Substantive Change :: Northern Virginia Community College

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Substantive Change

Policy Number: 219

Categorized: Academic Policies

Responsible Office: Academic Affairs

Subject: Policy and procedures for complying with requirements of SACSCOC Substantive Change policy.

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Additional Information: Substantive Change Procedures

Effective Date: 03/19/2013

Last Reviewed Date: 08/08/2018


1.0 Scope

This policy applies to all Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) programs and services, regardless of location or delivery method.

2.0 Policy Statement

NOVA’s accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) requires that it report substantive changes in accord with federal policy. NOVA will follow the substantive change procedures of SACSCOC and inform SACSCOC of such changes and proposed changes in accord with those procedures.

3.0 Definitions

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC): The recognized regional accrediting body in the 11 U.S. southern states and in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degrees.

Substantive change: a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution, including:

  • 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 program

4.0 Procedures

The Substantive Change Committee will meet twice a year to ensure that all substantive changes are correctly identified. Procedures for determining and reporting substantive changes can be found in the addendum to this policy.

5.0 Authority

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Substantive Change for SACSCOC Accredited Institutions Policy Statement

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