Recognition as a Candidate for Accreditation is the first step toward membership in and accreditation by the NEASC Commission on Independent Schools; however, achieving Candidacy does not guarantee eventual accreditation. The status of "Candidate" indicates that an institution has achieved initial recognition and is progressing toward accreditation, but should not be confused with membership. 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.
Institutions desiring Candidate status with CIS must file the Application for 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.
For a school to be recognized as a Candidate for Accreditation by CIS, it must meet the following criteria:
- It must be a nonpublic school that is separately incorporated under the relevant laws of the state in which it is located or a member of a school system.
- At least one year of operation of the school program must have been completed.
- The institution must be developing in accordance with the general Standards for Accreditation for independent schools in NEASC.
- The school must provide academic programs leading to a diploma or appropriate certificate issued by the school being considered.
- It is expected that the majority of students spend at least one year enrolled in such a program or for a full semester in a semester-length program.
- In the case of a proprietary school, that the school has a governing body which meets the criteria set forth in the Commission Policy on Governing Bodies for Proprietary Schools.
The Category of Candidate for Accreditation
This category of affiliation with the New England Association is designed primarily for schools that seek to work toward membership in and accreditation by the Association. Recognition by the Association 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. The school is visited by a committee representing the Commission on Independent Schools of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., 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.
Recognition as a Candidate for Accreditation is not to be confused with membership in or accreditation by the Association.
It is assumed that this is a step toward membership in and accreditation by the Association. The school's recognition as a Candidate for Accreditation is reviewed annually by the Commission on Independent Schools. An institution may be in the category for a maximum of five years, except by special vote of the Commission on Independent Schools.
Application for Candidacy
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 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.
Upon receipt of the application, the Director of the Commission will assess a Candidate Evaluation Fee equal to the annual membership fee for a school with that enrollment.
The Candidacy Visit
Once a school has submitted its Application for Candidacy, a small committee is appointed by the Director of the Commission and is supplied with copies of the application filed by the school. The committee conducts an onsite visit, ordinarily of one day, to verify the information in the application. This committee prepares a written report (the Candidacy Report) for the school and for the Commission on Independent Schools and provides, in a separate letter, a recommendation to the Commission as to the acceptance of the school into the Candidate category. Expenses of the visiting committee are borne by the school being evaluated for Candidate Status.