Full Membership

Full membership is available to schools that have been in operation for more than three years. If your school has been in operation for less than three years, please see New School Candidacy.

Full membership in FCIS is granted to schools who successfully complete FCIS evaluation and accreditation. Through the evaluation and accreditation process, the Florida Council of Independent Schools strives to assure that each member school maintains high standards and independence. The self-evaluation and accreditation process that each school undergoes is conducted to ensure that each school adheres to the high FCIS standards and fulfills its mission as stated.

Benefits of an FCIS Membership:

  • the ability to attend the FCIS Convention and other professional development offerings at the membership rate
  • admittance to members-only webinars on standards, legal issues, and more
  • legislative information and advocacy
  • eligibility for the Dewitt E. and Vera Hooker Fellowship Grant
  • access to critical data via DASL (Data and Analysis for School Leadership)
  • subscriptions to FCIS publications, such as Independents
  • networking opportunities with other independent schools
  • participation in the Master In-Service Program (MIP)
  • free job postings on the FCIS website
  • voting rights at the FCIS Annual Business Meeting

Applying for Full Membership

**NOTE: The accreditation process can take up to 12 months. Please plan accordingly.


Site Visit for Inquiring Schools

The purpose of the Site Visit is to confirm the information provided by the school to the FCIS Office and to determine the school’s progress towards meeting FCIS standards.

The Site Visit is conducted by the FCIS Director of Accreditation or another representative of FCIS. The visit usually takes around 3 hours to complete.

Prior to the visit, the school will be sent a Faculty Data Sheet, which must be filled out and submitted before the visit. This sheet summarizes the qualifications of the faculty, which must be assessed as a part of the Site Visit report.

During the Site Visit, the school should be prepared to:

  • Give a tour of the school
  • Discuss the academic preparation of the faculty
  • Share a copy of the school’s curriculum guide
  • Describe the governance of the school
  • Provide a copy of the school’s latest budget and proof of liability insurance
  • Answer questions about operations as they relate to FCIS standards
  • Ask any questions about FCIS and the accreditation process

After the visit concludes, the FCIS representative will submit a report for review. The school will be notified as to whether or not it will be granted an official application for membership or New School Candidacy.

If you have questions, please contact the Director of Accreditation, Melissa Alton, at malton@fcis.org or (813) 287-2820.

Evaluation Process

Once the application and fee are received, the school will be assigned an FCIS Chairperson who will conduct an Original Evaluation for membership with a team of 6-14 people, depending upon the size of the school. This evaluation must take place within 12 months of the school's submission of the FCIS application and application fee. The school bears the costs of reimbursement for the team members' travel expenses. FCIS does not charge accreditation fees. For more information on the accreditation process, click here.

The Original Evaluation report will be reviewed by the FCIS Commission on Accreditation and Board of Directors. If approved, the school receives accreditation and full membership status within FCIS upon the payment of annual dues.

FCIS 2019-20 Dues

Enrollment: Dues:

1-100 students

$340.00 + $7.94 per each student

101-200 students

$1,859.00 + $5.92 per each student over 100

201-300 students

$3,020.00 + $4.86 per each student over 200

301-400 students

$3,959.00 + $4.24 per each student over 300

401-500 students

$4,858.00 + $3.47 per each student over 400

501-700 students

$5,544.00 + $2.57 per each student over 500

701-1000 students

$6,589.00 + $2.51 per each student over 700

Over 1000 students

$8,035.00 + $2.29 per each student over 1000


Q: Can we be a member of FCIS without becoming accredited by FCIS?

A: No. Full membership requires accreditation by FCIS. New School Candidates enter without accreditation; however, they must agree to undergo accreditation within their fourth full year of operation. FCIS does not have any other membership statuses.

Q: What are the costs of accreditation?

A: Schools that pass the inquiry process will undergo a Site Visit by a representative of FCIS. The Site Visit costs nothing for the school. If, after the Site Visit, an official application is granted, a $500.00 application fee must be paid. Then, the actual accreditation evaluation is scheduled. The school is responsible for the expenses of the visiting team, including food, lodging, and reimbursement for mileage and other travel expenses. Therefore, the cost of the evaluation varies depending on the size of the team. FCIS does not charge accreditation fees.

Q: How many people will be on the team that visits my school?

A: Team sizes are determined by FCIS Evaluation Policies. Currently, the required sizes are as follows:

Elementary schools with 250 students or less: 4-5 team members

Elementary schools with 251 or more students: 4-8 team members

Elementary/Middle School combinations with 300 or less students: 6-7 team members

Elementary/Middle School combinations with 301 or more students: 8-10 team members

Elementary/Middle School/High School with less than 500 students: 10-12 team members

Elementary/Middle School/High School with more than 500 students: 12-14 team members

Middle School/High School combinations with up to 500 students: 6-10 team members

Middle School/High School combinations with 500 or more students: 10-14 team members

High School only up to 500 students: 6-10 team members

High School only between 500 and 800 students: 10-12 team members

High School only with more than 800 students: 12-14 team members

Q: Our students take all of their classes online. Can we be accredited?

A: Your school may be accredited if and only if all of the courses are created by your school and are taught by employees of your school. If the students are taking courses from an outside provider (such as FLVS or Laurel Springs), the school is not eligible for accreditation with FCIS.

Q: How can we learn more about the accreditation process? Is there training?

A: Face-to-face training takes place at the annual FCIS Convention, which takes place each November. Training is also available via webinars. For more information on these events, see the “Professional Development” section of the FCIS website. Once a school is an applying school, its faculty and staff may also participate as evaluation team members for other schools. Consult the “Accreditation” section of the FCIS website for more information about being a team member.

Q: Can we get accredited by more than one accrediting association at a time?

A: Yes. FCIS has cooperative agreements with AdvancED-SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools), the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), and SAIS (Southern Association of Independent Schools). To add SAIS, ACSI or AdvancED-SACS, contact the FCIS office. Click HERE to learn more.

Q: We are already accredited by one of the associations you mentioned. Can we follow their accreditation process and just add FCIS to it?

A: No. Our cooperative agreements with SAIS, ACSI and AdvancED-SACS state that FCIS will be the lead agency on all joint evaluations. Therefore, the school must complete the FCIS Self-Study and follow FCIS evaluation protocols.

Q: Once we are an applying school, may we use the FCIS logo on our website or other marketing materials?

A: No. Only New School Candidates and full members may use the FCIS logo.

Q: Can applying schools participate in FCIS’s Master-Inservice Program (MIP)?

A: Only full members may use the MIP. New School Candidates and applying schools are not eligible.

Looking for more information? Contact the FCIS Office at (813) 287-2820.