Open enrollment policies allow a student to transfer to a public school of his or her choice. There are two basic types of open enrollment policies.
Depending on the state, open-enrollment policies are mandatory, voluntary, or both.
|Does the state have open enrollment programs?|
|Alabama||No. However, there are open enrollment provisions specific to charter schools.|
Citations: Ala. Code § 16-6F-5
|Alaska||Yes, mandatory intradistrict for students attending a school designated as persistently dangerous.|
Citations: Alaska Admin. Code tit. 4, § 06.210, § 06.240
|Arizona||Yes, mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict. School districts must establish open enrollment policies, including admission criteria, application procedures, and transportation provisions. School districts may enter into voluntary agreements with other school districts for tuition payments for certain students.|
Citations: Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-816 and § 15-816.01
|Arkansas||Yes, mandatory interdistrict, with some limitations; mandatory interdistrict for students attending a school districts classified as being in facilities distress. |
Students may apply to transfer to a school in any school district. Each school year sending school districts are subject to a limit on the number of school choice transfers they may allow. The limit is 3% of the previous school year's enrollment, minus any school choice transfers into the district. A 2018 bill passed by the Arkansas legislature allows school districts to exceed this limit for sibling groups. Students transferred out of a district in facilities distress and foster students are not included in the cap. Students denied a transfer may request a hearing with the state board. Districts must adopt standards for accepting or rejecting applications, which may include lack of capacity of a program, class, grade level or building. Students may only have one open-enrollment transfer per school year but may return to their resident school district or enroll in private or home school during the school year.
Students attending a school district classified as in need of Level 5 - Intensive Support may transfer to another school district without a Level 5 - Intensive Support classification.
Citations: Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-227; § 6-18-1901 to § 6-18-1908; § 6-15-2915; § 6-21-812
Senate Bill 3 (2018)
Yes, voluntary intradistrict and interdistrict; mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict under the Open Enrollment Act for students attending low-performing schools and/or districts.
Mandatory: The State Superintendent of Public Instruction must create an annual list of 1,000 low-performing schools, and no more than 10% of a district's schools may be on the list. Parents of students in one of these schools may apply to transfer to higher performing school in the district or in another district. A receiving district may adopt standards for acceptance and rejection of applications, which may include program, class, grade level, building capacity, or adverse financial impact.
Citations: Cal. Educ. Code § 46600, § 48300 to § 48317, § 48350 to § 48361
|Colorado||Yes, mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict.|
The receiving district may deny enrollment for the following reasons: lack of space or teaching staff; program requested is not offered; lacks capacity to meet special needs; student does not meet eligibility criteria for participating in a particular program; denial necessary to maintain desegregation plan compliance; student has been expelled for specific reasons.
Citations: Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-36-101 and § 22-36-106
|Connecticut||Yes, voluntary intradistrict and voluntary and mandatory interdistrict. Interdistrict programs are required in four cities and optional in priority school districts.|
Citations: Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 10-221e, § 10-226h, § 10-266aa
|Delaware||Yes, mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict. School districts may deny student enrollment for "lack of capacity," defined as projected enrollment school enrollment at 85% of capacity.|
Citations: Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 401 to § 414
|District of Columbia||Yes, voluntary intradistrict. Students may apply for a transfer under circumstances, based on enrollment priorities. Transfers are approved by the Chancellor.|
Citations: D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 5-E, § 2106
|Florida||Yes, mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict. School districts and charter schools must enroll any student subject to capacity, and must identify school capacity determinations on their websites.|
Citations: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.31
|Georgia||Yes, mandatory intradistrict if space is available; voluntary interdistrict if the sending district does not have space or if the student lives closer to a school in the receiving district. Additionally, school districts may enter into a transfer contract with another district.
Citations: Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-293, § 20-2-294, § 20-2-2130, § 20-2-2131
Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 160-5-4-.09
|Hawaii||Yes, voluntary intradistrict (interdistrict is unavailable because Hawaii only has one school district). Open enrollment is allowed when mandated by the Department of Education or federal law. Other transfer requests are granted at the discretion of the Department of Education. Transferring students must provide a certificate of release from the sending school.|
Citations: Haw. Rev. Stat. § 302A-1143, § 302A-1145
|Idaho||Yes, mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict, with some limitations. School boards may create written agreements for transferring students between districts. Students must apply annually to attend or continue attending the receiving school.|
A receiving school district is not required to admit a transfer student if the transfer would be a hardship for the receiving district, as defined by district policy. Local school boards must adopt policies defining specific standards for accepting or rejecting transfer students from other districts. Standards may include the capacity of a program, class, grade level or school building to accept transfer students but may not include previous academic achievement, athletic ability, proficiency in English language, or disabling conditions.
