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Private School Affidavit (PSA) FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding the annual filing of the PSA with the California Department of Education (CDE).

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General PSA Questions | Filing the PSA | Updating the PSA | PSA Data Usage–Access–Privacy | PSA Status and CDE Tracking

General PSA Questions

What is the Private School Affidavit (PSA)?

The Private School Affidavit, also referred to as the R-4 Form, is a registration document that is required to be filed annually by all California private schools. By filing the Affidavit, operators of a private school report under penalty of perjury the school information required by California Education Code (EC) Section 33190[https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/psaffedcode.asp]. Please visit the Private School Affidavit Information[https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/affidavit.asp] web page for more information.

Does the CDE Approve Affidavits?

No, the PSA is a registration document only. You will receive a confirmation email once you have submitted your PSA indicating that your affidavit has been received through the online filing system. However, filing the PSA does not explicitly, nor implicitly, constitute approval, endorsement, validation, or certification by the California Department of Education (CDE). The information filed in the Affidavit is not verified by the CDE and the CDE takes no position as to its accuracy.

Filing The PSA

Who should file a Private School Affidavit?

California Education Code (EC) Section 33190[https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/psaffedcode.asp] requires every person, firm, association, partnership, or corporation offering or conducting private school instruction to file an Affidavit or statement, under penalty of perjury, containing the information specified in subsections (a)-(g) of the code section above. Further, California Education Code (EC) Section 48222 [https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/psaffedcode.asp] clarifies that the Affidavit should be filed by full time schools which “…shall offer instruction in the several branches of study required to be taught in the public schools of the state”. The branches of study required by the state are outlined in California Education Code (EC) Sections 51210 and 51220[https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/psaffedcode.asp].

Does a parent who is schooling his/her own child have to file a Private School Affidavit?

If the child is between the ages of 6 and 18 and the parent is seeking exemption from compulsory education laws under California Education Code (EC) Section 48222 [https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/psaffedcode.asp] and is offering or providing private school instruction per California Education Code (EC) Section 33190[https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/psaffedcode.asp], the parent shall file a private school affidavit. In order for the child who is being homeschooled to be exempt from compulsory education laws under California Education Code (EC) Section 48222[https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/psaffedcode.asp], the exemption shall be verified by the local public-school district.

Should a provider of tutoring services or an after-school program file the Private School Affidavit?

No. Only schools that “…offer instruction in the several branches of study required to be taught in the public schools of the state…” (California Education Code (EC) Section 48222[https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/psaffedcode.asp]) for students ages 6 to 18 should file the Affidavit. A full-time program is one that would exempt the student from attending another public or private school.

If my child is receiving instruction from a credentialed tutor or teacher, do I have to file an affidavit?

If the tutor holds a valid state credential for the grade taught and the conditions specified under California Education Code (EC) Section 48224[https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/psaffedcode.asp] are met, then no, you do not need to file an affidavit.

My child is enrolled in an online school located out of the state of California; do I need to file an affidavit?

Yes. Per California Education Code (EC) Section 33190[https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/psaffedcode.asp], every California resident person, firm, association, partnership, or corporation offering or conducting private school instruction must file an Affidavit or statement. This enables the filed affidavit as the school of record in California using the out of state online enrollment as the filed school's curriculum.

When should a school file an affidavit?

The PSA statutory filing period is October 1 through 15; however, the PSA filing system remains open throughout the school year to accommodate new schools. Schools established between July 1 and September 30, shall wait to file an affidavit until the PSA filing period begins in October.

How does one file the Private School Affidavit?

The CDE established mechanism for filing the PSA is via an online Private School Affidavit[https://www3.cde.ca.gov/psa] filing system, which allows filers to easily file electronically and receive instant confirmation. More information about the Affidavit filing process is available on the CDE Private School Affidavit Information[https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/affidavit.asp] web page.

Can I file a statement in lieu of the affidavit?

Yes. EC Section 33190 offers an option for filing a statement in lieu of the PSA. Such statements shall include all elements as noted in California Education Code (EC) Section 33190[https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/psaffedcode.asp] and shall adhere to the same filing period as the PSA, which is noted above. This option is typically used by individuals who do not have access to file online.

Updating the PSA

May one make changes to, or update the information on their filed Affidavit?

Information reported on the Affidavit shall reflect information as of the time you filed the Affidavit. If your information has changed, you may, but are not required to notify the CDE of these changes. In an effort to keep the California School Directory up-to-date, the CDE recommends schools provide updates to their affidavit in regards to changes to location and contact information. Note, a school cannot make changes to a previous (closed) year's affidavit

How do I submit changes to the information on my Affidavit?

