Frequently Asked Conventional Non-Public School Questions - School Accreditation

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Do colleges and universities accept students who graduate from non-accredited schools?

Usually.  Most colleges accept students from a non-accredited high school (public or private) as long as: 

  1. The school is in compliance with the school laws of the state in which it is located; and
  2. The prospective college student achieves a certain minimum score on either the ACT (American College Test) or the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test).

DNPE suggests that you contact the admissions officers at some colleges to which your son/daughter may ultimately seek admission and ask them this question.

How can I tell if a North Carolina conventional non-public school is accredited?

Conventional North Carolina non-public schools which are accredited are designated by accrediting association name codes within the North Carolina Directory of Non-Public Schools

The title page within each year's directory of schools gives the meaning of each accrediting association's code utilized throughout the directory. 

Is a North Carolina conventional non-public school which meets the North Carolina non-public school legal requirements considered an accredited school?

No.  Like most states, North Carolina has no state laws mandating that non-public schools be accredited by an accrediting organization. 

The State of North Carolina, however, requires certain minimum standards that all non-public schools must meet.  As long as those standards are met, the school is satisfying compulsory attendance requirements and is authorized to issue high school diplomas to its graduates. 

Accreditation can only be obtained through private accrediting organizations such as the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools, the Southern Association of Independent Schools, the North Carolina Christian School Association, etc.  

DNPE recommends quality, continuous improvement programs for non-public schools. Accreditation is encouraged but it is voluntary. The State of North Carolina utilizes nationally standardized achievement testing as its instrument to monitor the quality of education each student in the private sector is receiving, rather than mandating school accreditation.

On-site visits are made by DNPE to each North Carolina conventional non-public school every second or third year to, among other things, inspect and evaluate student nationally standardized achievement test scores.

What are some of the advantages of a school's being accredited?

Graduate acceptance at a wider array of colleges and universities is much more likely, provided the student's college entrance test results are adequate. 

An accredited school may be more successful in obtaining corporate funding for the school.

What is involved in the process known as school accreditation?

The meaning of the term "accreditation," as it relates to private elementary and secondary schools, varies somewhat from state to state. 

In North Carolina, it involves the school voluntarily joining a school accrediting association and electing to undergo a periodic comprehensive peer review of the school's policies, practices and programs by a team of visiting professional educators. 

The school's staff and the visiting professionals evaluate the purposes, goals, procedures, standards, etc. of the school's entire program. 

There are financial costs involved in association membership and in the accreditation process itself.

Why would a conventional non-public school choose not to become accredited?

The financial cost and staff time involved are major reasons.  It will usually cause the non-public school to pass the financial cost of it on to the school parents. 

Many religious schools often cite theological autonomy as the reason.  Such schools are sensitive to outside-of-the-school professional educators evaluating the school's religious curriculum, philosophy and practices. 

Other schools do not seek it simply because there is no demand from the school clientele for it.

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