Frequently Asked Questions About The IB
For Parents and Students
- What is the International Baccalaureate?
- How many schools offer IB programs?
- How do I find a school that offers an IB program?
- Are IB programs only for honors or gifted students?
- Can any student enroll in an IB program?
- Can I use the IB program to home school my child?
- Can students with special needs participate in an IB program?
- We have heard that IB programs are elitist and serve only a
privileged population. Is this true?
- How much do IB programs cost?
- How can I get more information about IB in North America?
The International Baccalaureate (IB) is an independent
nonprofit educational foundation based in Geneva, Switzerland. It offers three programs:
the Diploma Programme in the final two years of
the secondary school, the Middle Years Programme for students aged 11 to
16, and the Primary Years Programme for students aged 3 to 12.
International Baccalaureate North America was founded 30 years ago
as a nonprofit organization with the mission of providing support services to
schools adopting the IB Diploma Programme in Canada, the US and the
There are nearly 2,087 schools in 124 countries authorized to offer IB programs (Diploma Programme, Middle Years Programme, Primary Years
To find the nearest IB World School, visit the IB website at
www.ibo.org and select “schools” from the SHORTCUTS menu. There you
may search for IB World Schools near you using the “schools directory”.
You may also search for IB World Schools in the USA, Canada, and the
Caribbean on the IB North America Regional Association webpage.
No. The IB permits IB World Schools to implement their programs
in ways that will best meet their local needs. This means that one will see
a wide variety of student enrollment patterns in IB programs across
This variety is particularly apparent in the IB Diploma Programme. Many
schools see the IB Diploma as a way to address the needs of gifted and
honors students; these schools tend to have selection criteria (such as grade
point average, standardized test scores, teacher recommendations, essays,
etc.) for admission to their IB Diploma Programmes. Other schools allow any
willing student to attempt the IB Diploma Programme and often provide
specific services to support these students in their efforts.
Although the IB Diploma Programme and the IB Middle Years Programme are
occasionally implemented by schools as a programme for a select group of
students, the IB Primary Years Programme is expressly designed for every
student on campus, using what is referred to as a “whole-school” approach.
Please contact your local IB World School for information on admission
into IB programs.
Only students enrolled in and attending an IB World School may
participate in an IB program. In addition, schools and school districts
may set their own entry requirements for students. Parents and students
are encouraged to contact their local IB school and talk with the IB
program coordinator to learn about how to enroll in an IB program.
No. The IB permits only students enrolled in and attending IB World Schools to
participate in an IB program.
Yes. The IB has established policies for accommodating students with
special needs. A publication detailing these policies is available here. You can
also search on the website using the keywords ‘special assessment needs’. Schools
are asked to notify the IB of participating students whom they have identified as having
No. At its inception, the IB Diploma Programme was generally found in
private, international schools that tended to serve privileged families.
Nevertheless, the IB has always been committed to making an IB education
available to students from all types of backgrounds. This is particularly true
in North America, where a majority of schools offering the IB are public
(state-funded) schools. These are schools of all types – urban, suburban,
magnet, comprehensive, and mixed socio-economic populations – and their
IB programmes serve all types of students.
The costs vary depending on which IB program is being offered and how
many students are involved. Each of the IB Programs has an annual
subscription fee that schools must pay. For the IB Primary Years Programme
and the IB Middle Years Programme, there are rarely any fees passed on to
The IB Diploma Programme has course registration and examination fees.
School or school district policy will determine if the school covers all these
fees or if any of the fees must be shared by participating students. For more
detailed information on fees, please contact the IB North America office at the
coordinates listed at the end of this FAQ.
For additional information, or if you have any suggestions or comments
about the questions and answers that appear here, please contact the IB North
America office in New York (+1-212-696-4464) or Vancouver (+1-604-733-8980, or toll
free at +1-866-VAN-IBNA), or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.