Substantive Change

In accordance with federal regulations and the Commission’s Substantive Change Policy and Substantive Change Procedures, member institutions must submit a substantive change request to the Commission for approval prior to implementation for certain types of changes.

It is the responsibility of an institution to follow the Commission’s Substantive Change Policy and to obtain approval prior to implementation. Failure to obtain prior approval from the Commission for substantive changes jeopardizes the institution’s accreditation status and may negatively affect the institution’s Title IV funding or eligibility.

The Commission accepts substantive change requests six times a year according to the submission deadlines below:

January 1
March 1
May 1
July 1
September 1
November 1

Email questions to Commission staff at substantivechange@msche.org.

Submit Substantive Change Request

  • Download and complete appropriate Substantive Change Request Form, for Change in Legal Status, Form of Control, or Ownership see Complex Substantive Change Procedures
  • Login to the MSCHE Institution Portal.  Click “Reviews” and then “+Substantive Change Request”; or for changes to existing locations click “Locations” and “Request Change”.  — Chrome browser recommended in Portal
  • Complete Substantive Change Screening Form questions. A new Review will be created shortly thereafter
  • Upload completed request form and all attachments as a single bookmarked PDF file into the appropriate Review in the Portal — in the card labeled “Substantive Change Request”
  • Click “Complete” when the request form is uploaded in the Portal and ready for Commission staff review
  • If the Commission staff or substantive change evaluators have questions or request additional information, upload document(s) in the designated Review under the card labeled “Substantive Change Additional Documents

Substantive Change Types and Request Forms (as of July 1, 2021)

To download request form for a specific type of substantive change click on the link below.

Type of Substantive Change Tier Domestic International Visit
No. 1 Substantial Change in Mission or Objectives Tier III $2,000 $2,000 Not Required
No. 2 Change in Legal Status, Form of Control, or Ownership Tier V $18,500 $18,500 Visit Required
Preliminary Review Form (must be submitted first) $6,250 $8,875 Not Required
No. 3 Significant Departure from Existing Educational Programs Tier III $2,000 $2,000 Not Required
No. 4 Alternative Delivery Method Tier III $2,000 $2,000 Not Required
No. 5 Direct Assessment Programs Tier III $2,000 $2,000 Not Required
No. 6 Higher Credential Level Tier III $2,000 $2,000 Not Required
No. 7 Change in Measures of Student Progress Tier III $2,000 $2,000 Not Required
No. 8 Substantial Increase in the Number of Clock or Credit Hours Awarded Tier III $2,000 $2,000 Not Required
No. 9 Written Arrangements
Domestic 25-50% Tier III $2,000 Not Required
International Tier IV $9,000 Not Required
No. 10 Additional Location
Reclassification from Additional Location to OIS  |  Closure of Additional Location (no enrollment and/or no teach-out) Tier I $200 $200 Not Required
Establishment of Additional Location | Relocation of Additional Location | Reclassification to Additional Location Tier II $900 $2,000 Visit may be Required
Acquisition of any Additional Location of another institution | Addition of permanent Additional Location for teach-out Tier III $2,000 $2,000 Visit Required
Closure of Additional Location (with teach-out) Tier III $2,000 $2,000 Not Required
No. 11 Branch Campus
Reclassification from Branch Campus to OIS Tier I $200 $200 Not Required
New Branch Campus | Relocation of Branch Campus | Reclassification to Branch Campus Tier III $2,000 $2,000 Visit Required
Closure of Branch Campus (no teach-out) | Closure of Branch Campus (with teach-out) Tier III $2,000 $2,000 Not Required
No. 12 Relocation or Reclassification of Main Campus Tier III $2,000 $2,000 Visit Required
No. 13 Institutional Closure Tier IV $9,000 $9,000 Not Required
No. 14 Experimental Sites Initiatives (ESI) Tier III $2,000 $2,000 Not Required

Required Notifications or Prior Approvals? (as of July 1, 2020)

Institutions must submit required notifications or prior approvals for the changes initiated after July 1, 2020, as delineated in the Substantive Change Policy and Procedures and in federal regulation 34 CFR § 602.22(b) for the types of changes listed below, for definitions and examples see Substantive Change Guidelines. The method for submission depends on the accreditation status of the institution– Required Notifications or Prior Approvals.

Required Notifications

Submit required notifications through the Institution Portal within 30 days of the change (start or launch date of the program) if the institution’s accreditation status does not fit into the description below for prior approvals.  Each program must be entered and submitted separately.  There is no fee or form for required notifications. Login to the MSCHE Institution Portal; click “Reviews” then “+Substantive Change Request; select “Required Notification”; complete all of the questions in the Substantive Change Screening Form; and Submit.

Required Notifications Types Domestic International
No. 1 Change in Existing Program’s Method of Delivery $0 $0
No. 2 Aggregate Change of 25% or More of Program’s Curriculum $0 $0
No. 3 Customized pathways or Modified Programs $0 $0
No. 4 Written Arrangements for the Provision of 1-24 Percent of an Educational Program $0 $0

Prior Approvals

If the institution has had any non-compliance action when the Commission issued or continued (warning, probation, or show cause) in the past three years or is under a provisional certification for participation in title IV, HEA programs, the institution must submit the substantive change prior approval request form provided in the links below prior to implementation.  See instructions above to Submit Substantive Change Request.

Prior Approval Request Forms Tier Domestic International Visit
No. 1 Change in Existing Program’s Method of Delivery Tier I $200 $200 Not Required
No. 2 Aggregate Change of 25% or More of Program’s Curriculum Tier I $200 $200 Not Required
No. 3 Customized pathways or Modified Programs Tier I $200 $200 Not Required
No. 4 Written Arrangements for the Provision of 1-24 Percent of an Educational Program Tier I $200 $200 Not Required

 

Report Lower Credential Levels (as of July 1, 2020)

Credential levels that are lower than those currently included within the institution’s scope of accreditation do not require prior approval through the substantive change process but these credential levels may still be included within the institution’s scope of accreditation and listed on the Institution’s Statement of Accreditation Status (SAS). The institution will report lower credential levels through the Substantive Change Screening Form in the Institutional Portal, which is available at any time.

Login to the MSCHE Institution Portal; click “Reviews” then “+Substantive Change Request; select “Report Lower Credential”; complete all of the questions in the Substantive Change Screening Form; and Submit.

Resources

The following resources are available in the Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines sections:

  • Complex Substantive Change Procedures
  • Credit Hour Policy
  • Contracts by Accredited and Candidate Institutions for Education-related Services
  • Dues and Fees Procedures
  • Substantive Change Guidelines
  • Substantive Change Policy
  • Substantive Change Procedures
  • Teach-out Plans and Agreements Policy
  • Teach-out Plans and Agreements Procedures
  • Teach-Out Plans and Agreements Form
  • Third Party Providers

Important Information Regarding Distance Education Regulatory Changes (11/4/2021)