New Jersey State Regulations
Updated December 9, 2016 State Regulation of Private Schools (Revised July 2009) is the last full report.
Accreditation, Registration, Licensing, and Approval
Note: The following does not apply to approved private schools for students with disabilities (APPSD), which operate under contract with local school districts to place students with special needs. APSSDs have their own approval requirements, which can be found in New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J. Admin Code) title 6A:14-7.
- Accreditation: no requirements
- Registration: required
- Per the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), only if the school is registered will the school’s eligible students receive state funded services, which include:
- Auxiliary and Handicapped Services for Nonpublic Schools (Chapters 192 and 193), New Jersey Revised Statues (N.J. Rev. Stat.) §18A:46A-1 et seq. and §18A:46-19.1 et seq.
- Basic nursing services, N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:40-23.
- Textbooks, N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:58-37.3.
- Technology, authorized by language in the state’s FY 2016 Appropriations Act.
- Security aid, authorized by language in the state’s FY 2016 Appropriations Act.
- A nonpublic school must register as a business in order to operate per NJDOE policy.
- Licensing: no requirements
- Approval: no requirements
- No state policy currently exists.
Length of School Year and Days
- No state policy currently exists.
- The compulsory education law requires attendance at a public school or a day school in which there is given instruction equivalent to that provided in the public schools for children of similar grades and attainments. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:38-25.
- Private schools must provide regular courses of instruction in the constitution of the United States from the seventh grade through high school. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:6-3.
- Private schools must provide regular courses of instruction in accident and fire prevention. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:6-2.
- An educational services commission may enter into contracts to provide educational services and programs to nonpublic schools. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:6-63.
- The local boards of education have a duty to loan educational materials developed by the commissioner of education on the nature and effects of drugs, alcohol, anabolic steroids, tobacco and controlled dangerous substances to pupils attending nonpublic schools. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:40A-5.
- The New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education provides assistance and advice to private schools on the implementation of Holocaust education and awareness programs. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:4A-3.
- Private secondary school students are eligible to participate in a legislative internship program operated in cooperation with the New Jersey Association of High School Councils. N.J. Rev. Stat. §52:13G-2.
- A local education agency will establish information and resource centers that will provide the following services: “a lending library of educational and instructional materials; preparation of media and materials for informational and instructional purposes; an educational information storage and retrieval system; special topic seminars and conferences; and consultant advice, information and expertise.” N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:6-95.1.
Recordkeeping and Reports
- Private schools must annually report statistics relating to the conduct of the institution as required by the commissioner on or before August 1. No private schools may be required to report expenses or finances; nor shall any such report prepared by the school be made public. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A-6-4.
- The Office of Student Assistance prepares an annual report listing all sources of financial assistance available to New Jersey students attending any institution of higher education. The report is distributed to each private secondary school in the state. N.J. Rev. Stat. §§18A:3-14.1 and 18A:3-14.2.
- Private school officials must provide a voter registration form and related nonpartisan materials to each eligible high school pupil in conjunction with the voter registration drive. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:36-27.
Health and Safety Requirements
- Private schools must insure compliance with the State Sanitary Code governing immunizations required for attending school. N.J. Rev. Stat. §26:1A-9.
- A child is exempt from pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine as a condition for admission to a private school if the child’s physician states in writing that the vaccine is medically contraindicated. N.J. Rev. Stat. §26:2N-4.
- Private schools may close due to an epidemic. N.J. Rev. Stat. §26:4-5.
- The administrator of a nonpublic school must develop a policy governing the emergency administration of epinephrine via an auto-injector to a pupil for anaphylaxis. This includes having a supply of auto-injectors prescribed by a licensed physician or advanced practice nurse to be administered by a school nurse or trained personnel to a student without a known history of anaphylaxis when it is believed the student is having an anaphylactic reaction. New Jersey can provide funds for this policy to nonpublic schools to encourage compliance. N.J. Rev. Stat. §§18A:40-12.5–18A:40-12.6, and 18A:40-12.6e.
- Each nonpublic school must have and maintain for the use of pupils at least one nebulizer in the office of the school nurse or a similar accessible location. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:40-12.7.
