BLA. Reporting Substantive Change

South Plains College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (Commission). The Board of Regents and administration are committed to full compliance with the Commissions’ Principle of Integrity, Core Requirements, Comprehensive Standards, policies and additional Federal Requirements. The purpose of this policy is to ensure continuous compliance with the Commission’s Comprehensive Standards related to substantive change, and it’s Policy on Substantive Change for Accredited Institutions of the Commission on Colleges.

The administration shall notify the Commission of substantive changes in accordance with the Commission’s substantive change policy and, when required, seek approval prior to the initiation of such changes. Substantive change is significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution. Substantive change includes:

  • Any change in the mission or objectives of the College;
  • Change in legal status or form of control of the College;
  • 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 College was last evaluated by the Commission;
  • The addition of courses or programs of study at a degree or credential level different from that which is included in the College’s current reaffirmation;
  • The establishment of an additional location geographically apart from the main campus at which the College offers at least 50% of an educational program;
  • The establishment of a branch campus;
  • Closing a program, off-campus site or branch campus;
  • Entering into a collaborative academic arrangement such as a dual degree program or joint degree program with another institution;
  • Acquiring another institution or program or location of another institution;
  • Adding a permanent location at a site where the College is conducting a teach-out program for 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 College’s programs;
  • Additional changes identified by the Commission Board of Trustees.

The Instructional Council is responsible for the development, dissemination, implementation, monitoring and regular evaluation of procedures to ensure compliance with this Policy. The Vice President for Academic Affairs is responsible for monitoring College activities and notifying the Commission in advance of substantive changes and program developments in accord with the substantive change policy of the Commission. Compliance with this policy and associated procedures is mandatory.

Procedure for Monitoring and Reporting Course Offerings at Off-Campus Sites

The Dean of Continuing and Distance Education, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dean of Technical Education and Dean of Health Occupations are responsible for monitoring respective program offerings, analyzing enrollment data, and forecasting course offerings at all off-site locations where courses are taught by on-site faculty. Instructional deans shall report to the Vice President for Academic Affairs the programs and course offerings that have been scheduled at off-site locations for the upcoming academic year in January of each year. This report will coincide with the preparation of an updated annual Institutional Summary Form for submission to the Commission.

In particular, Instructional Deans shall monitor the following program thresholds that trigger the reporting of Substantive Change to the Commission.

  1. Students can obtain 25% to 49% of credit toward a certificate or degree in face-to-face, onsite instruction at the off-site location. Requires Commission notification prior to implementation.
  1. Students can obtain 50% or more credits toward a certificate or degree in face-to-face, onsite instruction at the off-site location. Requires Commission approval and submission of Prospectus prior to implementation.

Any significant changes in course offerings, including additions of course work leading to a certificate or associate degree, must be identified at least twelve (12) months in advance of implementation. Certificate or associate degree course work may not be added to the offerings at an off-site location until Substantive Change reporting requirements and approval, if required, are met.

Monitoring of course offerings at all off-site locations will be a continual and ongoing process initiated at the beginning of each semester in order to anticipate and report changes for both fall and spring semesters. If an anticipated increase is discovered, the information will be brought to the attention of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who in turn will present the information to the Instructional Council for review, evaluation and initiation of the proper reporting response to the Commission as required.

The Vice President for Academic Affairs is responsible for the submission of a Letter of Notification, or the development and submission of a Prospectus. The Instructional Council, chaired by the Vice President for Academic Affairs, will address substantive change at the first meeting of each semester, regardless of any findings by the Instructional Deans.

The following table, extracted from the Commission Policy Statement for Substantive Change for Accredited Institutions of the Commission on Colleges, shall serve as a guide for monitoring and identifying instances of substantive change at South Plains College. It is the responsibility of the Instructional Deans to be knowledgeable of the Commission’s entire policy and procedures regarding substantive change.

Reporting the Various Types of Substantive Change
The different types of substantive change, the specific procedure to be used for each, their respective
approval/notification requirements, and their reporting time lines are included in the table that follows.
Please read the full text under the appropriate procedure for details regarding reporting.

Types of Change Procedure Prior Notification Required Time Frame for Contacting COC Prior Approval Required Documentation
Initiating coursework or
programs at a different
level than currently
approved
1 NA NA Yes

