Frequently Asked Questions

  • Updated: January 25, 2024

    1. What New York State Education Law addresses Substantial Equivalency (SE)?

    Article 65 of the New York State Education law requires that wherever school-aged children receive instruction, that instruction must provide them with the opportunity to acquire the essential basic knowledge and skills necessary to function as citizens and members of society.  It places the primary responsibility for confirming that students attending nonpublic schools are receiving such instruction upon local school authorities.  Students in nonpublic schools are entitled to receive instruction that is at least substantially equivalent to the instruction provided in public schools.  It need not be identical to what is provided in public schools. 

    2. What are the 7 pathways established by the SE regulation to be determined Substantially Equivalent?

    1) Registered high schools and their affiliated lower grade programs;

    2) State-approved private special education schools, state-operated, or state-supported schools.

    3) Accreditation by an approved accreditor;

    4) Schools with International Baccalaureate programs;

    5) Federally approved schools;

    6) Regular use of approved assessments demonstrating academic progress;

    7) Traditional approach of Local School Authority (LSA) reviews with either LSA or Commissioner’s determination.

    3. When is the deadline for the Local School Authority (LSA) to report the chosen pathway of the non-

         public schools within their jurisdiction?


                The deadline was extended to January 15, 2024; approved accreditations and assessments have been shared. 


    4. Which pathway requires documentation with a determination date?


                If the school is looking to take Pathway #3 Accreditation, they will need to supply the LSA with a copy of the certificate or letter showing they are accredited.  Once the approved list is posted, the LSA will then see if that  accrediting agency is on the approved list.  If it is, the LSA enters the SE determination date (which is the date they deemed the school to be SE, not the accreditation date).  If the agency is not on the list, the school will need to select another pathway.

    5Has a list of approved accreditors been shared for Pathway 3?

                 Yes, NYSED has shared the New York State Currently Approved Accreditors for Substantial Equivalency Pathway 3.

    6. Has NYSED shared a list of approved assessments?

                 Approved assessments to satisfy Pathway 6 can be achieved at:

                 New York State Currently Approved State Assessments for Substantial Equivalency Pathway 6

                 NYSED plans to share additional assessments. 

    7What if my district does not have non-public schools within its jurisdiction?

                  The LSA must complete Section 3 in the Business Portal survey stating that the district does not have any non-public schools within its jurisdiction.

    8Has NYSED released guidance regarding Local Reviews if non-public schools choose this as their pathway choice?

                  NYSED plans to share guidance regarding the process for a Local Review in the upcoming months.

    9.  Who should the LSA contact if they receive complaints about a non-public school within its jurisdiction?  


    Pursuant to section 130.11 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, the Commissioner has the discretion to direct a LSA or Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to investigate a nonpublic school if the Commissioner has cause for concern regarding the substantial equivalence of instruction at such non-public school, either based on a complaint or some other source of information.

    Please use the SE Complaints form for the submission of specific complaints.

    10. Who can I contact for Substantial Equivalency Support?

                  Questions at any time may be directed to the ORISS office at  Those    

                  without access to the internet can write to or call: Office of Religious and Independent School

                  Support (ORISS) New York State Education Department Room 1074 EBA 89 Washington

                  Avenue Albany, NY 12234 Phone: (518) 473-8202




                   Nassau BOCES

                   Tammy Mazza