotated redline [PDF] version of the March 2022 revision and the December 2021 revision is available.
      Note: This document is in two parts.  Part 1, pp. 1-101, is the entire policy with redline edits approved in December 2021.  Part 2, pp. 102-119, is the edited pages only with redline edits approved in March 2022.
  • Reminders:
    • Substantive changes cannot be submitted by email to the President or to staff members.

Upcoming dates and deadlines

  • March 15, 2023:  Deadline to submit substantive changes requiring approval by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees in June 2023.  Carefully review the Substantive Change Policy and Procedures to determine if a substantive change type requires Board approval at a regularly scheduled biannual meeting or if the change can be approved by the Executive Council of the Board.  See also “Board review pathways” and “Off-campus Instructional Site Approval” by extensive review in the substantive change policy.
  • July 1, 2023:  Deadline to submit substantive changes to be implemented January 1, 2024, through June 30, 2024, requiring notification or requiring approval by the Executive Council of the SACSCOC Board of Trustees. Refer to the Substantive Change Policy and Procedures for guidance for a specific substantive change type. 
    Note:  July 1 is on Saturday.  The SACSCOC office receives mail and deliveries 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Please plan accordingly.

Substantive change policy and related policies


Upcoming webinars:

  • Sign-up to receive a one-time email when when a new webinar is open for registration.

On-demand webinars :

  • Prison Education Program (PEP): New Obligations [Zoom] and handout [PDF].  (Recorded January 19, 2023)
    Content update/errata:  An institution can be PEP approved with just one off-campus instruction site at a correctional facility; the institution is not required to have a minimum of two sites at a correctional facility as tentatively stated in the webinar. However, the institution is required to secure PEP approval for each of the first two sites where it will deliver a PEP program.

    Either an updated version of this webinar or a supplement to this webinar will be made available as needed; monitor the “Updates and announcements” section at the top of this webpage for alerts.
  • Substantive Change Restriction [Vimeo] and handout [PDF].  This webinar covers the new Substantive Change Restriction status that creates additional or different substantive change requirements for institutions meeting defined criteria. (Recorded June 18, 2021)
  • Understanding the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy: Off-campus Instructional Sites [YouTube] and handout [PDF].  (Recording courtesy Tennessee Accreditation Network; recorded April 29, 2022.) You’ll learn what constitutes an off-campus instructional site (OCIS) / additional location, what sites require approval (versus notification or no action), requirements and process for approvals by extensive review and by limited review, and when and how a teach-out plan should be submitted.

Documents and Templates