Application for Level
Change
Due dates: April 15
orSeptember 15

Expanding at current
degree level (significant
departure from current
programs)
1 Yes 6 months Yes Prospectus
Initiating a branch
campus (See definition
of “branch campus” on
p. 3 of this document.)
1 Yes 6 months Yes Prospectus
Initiating a certificate
program at employer’s
request and on short
notice
…using existing
approved
courses
…at a new off-campus
site (previously
approved program)
…that is a significant
departure from
previously approved
programs
NA
_________
1
_________
1
NA
__________
NA
__________
Yes
NA
____________
NA
____________
Approval required
prior to
implementation
NA
________
Yes
________
Yes
NA
________________
Modified prospectus
________________
Modified prospectus
Initiating other certificate
programs
… using existing
approved courses
… at a new off-campus
site (previously
approved program)
…that is a significant
departure from
previously approved
programs1
NA
_________
1
_________
1
NA
__________
NA
__________
Yes
NA
___________
NA
__________
6 months
NA
________
Yes
________
Yes
NA
________________
Modified prospectus
________________
Modified prospectus
Altering significantly the
educational mission of
the institution
1 NA NA Yes Contact Commission Staff
(Also, see page 16, item 9)
Initiating joint or dual
degrees with another
institution: (See:
“Agreements Involving
Joint and Dual
Academic Awards.”)
Joint programs
…….with another
SACSCOC accredited
institution
…….with an institution
not accredited by
SACSCOC
Dual programs
2
_________
1
_________
2
Yes
__________
Yes
___________
Yes
Prior to
implementation
____________
6 months
____________
Prior to
implementation
NA
________
Yes
________
No
Copy of signed agreement
and contact
information for
each institution
________________
Prospectus
_________________
Copy of signed agreement
and contact
information for
each institution
Initiating off-campus
sites (including Early
College High School
and dual enrollment
programs offered at the
high school)
…Student can obtain 50
% or more credits
toward program
…Student can obtain
25-49 % of credit
…Student can obtain 24
% less
1
_________
2
_________
NA
NA
__________
Yes
_________
NA
NA
____________
Prior to
implementation
NA
Yes
_________
NA
_________
NA
Prospectus
_________________
Letter of notification
_________________
NA
Expanding program
offerings at previously
approved off-campus
sites
…Adding programs that
are significantly different
from current programs
at the site
…Adding programs that
are NOT significantly
different from current
programs at the site
NA
_________
NA
NA
___________
NA
NA
___________
NA
NA
___________
NA
NA
___________
NA
Altering significantly the
length of a program
1 NA NA Yes Prospectus
Initiating distance
learning…
…Offering 50 % or more
of a program for the first
time
…Offering 25-49 %
…Offering 24 % or less
1
____________
2
_____________
NA
NA
__________
Yes
__________
NA
NA
___________
Prior to
implementation
___________
NA
Yes
_________
No
________
NA
Prospectus
_____________
Letter of notification
___________________
NA
Initiating programs or
courses offered through
contractual agreement
or consortium
2 Yes Prior to
implementation
NA Letter of notification and
copy of signed agreement
Entering into a contract
with an entity not
certified to participate in
USDOE Title IV
programs
… if the entity provides
25% or more of an
educational program
offered by the COC
accredited institution
… if the entity provides
less than 25% of an
educational program
offered by the
accredited institution
1
_______________
2
NA
__________
Yes
NA
__________
Prior to
implementation
Yes
_________
NA
Prospectus
_____________
Copy of the signed
agreement
Initiating a
merger/consolidation
with another institution
See SACSCOC
policy “Mergers,
Consolidations
and Change of
Ownership:
Review and
Approval.”
Yes 6 months Yes Prospectus
Due dates: April 15
or September 15
 Changing governance,
ownership, control, or
legal status of an
institution
 See SACSCOC
policy “Mergers,
Consolidations
and Change of
Ownership:
Review and
Approval.”
Yes   6 months  Yes  Prospectus
Due dates: April 15 or
September 15
Relocating a main or
branch campus
 1  Yes  6 months  Yes  Prospectus
 Moving an off-campus
instructional site
(serving the same
geographic area)
 2  Yes  Prior to
implementation
 NA  Letter of notification with
new address and starting
date
 Changing from clock
hours to credit hours
 1  NA  NA  Yes  Justify reasons for change,
indicate calculation of
equivalency, and other
pertinent information
 Altering significantly the
length of a program
 1  NA  NA  Yes  Prospectus
 Initiating degree
completion programs
 1  NA  NA  Yes  Prospectus
 Closing a program,
approved off-campus
site, branch campus, or
institution
…Institution to teach out
its own students
…Institution contracts
with another institution
to teach-out students
(Teach-out Agreement)
 3
_______________
3
 Yes
__________
Yes
Immediately
following
decision to
close
__________
Immediately
following
decision to
close 
 Yes
_________
Yes
 Description of teach-out
plan included with letter of
notification
_____________
Description of teach-out
plan, copy of signed teachout
agreement detailing
terms included with
notification
 Acquiring any program
or site from another
institution
 See SACSCOC
policy “Mergers,
Consolidations
and Change of
Ownership:
Review and
Approval.”
 Yes  6 months  Yes  Prospectus
Adding a permanent
location at a site where
the institution is
conducting a teach-out
for students from
another institution that is
closing
See SACSCOC
policy “Mergers,
Consolidations
and Change of
Ownership:
Review and
Approval.”
Yes 6 months Yes Prospectus

 A printable version of this chart is available for download here.

 

Date Issued: January 14, 2013
Approval: Executive Council
Procedures Issued: August 26, 2013
Approval: Executive Council

 


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