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Religious and Independent High School Registration

High school Registration is a process that eligible high schools complete with the New York State Office of Religious and Independent Schools (ORISS) to allow them the privilege to issue valid New York State diplomas and administer Regents examinations. Schools are registered through the University of the State of New York and must be approved by the Board of Regents.

Eligible religious and independent high schools must either serve grades 9 to 11 with students anticipated to be graduating in grade 11 or serve students in grades 9 through 12. It must also have had a class of students which started at the school in grade 9 and who have been continually enrolled at the school through their graduating year.

Registration Process

To apply for registration, a school will need to:

  1. Complete and submit the Application for Independent and Religious Secondary School Registration by the March 1st due date.
  2. Work with ORISS to schedule and conduct a site visit to the school. During the site visit, ORISS staff will tour the school, observe instruction, meet with administrative staff, discuss the school’s application, and provide technical assistance, as needed.
  3. Follow-up on any requests for more information.

Once ORISS has completed the site visit and reviewed all of the information and documentation from the school, it will notify the school of its registration status by email and/or regular mail.

Schools receiving pending or full registration status will be able to request New York State diplomas starting in the year in which it receives its status.* Certificates for fully registered schools will be mailed to the school.


Two types of registration status may be issued – pending or full:

  1. Pending Registration Status – When a school receives a “pending” registration status, it means there is one or more items that the school is continuing to work on to receive full registration status. The school will be provided with a letter from ORISS, outlining the areas the school needs to make changes to and a deadline by which it needs to do so.

    During this time:

    • The school should be working toward fulfilling the requirements needed to obtain full registration status.
    • ORISS will provide technical assistance, guidance, and direction towards resources, as requested by the school, to help it work towards achieving full registration status.
    • The school may continue to administer State exams and issue valid NYS diplomas (Regents or Local) to students who have met all of the criteria for graduation.
  2. Full Registration Status – A school receiving full “registered” status will be able to issue valid NYS diplomas (Regents or Local) as of the date of the letter notifying the school of its full registration status.

*Please note: Diplomas may not be given out retroactively to previous years. Diplomas may only be issued to students who meet the requirements set forth in CR §100.5.

It is recommended that your school visit the New York State Education Department’s website at least annually to review any updates on graduation requirements, school safety laws, health services and/or immunization requirements, funding opportunities, and any additional relevant laws and regulations. Below are Department resources that may assist you in your review.