Forming Your Learning Cooperative into a Non-Profit Private School for Home Educators

Step 10 - Optional Accreditation & Meeting State Requirements

Step 1 - First Steps, Tools & EIN Number
Step 2 - Creating Your Bylaws & Articles of Incorporation
Step 3 - Incorporating Your Group
Step 4 - Joining a Professional Education Association
Step 5 - Forms that Demonstrate Your Educational Purpose & Structure
Step 6 - Completing the Non-Profit Application
Step 7 - Obtaining State Corporate Income Tax Exemption
Step 8 - Applying for Sales Tax Exemption
Step 9 - Official Papers of the First Meeting of the Board
Step 10 - Optional Accreditation & Meeting State Requirements
Programs Available to Non-Profits
Other Links
About me


As mentioned under step 4, some private school associations also offer optional accreditation of your academic program. What does this mean? It simply means that a third party has looked at your curriculum and believes there is sufficient teaching, structure, checks and balances to demonstrate that a typical K-12 program is being taught to each child. Even if all your member families are using a different curriculum at home, you can still have your program accredited. By collecting a simple yearly curriculum outline (a one page form mentioned in Step 5) from each member family, which covers the curriculum being used to teach each of the core subject areas, then combining that with a list of the classes taught at your Academy, you can show that the children are receiving an equivalent K-12 education.

Accreditation is a lengthy procedure but CAN be done for private school cooperatives. I prefer NAPS (below). Accreditation is the LAST STEP (step 10) in this non-profit process and is optional. The main benefit is the ability to issue high school diplomas that are from your "accredited" institution. This is a plus for college applicants, but not a necessity. Many small private schools are NOT accredited, due to the continued yearly costs involved in maintaining your status. However, NAPS fees are so reasonable that I believe the benefits are worth the effort. The information you will need to present to the accreditation agency is almost a duplicate of your 501C3, so why not take the extra initiative to complete the accreditation application?


Currently, I recommend N.A.P.S. for private school program accreditation.  (If your organization has had a positive experience with another association, please feel free to email me that information and I will post it here as well.)

National Association of Private Schools (NAPS)

*You can also check the web for your regional state accreditation agencies for private schools. 


If you applied for private school status you will want to be certain that you fulfill any of your state requirements for non-profit private schools.  Most states require school administrators to complete a yearly enrollment form, in which you provide the total number of enrolled students for each grade, your school address, and school name.  As long as you are NOT applying for state funding, the requirements are often VERY minimal.  Contact your state Department of Ed (DOE) for the private school liaison OR ask the owner of your local private school association, who will be able to share details of your state requirements with you.