Categories of Accreditation

Candidate for Membership (Non-Voting)

Only schools which meet the VAIS Preliminary Criteria may apply to be a Candidate for Membership. Admission to this category is granted only upon approval by the VAIS Board of Directors. Candidate schools must successfully complete the VAIS self-study and initial evaluation before being considered for full (voting) membership.

  • Candidacy is a temporary status and does not constitute membership
  • A school may remain a Candidate for Membership for a maximum of two calendar years
  • If the two-year period expires before a school undertakes the self-study and is evaluated by a Visiting Team, the Candidate for Membership must wait one year before re-applying
  • Admission to this category is not to be used for promotional purposes. A Candidate for Membership may not publicize their relationship with VAIS
  • Candidates for Membership may participate in all VAIS conferences, programs and meetings in a non-voting capacity
  • Candidates for Membership pay full membership dues once accepted as a candidate school

Provisional Accreditation (A Category of Candidate Membership)

Provisional Accreditation is a category of membership available to a candidate school for up to one year. Provisional accreditation is conferred upon a school in order to allow a period of time in which it may improve policies and practices, which prevented granting initial full accreditation. A school with provisional accreditation is an extended candidate for membership with non-voting privileges.

Full Accreditation (A Category of Full Membership)

Schools which meet the Standards of Membership and have successfully completed a self-study and an evaluation by VAIS are eligible for full membership. The ten-year and interim evaluation procedures are described in depth within this site. Full membership is granted only upon approval by the VAIS Board of Directors based on the Accreditation Committee's recommendation that a school meets the Standards and requirements established by the Association.

VAIS By-laws require that schools accepted as members of the Association shall:

  • file the Annual Accreditation Update and Substantive Change report
  • pay annual dues
  • be represented at the annual conference and all special meetings
  • provide personnel to serve on evaluation/accreditation teams
  • support the Association through attendance and provision of leadership and personnel at VAIS-sponsored workshops and conferences 

Conditional Accreditation (A Category of Full Membership)

This is a category only of full membership, i.e., status available only to schools previously fully accredited by VAIS, not to be conferred upon Candidate schools. A school is classified as a Conditional Member if serious conditions or deficiencies are noted that detract from the quality or integrity of the school’s educational program. If the VAIS Board of Directors determines that a school is not in compliance with VAIS Standards of Membership or in adherence with the National Association of Independent Schools’ Principles of Good Practice, the Board will accredit the school as a Conditional Member.

A school may be a Conditional Member for one academic year unless a longer period of time is identified in the original statement of condition specified by the VAIS Board of Directors. If, at the end of the period specified, the reasons for conditional membership have not been corrected, or substantial progress toward correction has not been made, the school will be dropped from membership in the Association.