NLSA Update and Frequently Asked Questions in Response to COVID-19

As the COVID-19 virus continues to impact Lutheran schools, the National Lutheran School Accreditation (NLSA) national leadership team has developed both a policy and a list of Frequently Asked Questions to guide administrators and accredited schools through the coming months. Please review the entirety of the FAQ document and contact the School Ministry Office ( with further questions.

Download the NLSA Frequently Asked Questions Regarding COVID-19 (10/2020)

NLSA Application

Application Process

Please use the following application and information to begin the National Lutheran School Accreditation process. If you have questions, please contact Kristin Freeman ( in the LCMS School Ministry Office.

NLSA Application Packet
NLSA Virtual Validation Team Visit Application Form
Download the NLSA Pandemic Extension Application

NLSA Extension Process (Currently Suspended)

PLEASE NOTE: The NLSA Extension Process is currently suspended and has been replaced with the NLSA Pandemic Extension for the 2020-2021 school year. Schools intending to request an NLSA Pandemic Extension will be available to do so beginning on November 1, 2020.

INFORMATION ON NLSA EXTENSION PROCESS (CURRENTLY SUSPENDED): Schools facing extreme extenuating circumstances may request to be granted an Accreditation Extension for their NLSA application period or term of accreditation. Requests for extension must be presented in writing to the District Education Executive and include a complete description of the extreme extenuating circumstances that result in the request. Written requests must be endorsed in writing by the District Education Executive or District Accreditation Commissioner and submitted to the NLSA Director. The NLSA Executive Committee will consider all extension requests and its decision is final.

To begin the extension process, District accreditation officials will submit the school’s extension request, their endorsement of the request and a $200 check to the NLSA National office.  All Extension Applications must be submitted to the District no later than March 1 of te year of your Accreditation expiration. Extensions will be granted for a period of one year after the expiration of a school’s accreditation application. The school must continue to pay their annual fee during their extension year, and the school’s accreditation status will not lapse but will identified as “in process” with an extended application.

Co-Accrediting Agencies

NLSA is blessed to have a variety of significant partnerships with regional accrediting agencies and these partnerships allow Lutheran schools to associate with accrediting brands that add value to their school. NLSA is partnered with three great regional accrediting associations, all using different processes and protocols.

Over 100 NLSA accredited schools celebrate dual accreditation with other accrediting agencies. NLSA has been very diligent in cultivating positive relationships with these partner agencies. This has resulted in new and innovative ways to serve Lutheran schools that are associated with NLSA and COGNIA or WASC. COGNIA and WASC accreditation services are globally renown and highly respected for their quality. Recent work with both agencies to develop accreditation materials that ensure the academic quality of Lutheran Schools has allowed for the validation of the Lutheran cultural heritage and purpose. Since the majority of Lutheran schools are located in geographic regions served by these agencies, it will serve schools well to use these applications whenever necessary.

Both COGNIA and WASC conduct their accreditation processes electronically from application through the self-study process and site validation visit. When Lutheran schools desire dual accreditation, it is important to make this known to the NLSA partner agencies when applying electronically, and to NLSA by using the official application forms.

NLSA is also a recognized accrediting agency by many public and non-public accrediting groups. Check with your LCMS district office to determine if your state has recognized NLSA as a valid accrediting organization.

For more information about the benefits of dual accreditation or general information about co-accrediting partners agencies contact Kristin Freeman at