- Each nonpublic school must have and maintain an automated external defibrillator (AED). The AED must be accessible during the school day and any other time when a school-sponsored athletic event or team practice is taking place. A staff member trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of the AED must be present during each athletic event or team practice. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:40-41a.
- Each nonpublic school must have a person who coaches an interscholastic sport or cheerleading complete the NJDOE interscholastic athletic head injury safety training program. In addition, each nonpublic school that participates in an interscholastic sports program or cheerleading program must distribute annually to the parents or guardians of its student-athletes and cheerleaders the educational fact sheet and shall obtain a signed acknowledgement of the receipt of the fact sheet by the student-athlete or cheerleader and his/her parent or guardian. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:40-41.2.
- All nonpublic schools with students participating on interscholastic and intramural athletic teams must comply with the requirements of the Scholastic Student-Athlete Safety Act (P.L. 2013, c.71).
- Each nonpublic school must distribute a pamphlet on sudden cardiac arrest from the commissioner of education to the parents or guardians of students participating in athletic activities. The parents or guardians, and students must sign a form acknowledging a review of the pamphlet each year. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:40-41.
- A physical exam using a pre-participation physical evaluation form is required for student-athletes who participate in interscholastic or intramural athletics and cheerleading, N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:40-41.7.
- Nonpublic schools must distribute annually to parents or guardians an educational fact sheet on sports-related eye injuries, N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:40-41.9.
N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:40-41d.
- Schools of two or more rooms or of one room located on a second floor or higher, must have at least one fire drill and one security drill each month, including the summer if the school is providing instruction during that time. If provided, fire escapes must be used during the drill. Teachers must keep all doors and exits of their rooms and buildings unlocked during the school hours. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:41-1.
- Schools having a furnace room, hallway, or stair-tower fire or smoke doors must keep them closed when the building is occupied. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:41-2.
- Nonpublic schools may require applicants for positions involving regular contact with pupils to have a criminal history record check for information that would disqualify the individual for employment. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:6-4.13.
- Substitute employees rehired annually at nonpublic schools that require a criminal history record check need only undergo a record check upon initial employment. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:6-4.17.
- Any private school personnel who in good faith reports a person, including pupils, in an attempt to help cure his or her dependency on a controlled substance will not be liable for civil damages. N.J. Rev. Stat. §§2A:62A-4 and 18A:40A-14.
- School bus drivers used by private schools for transportation to and from school must submit to a medical exam for the presence of alcohol, narcotics or habit-producing drugs. N.J. Rev. Stat. §39:3-10.1a.
- A municipality may authorize the chief executive officer to close any portion of a street within a block of a private school to resolve a safety problem for ingress and egress to the school or for the provision of recreational facilities for children attending the school. Closure must not exceed one hour between 7:30 and 10 a.m., two hours between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and one hour between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. when school is in session. N.J. Rev. Stat. §40:67-16.7.
- Employees of private schools are prohibited from inflicting corporal punishment upon a pupil attending school. However, employees may use reasonable and necessary force to quell a disturbance or a threat of physical injury to others, to obtain a weapon from a student, for self-defense, and for the protection of persons or property. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:6-1.
- It is illegal for a municipality or county to discriminate between public and private nonprofit elementary or high schools accredited by the state Department of Education regarding zoning ordinances governing the use of land. N.J. Rev. Stat. §40:55D-66.
- The New Jersey Nonpublic Security Aid Program is authorized by language in the state’s FY 2016 Appropriations Act appropriating state aid to school districts for allocation to nonpublic schools within the district to help ensure a safe and secure school environment for nonpublic school students.
- The program requires the board of education in each public school district to provide security services, equipment and technology to all qualifying nonpublic schools located in the public school district. The security services, equipment and technology may be provided directly by the board of education, by contracts with an educational services commission or an independent contractor.
- The New Jersey Constitution declares that the state legislature may, within a reasonable distance, provide student transportation (ages 5–18) to and from any school. New Jersey Constitution Art. 8, 4, par. 3.
- Pupils attending nonprofit, nonpublic schools not more than 20 miles from their residence are entitled to transportation if the school district provides transportation for public school pupils. If the cost of the transportation exceeds a set amount ($884 for FY 2016) or the amount determined for subsequent years pursuant to N.J. Rev. Stat §18A:39-1a, the allocation will be given to the parent/guardian toward the cost of the transportation. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:39-1.
