As defined by the university's regional accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), a substantive change is "a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution." Under federal regulations, substantive changes include the following:
- 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 program 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 or decrease in the number of clock hours or credit hours awarded for successful completion of a program;
- The substantial increase or decrease 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 educational program;
- The establishment of a branch campus;
- Closing a program, off-campus site, branch campus, or institution;
- Entering into a collaborative academic arrangement such 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 teachout program for a closed institution; and
- Entering into a contract by which an entity not eligible for Title IV funding offers 25 percent or more of one or more of the accredited institution's programs.
LSU must report all substantive changes to SACSCOC, which may include notification, approval, and/or on-site visit depending on the nature of the substantive change.