The confirmation email that you received when you filed your Affidavit contains a link to edit your Affidavit. You may also use the CDE Retrieve/Update Current Year Affidavit[https://www3.cde.ca.gov/psa/retrieve/cyear] feature in the online PSA filing system to submit changes to your affidavit.

PSA Data Usage–Access–Privacy

How is information that is provided on the Affidavit used?

Information provided on the PSA is used for various reasons. Below are some of the most common uses of the data, that the CDE is aware of.

  • PSA information is used by the CDE to produce a directory of private schools pursuant to California Education Code (EC) Section 33190[https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/psaffedcode.asp], as well as to compile selected school information as statistical reports used by State and federal agencies.  
  • PSA information is used to provide school districts with a list of nonprofit California private schools in their area that are eligible for certain programs and services through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Title IX, Subpart 1, question/answer E-1 and E-2External link opens in new window or tab.[http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oii/nonpublic/nclbinfo.html#anchor19]). District’s then conduct consultation with eligible private schools.
  • Districts utilize the Affidavit to verify filings and validate compulsory education exemptions. Under California Education Code (EC) Section 48222[https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/psaffedcode.asp], in order for exemptions for children who meet this compulsory education exemption to be valid, school districts are required to verify that private full-time day schools, including home schools, have filed an affidavit per EC Section 33190.
  • Former private school students use the information on the Affidavit to contact the school to obtain copies of their diploma/transcripts, or other educational records.
  • Information on the Affidavit is used by the CDE to communication with private schools and provide them with information on available services, resources, or other applicable information that may benefit them.
  • Outside agencies and organizations may use statistical information to analyze trends, aggregates and create projections.
Can one obtain a copy of an Affidavit or statement filed for a particular school?

The CDE recommends that private schools filing an Affidavit retain a copy of their Affidavit for their own records. However, since Affidavits are public records, copies of Affidavits are available upon request. Copies of Affidavits may be requested by emailing the CDE private school data staff at privateschools@cde.ca.gov.

Please include the name and address of the school and the year(s) of the affidavits being requested in your request. Also include the requestor's name and telephone number, and the physical or email address to which you want the copy sent.

If I filed an Affidavit in order to homeschool my child, do I need to provide a copy to my child’s public-school district?

In order for exemptions to be valid for children who meet the compulsory education exemption under California Education Code (EC) Section 48222[https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/psaffedcode.asp], school districts are required to verify that private full-time day schools, including home schools, have filed an affidavit per California Education Code (EC) Section 33190[https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/psaffedcode.asp]. This typically involves schools/parents providing a copy of their affidavit to the public school district or public school.

What information on the Affidavit is shared with the public?

The Affidavit is a public record, therefore, all of the information, other than the security information provided at the time of filing, is available to the public. The CDE is limited to only producing public directories and data files for private schools with six or more students. Therefore, the data for private schools with fewer than six students are not made available publicly unless the CDE receives a public records request for the information. If/when information about private schools with fewer than six students are provided to the public, the address information contained on the Affidavit is redacted for privacy reasons.

PSA Status and CDE Tracking

Are all private schools that file the Private School Affidavit assigned a CDE tracking number, otherwise known as a County-District-School (CDS) code?

No. The CDS code is an administrative code assigned by the CDE for CDE tracking purposes. Only private schools that offer instruction in kindergarten through grade twelve and file an affidavit with six or more students are assigned a CDS code. Private schools with five or fewer students do not receive a CDS code unless they are a Certified Nonpublic Nonsectarian (NPS) School[https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/ds/npsacrtapp.asp]. Neither the filing of the Affidavit, nor the assignment of a CDS code, is evidence of any approval or review of the private school by the CDE.

When a private school closes, must the closure be reported to CDE?

No. A private school is only required to file an Affidavit each year of operation. They are not required to inform the CDE of their operational status. For private schools with six or more students that are assigned a CDE tracking number (CDS code), the CDE will automatically close these schools in our tracking database on June 30 if we do not receive a PSA filing from the school for the current school year.

However, if your school has a CDS code and you wish to inform the CDE of your closure prior to it being automatically closed, you may do so by notifying CDE private school data staff by email at privateschools@cde.ca.gov.

Questions:   Private School Data | privateschools@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0317
Last Reviewed: Friday, September 10, 2021
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