Substantive Change Policy

Substantive change is a federal term for any “significant modification of the nature and scope of an accredited institution.” Baylor’s regional accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), is required by the federal government to monitor compliance with the substantive change policy and to approve any major changes.

The types of substantive change and the procedures for addressing them may be found in the SACSCOC Policy on Substantive Change. These substantive change requirements are reflected in the Baylor Substantive Change Policyand resources for responding to them can be found at the bottom of this webpage or by contacting the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. 

Substantive changes that require approval must be submitted to SACSCOC more than six months in advance. Substantive changes that require notification must submit information prior to implementation of the change. Examples of common substantive change types include:

Program/Course Level Changes:

  • Entering into a cooperative academic agreement with another institution or entity (e.g.- instructional delivery, dual awards, joint awards, study abroad)
  • Adding an academic degree or certificate program with more than 25% new content from currently offered programs or at a higher degree level (significant departure)
  • Adding a method of instructional delivery to an existing program (e.g.- competency-based education, distance education, or face-to-face instruction)
  • Deciding to stop admission (initiating closure) for an existing program or a method of instructional delivery for a program

Off-campus Instructional Site Changes:

  • Initiating a new off-campus instructional site
  • Re-naming or changing the address of an off-campus instructional site
  • Closing a program at an off-campus site or closing the entire off-campus site

Institutional Level Changes:

  • Altering significantly the educational mission of the institution
  • Initiating a merger/consolidation with another institution
  • Changing governance, ownership, control, or legal status of an institution

For more information on substantive change and how to obtain the necessary approvals prior to implementing a substantive change, contact Dr. Wes Null, the University's SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison. See the Baylor policy for specific deadlines for submitting materials to SACSCOC. The Office of Institution – If you want to propose a new academic program, submit information to the office by December 1 for Fall start term programs or June 1 for Spring start term programs. These possible Fall and Spring start dates, however, will be dependent upon other factors addressed during the standard curriculum review process.

Resources (Click below to download forms) :

Office of
Institutional Effectiveness

Pat Neff Hall
1320 South 7th, #304
Waco, TX 76706

One Bear Place #97014
Waco, TX 76798-7014