Substantive Change Proposals

Educational institutions are constantly changing. Most changes, such as developing new majors or concentrations, changing personnel, and adding and dropping courses, fall within the nature and scope of the institution and do not affect its accredited status.  Other changes, however, affect significantly the nature of the institution, its mission and objectives, its educational program, and the allocation of its resources. Such substantive changes initiated subsequent to the most recent evaluation are not automatically included in the institution's accreditation.

The Commission supports and encourages innovation and experimentation; it also has the obligation to determine the effect of substantive changes on the validity of an institution's accreditation. Each year the Commission considers several substantive change requests from institutions for matters including new branch campuses or additional instructional locations; enrolling students in degree programs overseas; offering certificates or degrees where 50% or more can be taken entirely on-line; and moving to the higher or lower degree. 

If you are in doubt about whether a change your institution is making constitutes a substantive change – one of the above or another type – please contact either Barbara Brittingham ( or 781-425-7747) or Pat O'Brien ( or 781-425-7712). Review of a draft proposal by NECHE staff is highly recommended.

Please note that, per federal policy, in approving a substantive change, the Commission will specify an effective date that cannot be retroactive.   

Submission of Substantive Change proposals:

Deadlines for submission of Substantive Change proposals to the Commission are as follows:

August 15, 2018 for consideration at the September 2018 meeting
October 17, 2018 for consideration at the November 2018 meeting
January 15, 2019 for consideration at the March 2019 meeting
March 6, 2019 for consideration at the April 2019 meeting

Institutions are requested to provide a cover page that includes the CEO's signature on all Substantive Change proposals. Please also provide 4 hard copies and 1 single, searchable PDF file of the proposal to the Commission offices by the deadlines specified above. 

Please consult the Policy on Substantive Change and other materials found under Institutional Reports and Resources for further assistance.