Become a Member

You do it all — but that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.

While the SAIS accreditation program began in 2001, SAIS has been concerned with school quality through accreditation and leadership in the world of education for more than a century.

Applying for membership is a multi-step process and typically takes up to 12 weeks. If you have any questions about the membership criteria or the process, please contact us at

Step 1: Self-analysis of candidacy criteria

These candidacy criteria have been developed to help predict schools that will be successful through the SAIS accreditation process. These criteria are well represented throughout the SAIS standards for accreditation. The final step to full membership is becoming accredited by SAIS within three years of becoming a candidate. For SAIS, the term school does not include home schools.

Step 2: Invitation to submit full membership application, documentation, and application fee

After reviewing your candidacy criteria self-analysis, you may be invited to complete the full SAIS application, complete documentation, and submit the $500 non-refundable application fee.

Step 3: SAIS analysis of full application and documentation

The initial review of your application and materials takes approximately 21 business days. We may request more information if any part of your application is incomplete or unclear.

Step 4: Dues and candidate status

After your school has been accepted as a candidate, you will receive a prorated dues invoice based on your school’s operating budget. Paying dues is the next step to becoming a candidate member. All schools are considered candidates until accreditation is received from SAIS, which must occur within three years. Once accreditation is received, your school will be considered a member of SAIS and invoiced for dues annually. Dues are non-refundable.

Step 5: School visit

After the dues payment has been received, schools will submit their request for participation in the accreditation process and request an on-site SAIS Accreditation Workshop.


Timeline:  The application process typically takes 6-12 weeks.

Application Fee:  There is a one-time $500 application fee paid at the time you submit your application.

SAIS Membership Dues: The dues year runs July 1-June 30. Dues are on a sliding scale based on a school’s total expense budget. Membership renewal invoices are emailed in early June, with payment due by August 1. Accredited schools that do not renew their annual dues will have their accreditation rescinded in addition to being dropped from the membership roster. Dues are non-refundable.

Other Memberships: If you are not already a member of Cognia (formerly AdvancED/SACS) or Middle States Association (MSA) and would like to become one, you may join while joining SAIS. Once your school is accepted into candidate status, we will send you the appropriate application. Note that the Cognia application fee will be waived if Cognia membership is obtained through SAIS. SAIS will deliver your application(s) on your behalf and will serve as your liaison.

Moratorium: A one-year moratorium will be instituted for schools not achieving accreditation within three years of becoming a candidate. After the moratorium period has passed, the school may re-apply for candidacy. The school must meet the criteria in place at the time of re-application. After being re-accepted, the school must successfully achieve accreditation within one year.

Questions? Please contact us at if you have any questions or need assistance completing the application.