American School

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Basic Information

Phone Number: 708-418-2800
Fax Number: 708-418-2180

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Additional Information

Founder/President/Principal: R.T. Miller, Founder; Valerie J. Riley, President
School Type: Distance Learning, Online, Paper-Based
Founded: 1897
Ages/Grades: All ages are accepted for courses in grades 6-12
School Size: 20,000 students

American School’s full high school diploma program consisting of 20 units of credit (4 years) for students in grades 9-12 costs $4000. American School’s full middle school program consisting of 15 units of credit (3 years) for students in grades 6-8 costs $3000. Pro-rated pricing is available for students who need fewer than the full number of credits to graduate. Individual subjects for credit recovery or enrichment also are available for purchase at a cost of $175-$425 per credit. The cost of tuition includes study materials, grading of exams, and access to the Online Student Center, where students and parents can view academic records and access assistance around the clock.

Financial Aid:

As a non-profit institution, American School is not able to offer financial aid. American School does, however, offer an affordable monthly payment plan starting at $150 a month for students in full-year and full diploma programs. American School also offers post-secondary scholarships to deserving graduates who wish to continue their educations at an accredited college or university.


American School is proud to offer a large selection of high school and middle school courses for continuing education. Online and paper-based courses are available in traditional subjects like English, math, science and social studies as well as elective subjects like business, career and technical education, fine arts and world languages. American School also offers AP courses for high school students.


American School’s innovative curriculum is available in print and online, ensuring that students learn in the method that is most comfortable to them. American School offers a General High School Program to prepare high school students for the workforce or community college and a College Preparatory Program to prepare high school students to attend a four-year university. American School’s curriculum features materials written to standards by leading curriculum providers, including Edmentum and Rosetta Stone for online courses. This ensures that students receive high-quality education throughout their time with American School.

Support Services:

American School maintains a student service staff and a student accounts staff who are available to assist students with various concerns. American School’s policy is to reply to all emails within one business day and is available to assist students over the phone during business hours.

System Requirements:

There are no system requirements for paper-based courses. Visit to learn more about the technical requirements for our ever-expanding online learning offerings.

Mission Statement:

The American School, a not for profit distance learning institution utilizing various distance education methods, is dedicated to providing quality instruction at a reasonable cost to those students who are seeking an alternative means of attaining their education.

School History:

American School is one of the oldest and largest distance education institutions in the world. American School has called the Chicago area home for much of its existence but was founded in Boston in 1897 by R.T. Miller and a group of graduates and faculty members from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. By 1900, students had enrolled from all over the United States, and two years later, the Armour Institute (now the Illinois Institute of Technology) invited American School to move to Chicago to conduct a five-year educational experiment. During that time, American School added several more courses and eventually moved to a new location in the Hyde Park neighborhood near the University of Chicago. American School stayed in that location until 1996, when it moved to its current location in Lansing, Illinois, a far south suburb of Chicago.
In its history, American School has helped more than three million students earn their high school diplomas. Several students have become famous in entertainment, sports, the arts and the business world. They include actress Jessica Alba, tennis legend Andre Agassi, basketball player Wilson Chandler, singer Tiffany Evans, singers the Everly Brothers, baseball legend Bob Feller, tennis star Anna Kournikova, Rhodes Scholar Robert Morstein-Marx, entertainers Donny and Marie Osmond and the Osmond Brothers, author Christopher Paolini, motorsports star Travis Pastrana, tennis champion Mary Pierce, Pulitzer Prize winner Shulamit Ran, Grammy award-winning singer Selena, members of the Flying Wallenda circus family, artist Jamie Wyeth and many more.


