Texas Tech University

Substantive Change

Substantive change is a significant modification or expansion in the nature and scope of an accredited institution. Texas Tech University complies with the policy statement on Substantive Change for Accredited institutions of the Commission on Colleges by:

  • Notifying SACSCOC of changes in accordance with the substantive change policy and, when required, seeking approval prior to the initiation of changes.
  • Having instituted policy and procedures to ensure that all substantive changes are reported to the Commission in a timely fashion.

Substantive change requires one of the three following procedures:

Procedure One (1): Review of substantive changes requiring notification and approval prior to implementation

Procedure Two (2): Review of substantive changes requiring only notification prior to implementation

Procedure Three (3): Closing a program, site, branch campus, or institution NA: Not applicable.

It has been recognized that substantive change may be more interpretable and applicable by institutions of higher education when categorized by organizational level. These organizational levels are: (1) Program/Course level, (2) School/College/Department level, and (3) Institutional level.

Substantive changes considered at the Program/Course level include:

  • Initiating coursework or programs at a different level than currently approved;
  • Expanding at current degree level (significant departure from current programs);
  • Initiating a certificate program at employer's request and on short notice;
  • Initiating other certificate programs;
  • Initiating joint or dual degrees with another institution;
  • Altering significantly the length of a program;
  • Initiating degree completion programs;
  • Closing a program approved off-campus site, branch campus, or institution.

Substantive changes considered at the School/College/Department level include:

  • Initiating an off-campus sites (including Early College High School programs offered at the high school);
  • Expanding program offerings at previously approved off-campus sites;
  • Initiating distance learning;
  • Initiating programs or courses offered through contractual agreement or consortium;
  • Entering into a contract with an entity not certified to participate in USDOE Title IV programs;

Substantive changes considered at the Institutional Level changes:

  • Initiating a branch campus;
  • 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;
  • Relocating a main or branch campus;
  • Moving an off-campus instructional site serving the same geographic area;
  • Changing from clock hours to credit hours;
  • Acquiring any program or site from another institution;
  • Adding a permanent location at a site where the institution is conducting a teach-out for students from another institution that is closing.

Substantive Change
Supplemental Documents

For more information on substantive change, review the SACSCOC substantive change policy or contact the Texas Tech University SACSCOC Accreditation liaison, Dr. Darryl James at darryl.james@ttu.edu or 806-742-2184.

Texas Tech Substantive Change Decision Guide

The following matrix has been edited from the original to aid in decision making relative to substantive changes procedures, documentation and timelines, and responsible offices. 


Office of Planning and Assessment