Become Accredited

Become Accredited

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To begin, select your school type to view eligibility criteria, how to obtain an application, and other helpful information for starting your school's journey toward NEASC Accreditation.

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Important note about Candidacy
The status of "Candidate" indicates that an institution has achieved initial recognition and is progressing toward accreditation, but should not be confused with membership. 

Recognition as a Candidate for Accreditation is a first step toward membership in and accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC); however, achieving Candidacy does not guarantee eventual accreditation. Accreditation is not a single event, but rather an ongoing cycle. Member schools must, according to the appropriate Commission protocol, periodically demonstrate continued alignment with NEASC Standards in order to maintain their NEASC Accreditation/Membership.

International schools

Step 1 - Review eligibility requirements

For an international school to pursue Accreditation by NEASC, it must first meet the following criteria:

  • Use English as a primary language of instruction and communication throughout the school.*
  • Demonstrate the international nature of the school through a mission which includes creating international citizens, through demographics of the student body and staff, and through the co-curricular experiences and programs offered.
  • Provide a curriculum which in content, design, implementation, and assessment reflects best practices in American and international education.
  • Have several years of operating history.
  • Operate outside of the US or be an international school within the US.

    *NEASC expects students from our accredited schools to be able to transfer successfully to similar schools worldwide and, after high school graduation, to enter colleges and universities where English is the primary medium of instruction.  

Online education academies and providers may qualify for NEASC Accreditation if they meet eligibility requirements. National Schools with embedded international programs may apply to enter the NEASC international accreditation process if the programs are substantial, comprehensive, and leading to a school leaving certificate or diploma. 

Consider the questions: Is our school ready to apply for NEASC Accreditation?

Please use the following questions to help you ascertain your school’s current state, aspirations, and readiness to apply for NEASC accreditation:

  • Is the school guided by broadly accepted and understood Guiding Statements of vision, mission and shared understanding of high-quality learning?
  • Is there evidence that students are learning effectively, are engaged with their learning and understand what they are learning?
  • Does the school’s learning environment support and nurture the students’ personal, creative, academic, social, and emotional needs?
  • Does the school provide an emotionally and physically safe, secure, accessible learning environment for its students and staff, supported by clear policies to support Child Protection and Safeguarding?
  • Do healthy, ethical, respectful, trusting, and constructive relationships and interactions between and among students and adults characterize the school culture?
  • Does the school equip its students with the skills, knowledge, and understandings to be successful in the next level of formal schooling and beyond?
  • Are the school’s faculty, staff, leadership and governance competent, knowledgeable, and qualified in modeling and promoting the school’s Guiding Statements?
  • Are the school’s faculty, staff, leadership and governance committed to ongoing improvement, self-reflection, and life-long learning? Are they aware both of strengths and areas in need of attention?
  • Does the school culture encourage future-oriented dialogue, discussion, reflection, and action? Does it tolerate risk-taking and failure?
  • Do the school’s resources (financial, equipment, facilities, personnel) assure its long-term viability and development?

Step 2 - Submit inquiry form

If your answer is, "Yes, our school is ready to take the next steps towards NEASC Accreditation," please fill out an inquiry form to register your interest.

Once you have submitted an inquiry form, a NEASC staff member will follow up with you to:

  • better understand the current state of the school
  • confirm whether the school is eligible to start the accreditation process
  • determine which accreditation pathway would be the best fit 

Additional expectations

International schools pursuing accreditation with NEASC must:

  • Commit to meeting established standards.
  • Commit to a process of self-evaluation, peer review, and on-going systematic improvement, utilizing the NEASC Commission on International Education’s Standards for Accreditation.
  • Be willing to host a preliminary visit to assess the school’s readiness for the self-study process leading to accreditation.
  • Be able to host a visiting team appointed by NEASC so as to ensure peer review.
  • Have basic guiding documents (faculty handbook, student handbook, written curriculum, employment contracts, staff evaluation procedures, governing board policies, and job descriptions).
  • Upon application, and later upon request, submit an independent audit, current budget, and most recent management letter in English.
  • Commit to acting within the spirits of the ideals and principles enunciated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Be willing to release faculty members and other personnel to serve on visiting teams for accreditation visits to other similar schools.

Independent schools (located in the US)

Independent schools located in the US desiring Candidate status with NEASC must file a NEASC Commission on Independent Schools Application for Candidate for Accreditation. Recognition by NEASC of the institution in this category is accomplished only after a school has submitted a formal application with detailed information as to its mission, organization and structure, professional staff, curriculum, admissions policy, physical plant, and immediate and long-range plans.

A Visiting Team representing the NEASC Commission on Independent Schools will visit the school, and a report on the visit and the material supplied by the school is reviewed by the Commission to determine whether a school is granted recognition as a Candidate for Accreditation.

Upon receipt of the application, the Director of the Commission will assess a candidacy evaluation fee equal to the annual membership fee for a school with that enrollment. The school's recognition as a Candidate for Accreditation is reviewed annually by the NEASC Commission on Independent Schools. An institution may be in the category for a maximum of five years, except by special vote of the Commission.

Please contact us at with any questions.