"I really liked taking this class at home. I felt like I had more help, even though I didn’t need it. I liked getting comments like 'Good job, Katie' on my exams. You don’t realize how much better you feel, like you did well at something you worked hard on. Thanks for everything!"
Katie from Illinois
"The study guides were excellent. If it wasn’t for them, I would not have done as well as I have. I am very grateful this service is available for students who need the extra credits. I appreciate the American School for being there for me!"
Brittany from Illinois
"All of the services given were very much appreciated. I really enjoyed these courses. They taught me things that will be very helpful in the future. My future careers are a Ph.D. in psychology and a J.D. in law."
Brett from Ohio
"Even though I had other things on the stove, I still had time to do my American School studies. There was no pressure to say this assignment was due the next day or something like that. It’s independent study, and the study guides let me know what to complete. I want to thank the instructors for their feedback. They helped me out, and when I had to take the final exam, I used the information they gave me on my corrected exams to help me do well on the final."
Jeffrey from Michigan
"I’m a night person, so I do better later in the day. I like that I can study and do my work at night. During the day I can hang out with my friends. I’m in charge of my own schedule and I love it!"
Sarah from California

Notes/School Information:

Is American School accredited?
American School is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS), Accreditation International (Ai) and the National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA).  American School is also recognized as a non-public secondary school by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).  Visit our accreditation page for more information.

How old do I have to be to enroll?
There is no minimum or maximum age to enroll.  Students planning to enroll in middle school courses must have an enrollment application or notarized letter signed by a parent or guarantor stating they are ready to begin sixth grade courses.  Students planning to enroll in high school courses must have an enrollment application or notarized letter signed by a parent or guarantor before enrolling in ninth grade courses.

How soon after I enroll can I start my courses?
Enrollment applications are not processed immediately and students do not receive instant access to their courses.  Typically enrollment applications take 2-3 business days to process and students should receive course materials within approximately one week of enrolling.

Will I get credit for the work that I have completed at another high school?
American School accept most credits from other accredited schools.  The exceptions are religion, physical education, band, choir, driver’s education and ROTC.  To begin the transcript evaluation process, please have an official transcript sent to our Registrar’s Office by email or through postal mail to 2200 East 170th Street, Lansing, IL  60438.  There is a $25 transcript evaluation fee that will count toward your tuition should you choose to enroll with American School.

Does American School accept homeschooling credit?
If you have been home schooled or attended a non-accredited school, you may be eligible to establish up to 5 units of credit by successfully passing (with a grade of 75% or better) comprehensive examinations offered by American School. There is a $50 non-refundable fee for each comprehensive examination, and you must be enrolled for at least 10 units of credit from American School to be eligible to take comprehensive examinations.  Please note that the American School does not provide review materials for comprehensive examinations.  We do not send comprehensive examinations to students who have already received American School materials for the subject(s), nor to students whose sibling(s) or family members have received American School materials for that subject.  Students enrolled in supervised or tutorial programs are not eligible to receive comprehensive examinations.  Contact our Principal’s Office for more information or if you wish to take these comprehensive examinations.

How does American School work?
For most paper-based courses, students are sent a textbook and study guide.  The textbook is often produced by a major textbook publisher, but some are custom-published exclusively for American School.  The study guide contains unit discussions, self-check tests and the unit examinations which the students will complete and send to the School for grading.  For other print-based courses, students are sent a textbook and examination booklet.  In these courses, the textbook contains unit discussions and self-check tests, and the examination booklet contains the unit examinations which the students will complete and send to American School for grading.  Students may start working the moment they receive their study materials in the mail, and they work entirely at their own pace throughout the duration of their program.  Please note that policies and procedures for our online courses are slightly different.  Refer to our Online Learning page for more information.

Does American School offer GED courses?

What is American School’s academic integrity policy (honor system)?
American School students are expected to follow the honor system.  Under the honor system, it is permissible to benefit from the exchange of ideas with other students, friends or family members and to use your textbook, study guide and other resources while you work on your courses and complete your exams, but any work on examinations is expected to be your own thoughts and ideas.  Your examinations must show what you have learned.  You may not represent someone else’s work as your own.
If you do not adhere to the honor system, you should expect disciplinary action, which may include retaking an examination or dropping a subject for another.  Repeated violations may result in your dismissal from American School or an invalidation of any examination grades.
All materials printed by American School are copyrighted.  Supplying copies of questions and answers to other people is a violation of federal laws forbidding infringement of copyright and may be prosecuted thereunder.  Therefore, you may not provide answers on examinations to other people, whether they are students of American School or not.

