Developing Substantive Change Proposals

Substantive Change

As defined by federal regulations and in the Handbook of Accreditation, a substantive change at an accredited or candidate institution is a change that may significantly affect an institution’s quality, objectives, scope, or control. These proposed institutional changes are peer or staff reviewed by the Substantive Change Committee.

WSCUC has required prior approval of institutional substantive changes in degree programs, methods of delivery, and organizational changes since 1979. Under both Commission policy and federal law, certain substantive changes are required to have prior approval.

The procedures defined in the Substantive Change Manual provide guidelines for institutions to demonstrate compliance with these regulations, as well as other WSCUC requirements.

Applying for Substantive Change Review

  1. Review the Substantive Change Manual to determine review requirements, timelines and submission procedures. (If you are not sure if a change requires substantive change review, please contact John Hausaman, at
  2. Using the Accreditation Management Portal, Accreditation Liaison Officers will submit the screening form questions for substantive changes relating to programs or applications for new locations. The Substantive Change staff will then review your submission to determine the necessity of a review and schedule it as appropriate.

Please review the following webinar on the 2017 substantive change procedure updates.