Membership FAQs

We realize that making the decision to join NAIS is a big one. And it may be a decision made by your school’s whole leadership team, or even in consultation with your board. Here is information that can answer questions your team may have. Please feel free to contact us at if we can help with any other questions.

Is NAIS membership a multi-year commitment?

No, you make a choice each year to renew your membership. During that year, our goal is to help you maximize your use of NAIS tools and resources so you find the most value in your membership. At the same time, we encourage you to see becoming part of the NAIS community as a long-term decision for your school – 98% of our schools do when they renew their membership each year.

What tangible benefits will our school see when we become NAIS members?

Every individual – from the staff, faculty, and board – at an NAIS member school has access to benefits as soon as your school becomes a member. At a rate of $14.68 per K-13 student per year (and half that rate for preschool and pre-k students), you’ll soon find that it is a worthwhile investment. Some of the most tangible benefits in NAIS membership include the following:

  • Access to data from more than 1,600 other independent schools and tools that allow you to benchmark. Generating data like this would likely be cost-prohibitive for an individual school.
  • Research on topics relevant to independent schools. This research helps schools stay ahead of trends and make data-based decisions. It also helps propel the industry forward.
  • Advisories created for independent schools. These advisories – prepared for independent schools and available only to NAIS members – run the gamut of issues your board, business office, and student affairs office may face. They can help ensure your school stays in legal compliance, saving your school thousands of dollars in legal and consulting fees.
  • Career resources offered at no cost. NAIS members can post jobs for free on the NAIS Career Center. This could save your school large recruiting fees and introduce your school to candidates dedicated to developing their careers in independent schools.
  • Tools to increase the visibility of your school. There are more than 200,000 page views each year on the NAIS Find a School directory; that’s where many parents begin their search for independent schools. Our free Parents’ Guide then provides these parents the information they need to manage the admission process successfully. And an NAIS site called Inspiration Lab tells the story of NAIS independent schools in a compelling way.
  • Deep discounts on professional development. NAIS events help to develop leadership skills in every stage of one’s career; NAIS members save up to 40% on the registration fees. Many schools also use issues of Independent School magazine for professional development discussion among faculty and staff.

Perhaps less tangible but equally as important, NAIS members become part of a community of individuals across the country with whom they can exchange ideas. Not only do they do so in person, but also via online communities. On our NAIS Connect communities, NAIS member school staff and faculty actively exchange ideas, resources, and best practices with professionals who are facing similar challenges and opportunities.

Does NAIS membership matter to prospective families?

We believe it does. To families, the Proud NAIS member logo on your site or in your viewbook establishes the basics – you are accredited and you follow best practices. But it also says you are looking to be part of the advancement of the wider educational community.

What types of schools are NAIS members?

NAIS member schools are K-13 private, independent schools of all types and sizes around the country. Below is a snapshot of our community:

Our school is not accredited, but we would like to join NAIS. Can we still become a member?

Schools that are not accredited may join as Premium or NAIS Subscribers. NAIS also offers Candidate Membership to schools that are not yet accredited but are actively working toward it. As part of your application, you can indicate your progress toward achieving accreditation. To qualify for this category of membership, you must be working with one of NAIS's approved accrediting organizations – these are groups whose standards are well known to us.

Our school is already a member of our state/regional school association.  Does this also make us a member of NAIS? 

No, NAIS membership is separate from your school’s membership with your state or regional association. 

On the NAIS membership application, what is meant by “nondiscrimination statements”?

NAIS requires that all member schools submit statements of nondiscrimination in admission and employment practices on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or age in violation of state or federal laws. This means that a single-sex school can choose students on the basis of gender, for instance, or a school with a strong religious purpose can be true to that purpose in selecting students or faculty, so long as those policies are protected by law.

On the NAIS membership application, what is meant by "independent board of trustees"?

An independent board of trustees means that a school is governed by a self-perpetuating board charged with the fiduciary, strategic, and visionary duties to sustain the school. It operates with a governance structure with sufficient independence from other organizations or individuals so as to ensure its ability to fulfill its mission and to control its own destiny. Schools that do not have an independent board structure are welcome to apply as Premium or NAIS Subscribers.