Citations: Idaho Code Ann. § 33-1401 through § 33-1408
|Illinois||Yes, mandatory intradistrict but only at the request of a parent and in certain circumstances. School districts must have a policy governing transfers of students to another school within the district at the request of the student's parent or guardian. However, there are statutory limits on which schools a student may transfer to, including schools where the transfer to exceed capacity, schools with academic criteria (unless the students meet the criteria) or transfers that would interfere with existing law, consent decrees or court orders. In addition, each school district must have a policy governing the transfer to students from a persistently dangerous school. |
Citations: 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/10-21.3a
|Indiana||Yes, voluntary interdistrict; mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict within Indianapolis city schools.|
Voluntary: Parents may request, in writing, to transfer the student to another school district in the state if the student can be better accommodated because of crowded conditions, curriculum offerings, for medical reasons, or if the student's school is not fully accredited. Districts may have a policy for accepting or rejecting open enrollment students, and receiving districts may accept transfer students without the approval of the sending district. A receiving districts may require transfer students to pay tuition as a condition of the transfer.
School districts may accept transfer students from outside of the district to attend alternative education programs.
Districts without a policy for accepting or rejecting transfer applications are required to establish and publish the number of transfer students it will accept. However, districts without an interdistrict open enrollment policy must accept transferring students if the students meet certain criteria.
Mandatory: Indianapolis city schools must allow intradistrict transfers. The school board must establish priorities for student assignment. Student assignments are made if space is available.
Citations: Ind. Code Ann. § 20-25-7-1, § 20-25-7-2, § 20-26-11-1 through § 20-26-11-32
511 Ind. Admin. Code 1-6-1 through 1-6-5
|Iowa||Yes, mandatory interdistrict with some limitations. Parents may request open enrollment to another district and may request a preferred school within that district, but the receiving district has authority to determine what school the child will attend.|
Districts may opt out because of space availability and districts must have a policy defining "insufficient classroom space." Districts that cannot grant open enrollment requests must create a waiting list. District policies for accepting or denying transfers may include multiple components, such as the availability of instructional staff, student-teacher ratios, finances, and board-adopted district goals and objectives.
Citations: Iowa Code Ann. § 282.18
Iowa Admin. Code r. 281-17.6 through r. 281-17.14
|Kansas||Yes, voluntary interdistrict. Boards of education may create agreements to allow transfers between districts.|
Citations: Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-13, 101
|Kentucky||Yes, mandatory intradistrict, voluntary interdistrict.|
Intradistrict: Parents must be allowed to send students to the public school nearest their home within their school district attendance area.
Interdistrict: School districts may enter into a written agreement with other districts to allow students to attend school in a nonresident district.
Citations: Ky. Rev. Stat. § 157.350, § 159.070
|Louisiana||Yes, voluntary interdistrict; mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict in some circumstances; mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict for low-performing schools and schools in the Recovery School District.|
Voluntary: School boards may enter into an agreement to allow students to transfer to a school in a neighboring parish.
Citations: La. Rev. Stat. § 17:10.7, § 17:105, § 17:105.1, § 17:4035, § 17:4035.1
28 La. Admin. Code Pt. LXXXIII, 2501 through 2505, 1603(B); 28 La. Admin. Code Pt CXLV, 502; 28 La. Admin. Code Pt. CXV, 343 and 1303
|Maine||Yes, voluntary intradistrict and interdistrict. Students may attend another school with permission from the receiving school, and school districts may adopt mutual policies allowing students to transfer between the districts. Students living far from their assigned school may attend school in an adjoining district with permission from both districts. Students in districts without an elementary school or in districts with 10 or fewer students may attend school in another district.|
Citations: Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 20-A-2702, § 20-A-5203, § 20-A-5204, § 20-5205
|Massachusetts||Yes, voluntary interdistrict and intradistrict. School committees may establish terms with other school committees to accept nonresident students from the public schools of the other town.|
Citations: Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. 76 § 12, § 12A, § 12B
|Michigan||Yes, mandatory intradistrict for low-performing schools; voluntary intradistrict and interdistrict at the intermediate district level. |
Mandatory: Students attending a school that has been unaccredited for three consecutive years must be allowed to attend another school within the school district.
