Middle States Commission on Higher Education


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a "Substantive Change"?

Certain types of institutional changes are defined as "substantive" by the United States Department of Education (USDE). Substantive changes are not automatically covered by the institution's accredited or candidate status. Accredited and candidate institutions planning a substantive change have the responsibility to obtain prior approval from the Commission before the change is implemented. Retroactive approval is not available. While the decision to modify an institution is an institutional prerogative and responsibility, the Commission is obligated to ensure that any substantive change does not adversely affect the capacity of the institution to continue to meet accreditation standards and requirements of affiliation.

These changes include, but are not limited to...

  1. Mission or Objectives
  2. Legal Status, Form of Control, or Ownership
  3. Significant Departure from Existing Educational Programs
  4. Alternative Delivery Method
  5. Direct Assessment/Competency-Based Education (CBE) Programs
  6. Different Credential Level
  7. Clock Hours to Credit Hours
  8. Number of Clock or Credit Hours
  9. Contractual Arrangements
  10. Establishment of Additional Locations
  11. Establishment of a Branch Campus
  12. Site Closure, Relocation, or Reclassification
  13. Institutional Closure or Other Substantive Change Actions Requiring a Teach-Out Plan
  14. Experimental Sites Initiative (ESI) with the U.S. Department of Education

Please visit the Policies page of this website to view the MSCHE Substantive Change policy and procedures.

Questions about Substantive Change can be sent to sc@msche.org.