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.
  2. 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.


Date Issued: January 14, 2013

Approval: Executive Council

Procedures Issued: August 26, 2013

Approval: Executive Council