Substantive Changes

Updates and announcements

  • New webinar scheduled:  Prison Education Program (PEP): Follow-up + Update
  • New webinar available on-demand:  Implementing a Prison Education Program: Synthesizing Policy and Practice
  • Substantive changes are now submitted through the institutional portal by (1) answering screening questions about your change and then (2) uploading your submission.  For guidance, refer to the users guide accessible in the portal.  Please don’t send submissions (or copies) by mail.
  • Off-campus instructional site (OCIS) name or address changes can now be made directly in the institutional portal; you do not need to prepare and upload a substantive change notification. Go to the OCIS tab, click the pencil icon, and follow the on-screen instructions. Note: All other OCIS notifications and approvals are still submitted as described in substantive change policy.
  • If your institution has an off-campus instructional site (OCIS) serving incarcerated students, you’re asked to add this to OCIS record via the institutional portal.  Click the OCIS’s pencil icon and check the “Site has incarcerated students” option. This data will be useful when planning and staffing OCIS committee visits (at reaffirmation, fifth-year interim reviews, etc.). Note: This designation is separate from the Prison Education Program (PEP) approval process and PEP-approved OCISs; checking “Site has incarcerated students” does not denote the institution’s or the site’s approval, if necessary, under the PEP requirements as defined in policy.
  • The federal Prison Education Program (PEP) creates substantive change obligations for participating SACSCOC institutions.  All current requirements are reflected in the Substantive Change Policy and Procedures as of March 2023.
    • In addition to the substantive change policy, publicly available support materials from multiple sources have been assembled for your reference.
    • The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has created a Prison Education Program Question and Answers webpage.
    • A webinar on the PEP substantive change policy is available (recorded April 6, 2023).  Register to watch on-demand.
    • Additional PEP federal regulations were published on March 28, 2023.  SACSCOC staff will assess the additional regulations and determine if further policy and/or procedure changes are necessary.
  • Reminders:
    • Substantive changes cannot be submitted by email to the President or to staff members.

Upcoming dates and deadlines

  • January 1, 2024:  Deadline to submit substantive changes to be implemented July 1, 2024, through December 31, 2024, requiring review by the Executive Council of the SACSCOC Board of Trustees.
    Note:  All submissions must be through the institutional portal.
  • March 15, 2024:  Deadline to submit substantive changes requiring review by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees in June 2024.  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.
    Note:  All submissions must be through the institutional portal.

Substantive change policy and related policies


Upcoming webinars:

  • Prison Education Program (PEP): Follow-up + Update

    Date:  Wednesday, January 17, 2024
    Time:  11:00 a.m. – noon ET

    This webinar shares lessons learned from the first PEP prospectuses reviewed by SACSCOC. Emphasis is on knowing and avoiding obstacles to a successful review including common reasons for deferral. Take-aways are drawn from prospectuses reviewed by staff and referred to the Executive Council of the Board of Trustees and from prospectuses reviewed at the December 2023 Board of Trustees meeting. Scheduled speakers are Kevin Sightler (SACSCOC) and Robin Zúñiga (SACSCOC),
    Register online
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On-demand webinars :

Documents and Templates