Accreditation and General Policies

Rhodes College is an accredited four-year college of liberal arts and sciences. With an endowment of $406 million and a physical plant valued at $626 million, the College has one of the largest investments per student ($532,000) in the nation.

Rhodes College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - Commission on Colleges (SACS COC) to award baccalaureate and master's degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia, 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Rhodes College.  All potential substantive changes--whether proposed by students, faculty, staff, or Board of Trustees-- must be discussed with and reviewed by the SACS COC Accreditation Liaison, who is appointed by the Rhodes College President. It is the responsibility of the SACS COC Accreditation Liaison to ensure that potential substantive changes are reported to, and approved by the SACS COC, prior to implementation.

The purpose of this Policy and Procedures document is to comply with the Substantive Change for Accredited Institutions of the Commission on Colleges, Policy Statement, Institutional Obligations, Item #2, that “Member institutions are required to have a policy and procedure to ensure that all substantive changes are reported to the Commission in a timely fashion” (p. 1).

What Is a Substantive Change?

Substantive change is a significant modification or expansion in the nature and scope of an accredited institution. Under federal regulations, substantive change includes:

  • Any change in the established mission or objectives of the institution
  • Any change in legal status, form of control, or ownership of the institution
  • The addition of courses or programs that represent a significant departure, either in content or method of delivery, from those that were offered when the institution was last evaluated
  • The addition of courses or programs of study at a degree or credential level different from that which is included in the institution’s current accreditation or reaffirmation.
  • A change from clock hours to credit hours
  • A substantial increase in the number of clock or credit hours awarded for successful completion of a program
  • The establishment of an additional location geographically apart from the main campus at which the institution offers at least 50 percent of an educational program.
  • The establishment of a branch campus
  • Closing a program, off-campus site, branch campus or institution
  • Entering into a collaborative academic arrangement that includes only the initiation of a dual degree program or a joint degree program with another institution
  • Acquiring another institution or a program or location of another institution
  • Adding a permanent location at a site where the institution is conducting a teach-out program for a closed institution
  • Entering into a contract by which an entity not eligible for Title IV funding offers 25% or more of one or more of the accredited institution’s programs

What Are the Procedures for Reporting Substantive Change?

SACS COC has identified three procedures for addressing the different types of substantive changes. These include:

Procedure One – for the review of substantive changes requiring notification and approval prior to implementation,

Procedure Two – for the review of substantive changes requiring only notification prior to implementation, and

Procedure Three – for closing a program, site, branch campus or institution.

The different types of substantive change, the specific procedure to be used for each, their respective approval notification requirements, and their reporting time lines are included in the document “Substantive Change for Accredited Institutions of the Commission on Colleges - Policy Statement” located on pages 6-9 at:

Procedures for the institutional changes such as mergers, acquiring or adding programs, or changes in governance or legal status can be found in a separate document, “Mergers, Consolidations, Change of Ownership, Acquisitions, and Change of Governance, Control, Form, or Legal Status.” at:

The initiation or revision of programs not offered for academic credit and that are not eligible for federal financial aid does not require reporting: however, such programs are subject to review at the time of reaffirmation.

Identifying and reporting substantive change

The President is responsible for:

  • Submitting substantive change notification letters and associated documentation to the President of the SACS COC and providing a copy of the letters and documentation to the Accreditation Liaison


  • Designating the Accreditation Liaison as his representative to submit substantive change notification letters and associated documentation to the President of the SACS COC

The President and Vice Presidents are responsible for:

  • Informing relevant personnel under their supervision about the existence of the SACS COC Policy on Substantive Change and the need to check with the Accreditation Liaison regarding any and all significant changes in policy to determine if they meet the criteria for a substantive change as defined in the policy
  • Consulting with the College’s SACS COC Accreditation Liaison regarding questions about substantive changes within their divisions
  • Providing sufficient time to notify the SACS COC prior to the implementation of any changes
  • Assisting with the writing of appropriate documentation and notification of substantive changes as needed by the SACS COC

The SACS COC Accreditation Liaison is appointed by the President and is responsible for:

  • Staying up to date with the SACS COC Substantive Change Policy Statement
  • Serving as the contact person and communication liaison between SACS COC staff and the College regarding substantive change matters
  • Meeting with the President and Vice Presidents yearly to review the policy and planned initiatives
  • Working with the appropriate Vice President to develop a plan of action and timeline for any substantive change actions requiring approval from the SACS COC
  • Preparing substantive change prospectus in collaboration with the appropriate administrators and faculty
  • Submitting substantive change notification letters and associated documentation to the President of the SACS COC as requested by the President
  • Maintaining a database of substantive changes, initiatives, action plans and their status

Attendance at Rhodes, a privately endowed college, is a privilege which may be forfeited at any time by any student who refuses or fails to conform to the regulations and standards of the College, or who is unwilling to adjust to the College’s traditions and environment. Among these traditions are the Honor System and the Social Regulations Council that are administered by students and are described elsewhere in the catalogue. Certain offenses and violations of College rules are considered serious enough to merit suspension or expulsion. Additionally, the College reserves the right to suspend or expel any student, if, in the sole discretion of the administration, such suspension or expulsion is necessary to protect the best interests or welfare of the College, including the health and well-being of other students, faculty, or staff.
Rhodes welcomes applications for admission from all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin in its admissions policies, loan programs, or other college educational programs, policies and activities. In compliance with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Rhodes will make every reasonable effort to accommodate the needs of its students with disabilities.

The information, policies, and procedures listed in this catalogue are current and up-to-date as of April 2022. Policies stated in this catalogue are expected to be in effect through the academic year 2022-2023 but are subject to revision. Normally, policy revisions are implemented in the next academic year, following notice thereof and are effective for all students who graduate in or after that academic year. However, occasionally a policy must be changed and implemented in the same academic year. In such cases, written notification of the revision will be mailed to all students currently enrolled.
The faculty of Rhodes College has the authority and the responsibility for establishing and maintaining those policies and procedures governing the academic standing of students at the College. Any deviation from the policies and procedures stated in this catalogue relating to academic standing requires the prior formal approval of the faculty. A compendium of all current policies and procedures in regard to the College is maintained in the office of the President.