Membership Criteria

There are two types of membership in the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS): full membership (for schools in existence for more than three years) and New School Candidacy (for schools in existence for less than three years).

Both membership types require that schools meet the following criteria in order to apply:

  • The school must be open and in operation, with students attending classes.
  • The school must have at least 25 students.
  • The school must be organized as a for-profit or not-for-profit corporation in the State of Florida.
  • The school must offer elementary, middle school, and/or secondary programs. FCIS does not accredit post-secondary institutions.
  • If the school has programs for 2-, 3-, 4- and/or 5-year-olds, those programs must be part of an overall elementary program that extends through at least 3rd grade. Schools that serve students only in grade 2 and below are eligible for membership in the Florida Kindergarten Council.
  • The school must not discriminate in admission or employment on the basis of race, religion, national or ethnic origin and must follow fair employment practices.
  • The school must have a written philosophy that guides the school's programs and operations.
  • If not-for-profit, the school must have an independent governing Board whose sole function is the governance of the school.
  • The school must have a curriculum consistent with its philosophy, as evidenced by a published curriculum guide.
  • The school's students must not spend the majority of their day taking online courses unless those courses are developed by the school and executed by the school's instructors.
  • The school must be financially solvent.

If your school has been open for less than three years, click here to learn more about New School Candidacy.

If your school has been open for three years or longer, click here to learn more about full membership.

Want more information? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for inquiring schools.

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