Illinois state resources
There are no accreditation or licensing requirements for schools, and registration/recognition are optional processes, but are recommended due to the additional benefits of being a recognized school.
The Illinois State Board of Education has assembled a page of detailed requirements for private schools.
Homeschooling is considered a form of private school in Illinois and does not require special reporting as long as students are receiving education at least equivalent to public education.
The US Office of Innovation & Improvement has assembled a summary of regulations for private schools operating in Illinois.
Illinois does not have specific insurance requirements for private schools.
State funding sources & support
Illinois does not provide funding for private education, but does offer an Education Expense tax credit for qualified education expenses of K-12 students.
Among others, recognized nonpublic schools must provide instruction in English (except as otherwise permitted under the law), in language arts, mathematics, the biological physical and social sciences, the fine arts, and physical development and health education.
Teacher certification & hiring
Nonpublic teachers do not have to hold certifications but must have a bachelors degree or higher and must be evaluated every 2 years for job proficiency.
Food services / school lunch
In Illinois, school lunch requirements, including funding for schools offering the National School Lunch Program, are managed by the Illinois State Board of Education.
Length of school year
For registered and recognized schools, the length of the school year must be at least 176 days of student attendance, with at least five hours of instruction daily, or a total of 880 hours of instruction per school year.
Recordkeeping and reports
Schools must provide the state with the number of immunized students, the number who haven't complied, and the number claiming religious or health exemptions. They must also keep official records of student academic progress and are obligated to transfer them to any school students may transfer to.
Health and safety requirements
Students are required to have health exams and show proof of immunizations before enrolling in school. Schools must hold fire, severe weather, and bomb threat/active shooter drills each year.
District school boards are required to provide transportation for nonpublic students. Additionally, the Chicago Transit Authority offers reduced fares to students, including nonpublic students.
There is no state policy for testing.
State and regional associations
Illinois Association of Christian Schools: The general purpose of the IACS is the establishment, promotion, development, and protection of Christian schools and Christian education in the State of Illinois.
Illinois Coalition of Nonpublic Schools: aims to support quality education for all children in the state, to be an advocate for nonpublic education in Illinois and to actively promote nonpublic school autonomy and parental rights.
Illinois Association of Private Special Education Centers: IAPSEC is a not-for-profit organization consisting of private schools interested in the general welfare of Illinois children with exceptional needs and the quality of special education made available to them.
Independent Schools Association of the Central States: ISACS leads schools to pursue exemplary independent education.
Lake Michigan Association of Independent Schools: LMAIS is a non-profit organization established to promote educational excellence among independent schools in northern Illinois and northwest Indiana.
Starting a Private School
Want to know more about opening a school? We’ve assembled a complete guide to starting a private school, with considerations for everything from planning and finance to branding, hiring, curriculum, facilities, and more!
We've done our best to pull together current and accurate information. Even so, there may be omissions or mistakes or content that needs to be updated. If you have recommendations for any resources or corrections, we appreciate your input so we can continue to improve this guide for everyone.
Nothing in this guide should be construed as legal, business, or tax advice. It is important that you engage qualified professionals who can advise you on such matters, and please visit the Department of Education pages for your state to verify you are in compliance with all regulations.