Substantive Change Policy

Policy #: 
ADM 201.006
Executive Owner: 

This policy applies to all substantive changes that AHU makes.


To ensure timely notification to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) of substantive changes.


AdventHealth University is responsible for notifying and, when necessary, seeking approval for substantive changes from the Commission in accordance with their Substantive change policy.   A substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution.  

Substantive changes include, but not limited to:

  • 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 institutions’ 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 percent 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 such as a dual degree program or a joint degree 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 close institution
  • Entering into a contract by which an entity not eligible for Title IV funding offers 25 percent or more of one or more of the accredited institution’s programs

The list can change if federal regulations change. For the most updated information please look at Substantive Change for SACSCOC Accredited Institutions.

If the institution is unclear as to whether a change is substantive in nature, it should contact SACSCOC staff for consultation. 

Notification is a letter from the University President to the President of the Commission summarizing the proposed changed.  Approval is sought through the submissions of a SACSCOC application or prospectus.


1. Starting a New Program

  • As part of the Intent to Plan Notification (IPN) the determination will be made if the program is a substantive change or not
  • The determination if the program is a substantive change or not based on SACSCOC published guidelines will be determined by the Director of Institutional Effectiveness/AHU SACSCOC Liaison
  • The Director of Institutional Effectiveness/AHU SACSCOC Liaison may also consult with Institutional Effectiveness Leadership Council to make the determination
  • To determine if a new program is a significant departure it is helpful to ask the following questions:
    • What previously approved programs does the institution offer that are closely related to the new program and how are they related? 
    • Will significant additional equipment or facilities be needed? 
    • Will significant additional financial resources be needed? 
    • Will a significant number of new courses will be required? 
    • Will a significant number of new faculty members will be required? 
    • Will significant additional library/learning resources be needed? 

2. Any of the other potential substantive changes please contact the Director of Institutional Effectiveness/AHU SACSCOC Liaison.


CommitteeDate VotedMinutes Code
President's CouncilMonday, March 25, 201919:47
Approved by: 
Approval Date: 
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Effective Date: 
Monday, March 25, 2019
Review Date: 
Monday, February 24, 2020