Substantive Change Policy

A substantive change is a significant modification, addition, removal, or discontinuation of a program, or an expansion of the nature and scope of an AAQEP-accredited provider/program. Substantive change includes:

  • Any change in the established mission or objectives of the program or provider
  • Any change in legal status, form of control, or ownership of the program or provider
  • Significant programmatic changes in content or method of delivery from the last accreditation review, including changes in degree or credential level, addition of locations, or establishment of a branch campus; significant changes are those that require review or approval by the jurisdiction in which the provider operates
  • Closing a program, or removal or discontinuation of a program, including an off-campus site
  • Entering into a collaborative academic arrangement that includes the initiation of a dual or joint academic program with another institution
  • Acquiring, adding, merging with, or consolidating operations with another program
  • Adding an off-campus instructional site at which the program is conducting a teach-out for students of another institution

AAQEP Responsibilities

AAQEP is responsible for reviewing all substantive changes that occur between accredited programs’ reviews, determining whether the changes affect the quality of the program, and assuring the public that all aspects of the program continue to meet AAQEP standards. 

Programmatic Obligations

Accredited providers are required to notify AAQEP of any of the changes listed above and of any other change that substantially alters the accredited program.


Providers shall notify AAQEP in writing within 30 days of any substantive change. Providers are encouraged to inform AAQEP in advance of such changes if possible. All communication regarding substantive changes shall be directed to the program’s AAQEP Liaison. In addition to a written description of the change, copies of state approval correspondence should be forwarded to AAQEP.
AAQEP staff review all changes and determine whether the changes can be incorporated into the existing accreditation status or require additional documentation, which may include initiation of a focused self-study and review. Key factors considered by staff include:

  • Degree of consistency with the assessment system of a relevant accredited program
  • Degree of consistency with content and structure of a relevant accredited program
  • Degree of consistency with clinical requirements of a relevant accredited program
  • Consistency with staffing practices of a relevant accredited program

Additional documentation and review are required in cases where the changes fall outside the outcome assessment system and program practices of the already-accredited programs.