Nonpublic schools have two options for accreditation in the State of Iowa. Nonpublic schools can choose one of the following options:

  1. General Accreditation by state through a comprehensive site visit.
  2. Independent Accreditation through a state approved independent accrediting agency.

Nonpublic schools accredited through an approved independent accrediting agency are deemed to meet the education standards of Iowa Code 256.11. With respect to accreditation in both public and nonpublic schools, the state has the authority and responsibility to be assured of an educational program which is in accordance with minimal standards. Approval standards are those rules and regulations promulgated by the Iowa Department of Education and found in the Iowa Administrative Code. These standards detail the statutes as to intent and purposes and carry the force and effect of law.

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Application for Initial Recognition

The purpose of the application for initial recognition is to determine whether your organization is a “reliable authority concerning the quality of education” offered by an accredited nonpublic school. Contact Eric Heitz at or 515-326-1018 for more information on the application process.

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General Accreditation by State Through a Comprehensive Site Visit

An accredited school meets or exceeds the minimum requirements for operation as either an elementary or secondary school as stated in the general statutes and regulations adopted by the State Board of Education. If a school meets these minimum standards, it will be granted accreditation.

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Independent Accreditation Through a State Approved Independent Accrediting Agency

Nonpublic schools have the option to be accredited by an independent regional or national nonprofit, nongovernmental agency recognized as a reliable authority concerning the quality of education.

Iowa Administrative Code rule 281-12.10

The following is a list of State Board of Education approved independent accrediting agencies:

ACS, Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Elizabeth Oberreiter
Vice President, Domestic Accreditation

Cognia (formerly AdvancEd)

Kathy Bartlow
Senior Analyst
480-773-6900 ext. 6923

Dr. Andre Harrison
Vice President, Accreditation Services

American Montessori Society (AMS)

Melanie Thiesse

Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)

Bobbie Kelly
Associate Director

Christian Schools International (CSI)

Sheryl L. Jo
Director of Accreditation
Christian Schools International
99 Monroe NW, #200
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616-957-1070 ext. 106

Allison Reiffer
Manager of Accreditation Support
Christian Schools International
99 Monroe NW, #200
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616-957-1070 ext. 107

Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS)

Andy Gilla
Director of Accreditation

Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools

Daniel C Rufo 
Senior Associate Vice President

National Lutheran School Accreditation (NLSA)

Dr. Alan Freeman
Director LCMS School Ministry
Office of National Mission
1333 South Kirkwood Road
Saint Louis, MO 63122

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