Substantive Change Policy

Roanoke College Substantive Change Policy

    As an accredited institution, Roanoke College is required to notify the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) of any significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of our operations. Member institutions, like us, are required to notify SACSCOC of changes in accordance with the substantive change policy and, when required, seek approval prior to the initiation of changes.

    SACSCOC Defines a Substantive Change as:

    • 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
    • A change from clock hours to credit hours
    • A substantial increase in the number of clock or credit hours awarded for successful completion of a program
    • 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 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 accredited institution’s programs


    All administrative departments, academic programs, and governance committees are required to notify the Dean’s Office of any possible or anticipated substantive changes in a timely manner. Some substantive changes cannot be implemented without prior approval and require additional documentation or a prospectus six months prior to implementing the change. The Dean’s Office will review and report any substantive changes to SACSCOC through the College’s SACSCOC Liaison. It is the responsibility and commitment of Roanoke College through its SACSCOC Liaison to report all substantive changes based on the commission’s policy and follow all procedures and timelines as outlined in the commission’s policy statement.

    In addition, it is the responsibility of the SACSCOC Liaison to inform and periodically remind administrative departments, academic program, and governance committee chairs of the substantive change policy with updates when appropriate.

    Publishing the College’s Substantive Change Policy

    This policy will be posted electronically along with other similar policies and will be reviewed annually for updates.

    Documenting Substantive Change

    All substantive change activity will be documented by the SACSCOC Liaison through a data set maintained by the SACSCOC Liaison.

    Policy Approval

    This policy was reviewed and approved by the Roanoke College Cabinet on February 24, 2020.