For an independent school in the US to be considered for Pre-Candidacy in the NEASC membership process and offered the opportunity to complete and submit a Candidacy Application:

  • It must be a nonpublic school that is separately incorporated under the relevant laws of the state/providence where it or its primary office is located or a member of a system of nonpublic schools in which the school leadership exercises authority over the educational program and its students’ learning. (If the school is international, explore accreditation through the NEASC Commission on International Education.)
  • It must provide academic programs for students no less than three years old, leading to a diploma, the completion of an established curriculum, a set course of studies, or coursework that contributes to another school’s or educational program’s required or elective course of studies.
  • It must have completed at least one year of operation as a school or educational program with regular in-person attendance of the students with their instructors. (If the school offers instruction entirely online, explore the NEASC Online School and Program Accreditation.)
  • It must enroll most of its students for a minimum of an academic year or an entire semester for semester-length programs and with therapeutic schools for the duration of the student care. (If the education is a program, explore NEASC Educational Program Accreditation.)
  • It must be at the time of determining eligibility in verifiable compliance with all local, county, state/provincial safety, health, and child protection codes and regulations.
  • In the case of a proprietary school, it must have a governing body that establishes and maintains policy-making processes with provisions for the participation of the school’s stakeholders. One-third of the members of a proprietary school’s governing body must represent the public interest, with no contractual, employment, or personal financial interest.
  • It must have sufficient operational and financial resources or the capacity to generate sufficient operational and financial resources to support and sustain its current students' continuous enrollment (Nine years of resources or capacity for a kindergarten to eighth-grade school, four years for a grade nine to twelve secondary school, etc.)
  • It must have the interest, capacity, and potential to enter and complete a comprehensive school improvement and quality assurance process.

The above will be determined by a NEASC Commission on Independent Schools director in discussion with the head of school.


Application for Candidate for Accreditation
The following Application for Candidate for Accreditation is intended to help the school review its readiness for accreditation and to provide background about the school for the candidacy visiting committee. It is not intended to be a full self-study and may be completed by the Head of School with whatever help that person chooses. The narrative portion of this report should not exceed ten pages.


Small-School Protocol Application 
The Small-School Protocol Application for Candidate for Accreditation is intended to help a school review its readiness for accreditation and to provide background about the school for the candidacy visiting committee. It is not intended to be a full self-study and may be completed by the Head of School with whatever help that person chooses. 

  • the protocol is designed for independent schools with fewer than 50 students
  • the narrative portion of this application should not exceed five pages

The Small-School Protocol is ideal for intentionally small schools because of their mission, the kinds and needs of the students they serve, their curriculum and programming, or the nature of their location, campus, and facilities. It is based on the NEASC Commission on Independent School’s accreditation process and uses the same Standards, Indicators, and a similar peer-review process. It is equally thorough and forward-thinking. The scale of the process is small; the quality is NEASC.

Public schools (located in the US)

Public schools in the US seeking Candidate status with NEASC must complete and file an Application for Candidacy with the NEASC Commission on Public Schools. Once the application has been received and reviewed, a NEASC staff liaison will contact the school to discuss next steps.

Upon receiving candidacy status, the institution must make a commitment to accreditation by conducting a Self-Reflection (formerly "Self-Study") and hosting an Accreditation Visiting Team within three years of becoming a Candidate. Earlier team visits may be scheduled at the discretion of the Commission; the principal should send this request to the Director of the Commission in writing.

"Candidate for Accreditation" is a temporary status during which time a school is preparing for an initial accreditation visit. An institution admitted to this category is entitled to make public its Candidate status in its publications, correspondence and student transcripts. 

Date of Initial Accreditation
The date of a school's initial accreditation is retroactive to the last day of evaluation by the Visiting Team.

Eligibility - Public high schools

Public high schools that wish to apply for Candidate status must:

  • have completed one year of operation
  • be approved by the appropriate government agency
  • be tax supported
  • publish and distribute a program of studies and student handbook
  • prior to the candidacy visit, submit a narrative assessment of the extent to which the school meets each Standard for Accreditation, to be signed by a committee of representatives of the school, along with a statement of major strengths and needs related to adherence to the Standards, and the school’s stated mission and expectations
  • host a visit from a Commission representative(s)
  • pay the required candidacy application fee

Eligibility - Public elementary and middle schools

Public elementary and/or middle level schools that wish to apply for Candidate status must:

  • have completed at least one year of operation
  • be tax supported
  • complete and submit a candidacy application form to the Commission office
  • host a candidacy visit from a Commission representative(s)

Eligibility - Public technical/career schools and centers

To become a Candidate for Accreditation or be considered for accredited status, a techincal/career institution must meet and maintain the following Eligibility Requirements:

  • Have a charter and/or formal authority from an appropriate governmental agency as a freestanding institution
  • Be geographically located and organizationally structured to fall within the scope of Committee activities
  • Have the legal authority to confer a certificate or diploma
  • Have been in operation at least one year and graduated one class prior to the date of application
  • Have a governing board, whether elected or appointed, with adequate voting membership that is representative of the public interest and is without any contractual, employment or personal financial investment in the institution
  • Have employed a chief administrative officer
  • Have a faculty, qualified by education and experience, which is significantly involved in the development and review of educational programs
  • Have a basic plan for the development of the institution
  • Have formally adopted and made public its statement of mission and program goals
  • Have admission policies compatible with the institution's stated mission and program objectives


Please contact us to request an Application for Candidacy from the NEASC Commission on Public Schools.

Application fees

Application fees and annual dues vary according to an institution's enrollment and are set by the NEASC Board of Trustees. For questions about your specific school's fees or dues, please contact us .