Hawaii Association of Independent Schools

Licensing FAQs

What does it mean to be a licensed school?

A licensed school has submitted all the necessary documentation to the Hawaii Council of Private schools for all nine licensing criterion and has been visited by a two-person team to validate and provide recommendations to the Hawaii Council of Private Schools on the licensing status.

Who licenses schools?

Until June 1995 private schools in Hawaii were licensed by the State Department of Education. In 1995 Act 188, which repealed laws that gave the State Department of Education responsibility for licensing private schools, was signed into law by Governor Cayetano, and a Task Force on Private School Governance was established. From this task force came the formation of Hawaii Council of Private Schools who now licenses all private schools in Hawaii pre-school through grade 12 who meet the standards established by the Council.

How does HCPS licensing impact Pre-K+Kindergarten schools?

  • Schools that have Pre-K and K programs must have their K programs licensed via HCPS or be accredited by an HCPS-recognized accrediting body, even if that school’s Department of Human Services’ (DHS) child care license covers children ages 6 and 7. These schools must still obtain or maintain DHS child care licensing for their preschool program.
  • If a school’s K program is in actuality a pre-K or junior K program (i.e. all students who graduate from the program matriculate into Kindergarten the following school year), then that program does not meet the K-12 compulsory education services requirement and thus would only need DHS licensing as a child care program.
  • Any before or after school child care programs serving students in grades K-6 must still be licensed by DHS, regardless of whether or not the school’s K program is licensed via HCPS.
Please note: Families that apply for and receive child care subsidies from DHS are not able to use the child care subsidies for any compulsory education requirements for grades K-12 during the school day hours. The following are child care subsidies offered through DHS:
  • Preschool Open Doors program, administered by PATCH for DHS; and
  • Child Care Connection HawaiĘ»i program:
    • administered by ResCare/Arbor E&T for non-TANF families; or
    • administered by Goodwill or DHS BESSD First-To-Work offices statewide for TANF families.

How does licensing impact Kipona Scholarships?

Please direct all questions related to Kipona Scholarships to Ms. Brandy Allen (brallen@ksbe.edu, 808-534-8095) Outreach Support Services at Kamehameha Schools.

For more information on what the HCPS license really means please read here:


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