Prior to submitting an application for PAIS membership, leadership must be able to establish that the School:

  • Is academic in its mission.
  • Has non-discriminatory policies and practices in admissions, employment, and all other aspects of school operation as provided by law.
  • Is a not-for-profit, IRS designated 501(c)(3) organization.
  • Is able to comply with all applicable laws and regulations in all aspects of school operation.
  • Is governed by an independent Board of Trustees that hold the school’s institutional health and long-term survival as the Board’s highest priority.
  • Is funded primarily through tuition, endowment revenue, and/or philanthropy, not by tax or church funds.
  • Is currently licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the State of Delaware or accredited by accrediting associations approved by the State Board of Education.
  • Has conducted an annual certified independent audit including the auditor's opinion letter.
  • Aspires to the Principles of Good Practice of the National Association of Independent Schools.
Member Candidate:
  • Member Candidates have the opportunity to quickly and easily enjoy some of the benefits of membership in PAIS while preparing documentation to become full PAIS members.
  • To apply to be a Member Candidate a school must complete a brief online application through the PAIS website and submit a $250 non-refundable application fee.
  • Member Candidates must complete an interview with the Executive Director and/or his appointee and subsequently be approved by the Board as a Member Candidate.
  • Once accepted as a Member Candidate, the Head of School will receive communications from the Executive Director, which includes such content as special notifications on government affairs and the CONNECTIONS Newsletter.
  • An accepted Member Candidate may request to accelerate to Membership in the same school year. If a Member Candidate is accepted into Membership, dues that year will be prorated based on the date of their approval into Membership by the Board.
  • Applications to become a PAIS Member are submitted through the PAIS website. The application process includes providing information about the school and the submission of vital documents that demonstrate that the school meets the Criteria for Membership listed above.
  • Schools can apply directly to be PAIS Members without first becoming Member Candidates. In order to do this, they must submit a $250 non-refundable application fee and complete both the short online application form and submit all additional required materials as indicated on the PAIS website.
  • Following the submission of the application fee and required materials, there will be an onsite visit by the Executive Director and/or his appointee.
  • Assuming all criteria have been satisfactorily met, the PAIS Board will vote to accept the school into PAIS Membership.
  • When a school is accepted as a Member School, the school will gain access to administrative online discussion groups, the members-only directory, and discounted member rate for professional development programming.
  • Member schools are eligible and encouraged to initiate the accreditation process no more than three years of becoming Members.
  • Member schools pay full annual membership dues based on the school’s prior year enrollment numbers.
Provisional Member:
  • Independent schools that meet all of the criteria for membership, but which are not yet accredited, may be considered for Provisional Membership provided that any such school can give evidence of its intention to secure accreditation. Provisional Memberships are for no longer than three years. The application process to be a Provisional Member is as stated above for both the Member Candidate and Member schools.

Schools that have previously been a member of PAIS may move to Member status immediately pending a discussion with the Executive Director.

Understanding that the nature of independent schools is such that schools as well as the stated processes of the association may call for adaptations or exceptions, the PAIS Board of Directors reserves the right to make exceptions to these stated criteria.