Merit Earns Accreditation from Accrediting Commission for Community and Precollegiate Arts Schools

Chicago’s Merit School of Music announced today it has earned accreditation from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Precollegiate Art Schools (ACCPAS), the community arts education accrediting organization in the U.S.

ACCPAS was established by the Council of Arts Accrediting Associations to review and accredit schools and programs across the nation that provide non-degree instruction in the arts disciplines to children, youth, and adults. Merit pursued ACCPAS accreditation over the past three years through a rigorous and comprehensive review process, which included site visits by ACCPAS visiting evaluators.

“Seeking accreditation provided a powerful framework for the entire Merit community to take an in-depth look at our continuum of music education programs,” said Charles Grode, Merit’s President and Executive Director. “Accreditation acknowledges the sequential, comprehensive and high quality programming that Merit offers by removing barriers to participation for young people from traditionally underrepresented communities. It is also a mark of the dedication of our staff, faculty, parents, students, funders and donors, and we are delighted to have achieved it. We look forward to participating in ACCPAS’s ongoing evaluation process as we start to approach the school’s 40th anniversary in 2019.”

Merit joins a list of only 17 other community music schools nationwide that have earned ACCPAS accreditation. For more information about ACCPAS, visit

Special thanks to all current and past staff members who contributed so much time and effort to this process.


About Merit School of Music

Merit School of Music is a nationally regarded music school located in Chicago’s Near West Side. For 37 years, it’s been home to a diverse community of talented young musicians and a springboard for personal transformations. Known for providing access to high-quality music education, Merit serves over 4,000 students on site and off.


Merit offers a continuum of programs, including early childhood classes, instrumental music and voice instruction and private lessons. Training takes place at Merit’s Joy Faith Knapp Music Center and within local schools through the unique Bridges: Partners in Music program. Offered at 30 sites across Chicagoland, Bridges allows students to gain instruction with Merit’s experienced, professional educators—all within the convenience of their own school setting.

More advanced student musicians can audition for the highest-level program, Merit’s Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory. Conservatory students are among the elite young musicians in the city and represent an economically and ethnically diverse cross section of the Chicago area. Students are only accepted by audition and receive college preparatory level training tuition free. Nearly 100% of the conservatory’s graduating seniors are accepted into college, and most continue their music studies at top colleges, universities and music conservatories.

Merit is devoted to giving students—especially those living in economically disadvantaged communities—the opportunity to grow through music. It provides financial support through program subsidies, need-based tuition relief, low-cost instrument rental, and music supplies so that motivated students can participate in every program regardless of economic circumstance. More than half of Merit’s budget is allocated to financial aid and scholarships, with 75% of its students receiving assistance. The school is committed to musical excellence, giving youth the tools to grow, develop personal talents and discover success; no matter what path they take in life.

To learn more about Merit’s music education programs, visit or call 312.786.9428.

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