General regulations

  • Massachusetts has no requirements for registration, licensing or accreditation.

  • All schools must be approved by the local school district. To be approved, the committee looks to see that the curriculum is thorough and that private school students are making the same academic progress as public school students.

  • The Massachusetts Department of Education has assembled a page of detailed requirements for private schools.

  • The US Office of Innovation & Improvement has assembled a summary of regulations for private schools operating in Massachusetts.

  • Homeschool programs must be pre-approved before students may begin.

  • The Massachusetts DOE has no published requirements for school insurance -- consult a professional for guidance in this area.

Education regulations and resources for starting a private school in the state of Massachusetts

State funding sources & support

Massachusetts does not provide funding for private education.

Curriculum requirements

There are no specific requirements for private school curriculum, though the approval committee does look to see that students are making academic progress comparable to the public schools.

Teacher certification & hiring

No state policy exists regarding teacher certification in nonpublic schools.

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Food services / school lunch

In Massachusetts, school lunch requirements, including funding for schools offering the National School Lunch Program, are managed by the Department of Education.

Length of school year

There is no state law regarding length of the school year.

Recordkeeping and reports

Schools must keep enrollment, attendance, academic, and conduct records for all enrolled students and must file a report with the local school district each year.

Health and safety requirements

All secondary schools must teach hazing prevention and file an annual report certifying it has taken place.


Students who attend approved private schools are entitled to the same rights and privileges to transportation to and from school as are provided by law for public school students


Testing isn't explicitly required in state law, but approval committees have used standardized testing as a criteria to determine whether the schools are comparable to public schools.

State and regional associations

  • Association of Independent Schools of New England: With 200 member schools, AISNE is one of the largest regional associations in the country and represents a diverse range of schools in terms of size, pedagogy, religious affiliation, and, of course, mission. They serve schools by providing strategic information, accreditation, advocacy and a wide range of professional development opportunities.

  • Massachusetts Association of Approved Private Schools: MAAPS was founded in 1978 as a statewide association of approved private special education schools dedicated to providing educational programs and services to students with special needs.

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!

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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.

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