Substantive Change

Northern Kentucky University will be proactive in ensuring all incidences of substantive changes be reported in a timely manner as required by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges(SACSCOC).  The complete SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy Statement can be found online at

Definition and Responsibility
According to SACSCOC, a substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution. According to their Policy Statement, the following will be considered a substantive change (taken directly from the SACSCOC website):

  • 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 at a degree or credential level above that which in included in 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 percent of an educational program, and
  • The establishment of a branch campus.

It is the responsibility of Northern Kentucky University through the university liaison to report all substantive changes based on the commission’s policy and follow all procedures and timelines as outlined in the commission’s policy statement.   Such procedures may include

  • notification and approval prior to implementation – in some cases, as much as 12 months prior approval is needed before implementation or
  • only notification prior to implementation – usually requires a simple letter of notification prior to implementation.

NKU approved a Substantive Change Policy in 2009 that requires notification of any possible change to academic programs, locations, and offerings of distance learning programs. 

For more information, contact:

Dr. Idna Corbett
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs
Office:  UC 425
Phone:  859-572-5379