- The governing body of a nonpublic school may authorize qualified personnel or parents to transport school children to related school activities in a private vehicle with a capacity of eight people or less. The transportation will be exempt from any additional requirements imposed on the transportation of pupils by school bus. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:39-20.1.
- Each local board of education has the responsibility to purchase and loan textbooks to all nonpublic students in the district on individual request. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:58- 37.3.
- There is an educational information and resource center to provide support and services to nonprofit, nonpublic schools on request. The services provided by the center include “a lending library of educational and instructional materials; preparation of media and materials for informational and instructional purposes; an educational information storage and retrieval system; special topic seminars and conferences; and consultant advice, information and expertise.” N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:6-95.1.
- No state policy currently exists.
- Local boards of education must provide for the identification of nonpublic school students, ages 5–21, who cannot be accommodated through the school facilities usually provided because of handicaps. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:46-6.
- The examination and classification of disabled nonpublic school children occurs in a location determined by the local board and approved by the commissioner. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:46-8.
- New Jersey provides for the public placement of handicapped children in accredited nonpublic schools if a child study team determines that 1) a suitable special education program cannot be provided otherwise; 2) the nonpublic school is the most appropriate placement for the child; 3) services are nonsectarian; 4) the school is not specifically approved for the education of handicapped pupils; and 5) the board of education places the child with the consent of the commissioner or by a court order. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:46-14 and N.J. Admin. Code title 6A:14-4.2 and 6A:14-6.5.
- Tuition rates at private schools may not exceed the actual cost per pupil determined under rules prescribed by the commissioner and approved by the state board of education. N.J. Admin. Code title 6A:14-7.8.
- The board of education of a district in which a nonpublic school is located is required to provide remedial services to eligible nonpublic school students residing in the state and enrolled full-time in a nonpublic school located within the district. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:46-19.1 et seq.
- Remedial services, commonly referred to as Chapter 193 programs, provide nonpublic school students with evaluation for determination of eligibility for special education and attendant services that are supplemental to both regular and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act programs, including speech-language services. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:46-19.1 et seq. Remedial services are provided only upon the consent of the parent or guardian and will be provided in a location determined by the local board pursuant to rules and regulations of the state board. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:46-19.5. If student transportation is necessary to receive services, the local board of education will provide transportation. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:46-19.6.
- The board of education of a district in which a nonpublic school is located is required to provide auxiliary services, commonly referred to as Chapter 192 programs, to eligible nonpublic school students residing in the state and enrolled full-time in a nonpublic school located within the district. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:46A-3.
- Auxiliary services provide nonpublic school students with services designed to assist pupils who have academic needs that prevent them from succeeding in regular school programs, including compensatory education (supplemental to the regular programs) for the improvement of math and language arts literacy skills, English as a second language and home instruction. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:46A-1 et seq. Auxiliary services are provided only upon the consent of the parent or guardian in a location determined by the local board of education. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:46A-5. If student transportation is necessary to receive services, the local board of education will provide transportation. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:46A-6.
Nursing and Health
- Local boards of education provide nursing services for pupils enrolled full-time in nonpublic schools. The services include, but are not limited to, medical examinations, dental screening, hearing examinations, and maintenance of student health records. In addition, the emergency care provided to public school pupils is extended to nonpublic school students who are injured or become ill at school or during athletic activities. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:40-23 et seq.
- Nonprofit nonpublic schools participating in the National School Lunch Program will be reimbursed with federal funds, and if insufficient for the cost, may be supplemented with state funds. (Nonpublic schools are defined within this provision as schools offering K–12 education, fulfilling compulsory school attendance requirements, and complying with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.) N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:58-7.1 et seq.
- The New Jersey Nonpublic School Technology Initiative Program is authorized by the state’s FY 2016 Appropriations Act, and authorizes aid to be paid to school districts and allocated for nonpublic school pupils to: (1) provide nonpublic school students with computers, educational software, distance learning equipment and other technologies that can improve their education by meeting their specific educational needs; and (2) give nonpublic school teachers the skills, resources and incentives to use educational technologies effectively to improve teaching and learning in the classroom.
