Substantive Change

From time to time, institutions make major changes in the period between regularly scheduled accreditation visits. NASAD member institutions are obligated to present such “Substantive Changes” for Commission review and approval. Normally, the procedure involves the institution’s providing written materials and submission of publications appropriate to the nature of the change and consequent Commission action. Under certain conditions, on-site visits may be required by NASAD Handbook provisions or at the discretion of the Commission. NASAD also offers the opportunity for member institutions to receive an optional consultative review of proposed Substantive Changes by the Commission prior to submission of an official request for Substantive Change. Substantive Changes occurring during accreditation review periods are reported and considered as part of the Self-Study, on-site visit, and Commission review.

“Substantive Change” includes but is not limited to:

  • Any fundamental change in the established mission, goals, or objectives of the institution or art/design unit.
  • Any change in the legal status or form of control of the institution.
  • The addition or amendment of curricular programs that represent a significant departure, in terms of either the content or method of delivery, from those that were offered when NASAD most recently evaluated the institution. These programs are normally considered in the Plan Approval process described in New Curricula Applications. This provision includes significant changes made in conjunction with a change from quarter hours to semester hours or vice versa.
  • The addition of courses or programs at a degree or credential level other than the curricular level(s) included in the institution’s current accreditation. These programs are normally considered in the Plan Approval process described in New Curricula Applications.
  • A change from clock hours to credit hours or vice versa.
  • A substantial increase or decrease in:
    1.  The number of clock or credit hours awarded for successful completion of a program; or
    2.  The length of a program.
  • Starting a branch campus or extension program.
  • Other major changes that would impact continuing compliance with NASAD standards applicable to degrees and programs being offered.

Substantive Change Application Procedures

Please see the NASAD Handbook, Rules of Practice and Procedure, Part II, Article V, and contact the National Office for appropriate procedures.

Frequently Asked Questions: Substantive Change

Is it possible to have a proposed change considered prior to submitting it for review as a matter of accreditation?

Institutions may seek a “consultative review” by Commission personnel on any proposal. The result will be advisory only. For further information, see Consultative Services.

How “substantive” must a change be to require Commission review?

The change should be major, affecting such issues as mission and goals, legal status, form of organization or control, starting a branch or extension program, and credit-granting policies. For consultation about specific cases, contact the National Office Staff.