What is American School’s grading scale?
For students in the General High School program and the College Preparatory program, our grading scale is:
A: 93-100
B: 85-92
C: 76-84
D: 65-75
Partial: Below 65
I: Incomplete

Who is considered a full-time student?
To achieve full-time enrollment status, a student must complete at least 5 Carnegie units of credit a year and have submitted work consistently during at least nine months of the year.  If achieved, American School will verify a student’s full-time enrollment status for federal and state programs, medical insurance, child support agencies, Social Security Administration, and/or any other program requiring such verification, if requested.  If a student has fallen below this standard, the student must submit work consistently for three consecutive months before American School will verify full-time enrollment status. 

What are the graduation requirements?
American School offers two high school diploma programs – the General High School Program and the College Preparatory Program.  In each program the student is required to complete 20 units of credit.  At least 5 credits must be completed with American School to receive our diploma.  Specific graduation requirements are listed on high school diploma program enrollment applications.

How long do I have to complete my course(s)?
In general, students in either of our diploma programs have 4 years to complete their entire 20-unit program. Students in our Independent Study program or who take individual courses for enrichment have 1 year from the date of enrollment to complete their paper-based courses, 6 months from the date of enrollment to complete a half-unit online course and 1 year from the date of enrollment to complete a full-unit online course.  Regardless of your program, you can work at your own pace and may be able to finish in less than the maximum completion time.

Can I go to college with an American School diploma?
Many American School graduates go on to college after completing our college preparatory course.  They are usually admitted – as are students from any high school – on the basis of their scores on tests such as the SAT or the ACT and their grades with American School.  Some states, such as New York, however, have public universities which will not accept students holding a distance education diploma, and these public universities will require such students to take the GED, TASC or another high school equivalency exam to gain admission.  We suggest that you review the admissions standards with the college of your choice prior to enrolling and contact our Guidance Department if you have questions or need further assistance.  you are interested in attending an accredited online college or university, please visit for a list of accredited online colleges and universities.

May credits earned for American School courses be used for NCAA initial eligibility to participate in college sports?
At this time, American School courses may not be used to meet the NCAA core course requirements for initial eligibility for Division I or Division II sports or for NJCAA and NAIA purposes.  This decision was not based on the content of our courses but, rather, on issues involving course structure and interaction with students in “nontraditional” courses.  American School believes students should have the ability to work at their own pace, while the NCAA prefers students take courses which are teacher-driven and stick to a more strict schedule.  You should not apply to take our courses if you plan on playing sports for a school affiliated with the organizations listed above.

What is American School’s position on the Common Core State Standards Initiative?
American School, a not for profit distance learning institution utilizing the home study method, is dedicated to providing quality secondary instruction at a reasonable cost to those students who are seeking an alternative means of completing their high school education.  We fulfill our mission, in part, informed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative, but we are not bound by those standards.  Common Core State Standards are simply learning goals and are not a curriculum. They do not dictate instructional methodologies or paper-based or online materials used within subjects.  Rather, Common Core State Standards establish clear and measurable goals for what students should know, understand and be able to accomplish at the end of a course or grade.  American School reaffirms its commitment to allowing students to study at their own pace and to utilize, as they see fit, the paper-based or online study materials given to them so that they may reach or exceed any goal that is placed before them.

After I enroll can I transfer from one high school program to another?
Students may make one transfer between high school programs at no additional charge unless they need to add additional units to meet the specific requirements of the program into which they are transferring.  That is, a student in the General High School program may transfer into the College Preparatory High School program or vice versa with no charge for making the transfer itself.  For any subsequent transfer between the two programs, there is a charge of $50 to help cover our administrative costs in changing a student’s program.

Can I take more subjects than I am required to take for graduation?
Students may add additional units to their program of study beyond what they are required to take for graduation at the prevailing rate for taking individual subjects with the School. 

What if I just want to take individual subjects with American School?
Students may enroll in individual subjects for credit recovery or enrichment.

Can I enroll in American School if I reside outside the United States?
American School welcomes students from outside the United States.  International students who have taken high school courses overseas and wish to transfer high school credit to us should have their transcripts evaluated by NACES and have the evaluations sent to us.  All American School students outside the United States must take online courses only unless they have a shipping address within the United States.  This is due to the rising cost of shipping and delays in customs.

What is American School’s cancellation or refund policy?
American School’s cancellation or refund policy is clearly stated on every enrollment application.