- County educational audiovisual commissions may contract with nonprofit private schools within the county to provide educational audiovisual aids to such schools. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:51-6.
- By statute, nonprofit, nonpublic schools are represented by two members on the board of directors governing the educational information and resource center. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:6-97.
Reimbursement for Performing State and Local Functions
- No state policy currently exists.
- The New Jersey Constitution provides that tax exemptions cannot be repealed for real and personal property owned by a corporation/association organized for religious, educational, or charitable purposes and used exclusively for those purposes. New Jersey Constitution Art. 8, 1, par. 2.
- Corporations operated exclusively for educational purposes are exempt from sales tax if the earnings do not benefit any private individual, and the organization’s activities do not attempt to influence legislation or intervene in any political campaign. N.J. Rev. Stat. §54:32B-9.
- Private or parochial schools conducting a course in driver education approved by the state department of education are not charged license fees. N.J. Rev. Stat. §39:12-2.
Public Aid for Private Education
- Constitutional Provisions: The New Jersey Constitution does not have a provision related to public aid for private education.
- Programs for financial assistance for attendance at private schools: There are no such programs at this time.
- Parents of any minor who injure any nonpublic school property are liable for all damages incurred. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:37-3.
- “Private school” is defined under New Jersey’s education provisions as “a school, under college grade, which does not derive its support entirely or in part from public funds.” N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:1-1.
- The New Jersey Constitution makes games of chance legal for education or religious organizations when the net proceeds are devoted to educational or religious uses. New Jersey Constitution Art. 4, 7, par. 2A.
- If a parent or guardian does not appeal a school’s refusal to enroll a student, or if a parent or guardian removes a student from his or her school in order to homeschool that child, then the parent or guardian is required to inform the local board of education per the NJDOE’s Frequently Asked Questions: Homeschooling.
- The NJDOE encourages parents or guardians to notify the local boards of education of the intent to homeschool a student so that questions do not arise about compliance with the compulsory education law per the NJDOE’s Frequently Asked Questions: Homeschooling.
- Responsibility for enforcing the compulsory education law rests with the local board of education. When a school board has reason to believe that a parent or guardian is not complying with the compulsory education law, the local board of education can initiate truancy proceedings in municipal court, requiring parents or legal guardians to document their activities in providing “equivalent instruction.” Per the NJDOE’s Frequently Asked Questions: Homeschooling.
Curriculum and Instruction
- New Jersey’s compulsory education law states that “every parent, guardian or other person having custody and control of a child between the ages of six and 16 years shall cause such child regularly to attend the public schools of the district or a day school in which there is given instruction equivalent to that provided in the public schools for children of similar grades and attainments or to receive equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school.” N.J. Rev. Stat. §38A: 38-25.
Assessment and Diplomas
- A homeschooled student may obtain a New Jersey state high school diploma by passing the General Educational Development test; or by completing 30 general education credits leading to a degree at an accredited institution of higher education and meeting current state assessment graduation requirements per the NJDOE’s Frequently Asked Questions: Homeschooling.
Public School Access
- Per the NJDOE’s Frequently Asked Questions: Homeschooling, a local board of education has no obligation to allow a home-schooled student to participate in regular school curriculum or in extracurricular or sports activities. Such determinations are at the discretion of the school board.
Information and Legislation
- New Jersey Department of Education: Nonpublic School Services
- New Jersey Department of Education: Frequently Asked Questions: Homeschooling
- New Jersey Department of Education: Nonpublic School Textbook Program
- New Jersey Department of Education: Auxiliary and Handicapped Services for Nonpublic Schools (Chapters 192 and 193)
- New Jersey Department of Education: Nonpublic School Health Services
- New Jersey Department of Education: New Jersey Nonpublic School Technology Initiative Program
- New Jersey Department of Education: Nonpublic School Security Aid Program
- New Jersey Legislature
Contact Information – State and Federal Departments of Education
New Jersey Department of Education
P.O. Box 500
100 Riverview Plaza
Trenton, NJ 08625-0500
Phone: (609) 292-4469
Fax: (609) 777-4099
U.S. Department of Education, New Jersey
Updated December 9, 2016