Voluntary: Intermediate districts may allow students to attend other school districts within the intermediate district or may accept transfer students residing in a contiguous intermediate district. Receiving school districts may make determinations about the grades, schools and special programs for which open enrollment is available. The receiving school district may limit the number of nonresident students it accepts in a grade, school or program.
Citations: Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 380.1280, § 388.1705, § 388.1705c
|Minnesota||Yes, mandatory interdistrict.|
Receiving school districts may limit enrollment of nonresident students and must adopt standards for accepting or rejecting applications.
Citations: Minn. Stat. Ann. § 124D.03, § 124D.08
|Mississippi||Yes, voluntary interdistrict if both districts consent; mandatory interdistrict for students residing more than 30 miles away from their assigned school. The school boards of sending and receiving districts must enter into an agreement.|
Citations: Miss. Code Ann. § 37-15-31
|Missouri||Yes, voluntary interdistrict; mandatory interdistrict for unaccredited schools or districts.|
Voluntary: School boards may enter into transfer agreements. If a student's location of residence creates an unsual or unreasonable transportation hardship due to natural barriers, travel time, or distance, the commissioner of education may allow the student to attend another district. Receiving districts may set enrollment capacity limits by grade level, school building, and education program. They may also deny a transfer application if the student lives more than 10 miles from the receiving district or if the location of the student's assigned school is closer than the school the student would be attending in the receiving district.
The Metropolitan Schools Achieving Value in Transfer Corporation is a voluntary school transfer program in for school districts in St. Louis that allows students to transfer to other schools in participating districts. The program is headed by a board of directors.
Mandatory: Students assigned to an unaccredited school must be allowed to attend an accredited school in another district in the same or an adjoining county.
Citations: Mo. Ann. Stat. § 162.1040 through § 162.1060, § 167.131
|Montana||Yes, voluntary intradistrict and interdistrict; mandatory interdistrict for geographic access or other issues.|
Voluntary: Sending and receiving districts enter into an attendance agreement that sets forth financial obligations, if any, for tuition and for costs incurred for transportation. Receiving districts may reject an out-of-district attendance agreement if the school's accreditation would be adversely affected by the transfer because of insufficient room, although this does not apply to students with disabilities who live in the district.
Mandatory: Interdistrict open enrollment is mandatory when one of the following applies:
Citations: Mont. Code Ann. § 20-5-320, § 20-5-321
|Nebraska||Yes, mandatory intradistrict, with some limitations; mandatory interdistrict. |
Districts are required to adopt standards for acceptance and rejection of open enrollment option applications. Standards may include the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or school building or the availability of appropriate special education programs.
Open enrollment transfers are available among districts in a learning community (a partnership between multiple districts). Member districts must annually establish and report a maximum capacity for each building, and provide a copy of the standards for acceptance or rejection plus transportation policies to the learning community council.
Denial of a student's open enrollment application may be appealed to the state board of education.
Citations: Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-215, § 79-232 through § 79-246, § 79-611, § 79-2110, § 79-2110.01
|Nevada||Yes, voluntary interdistrict in limited circumstances. Receiving school districts may admit students living in an adjoining school district. In addition, a student who resides on an Indian reservation located in two or more counties must be allowed to attend the school nearest to his or her residence, regardless of the student's resident school district.|
State law also provides a program of school choice for children in foster care.
Citations: Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 392.010, § 392.015, § 388E.010 through § 388E.150
Also see: A.B. 491 (2017)
|New Hampshire||Yes, voluntary interdistrict and intradistrict. |
Any school district governing body may designate one or more of its schools as an open enrollment school. School districts must create limits on the number of its resident students that may attend open-enrollment schools inside and outside of the district. Schools may set enrollment limits, including limiting enrollment in specific programs and may select students on basis of aptitude, academic achievement or need.
Citations: N.H. Rev. Stat. § 194-D:1 through § 194-D:7
|New Jersey||Yes, voluntary interdistrict.|
Under the state's interdistrict public school choice program, school districts may apply to the Commissioner of Education to participate as a choice districts. Applications are evaluated by various criteria, such as the fiscal impact on the school district and the impact on student diversity in the district, among others. Receiving districts admit students if space is available. A sending district may restrict the number of students who transfer to another district to a maximum of 10% of students per grade level per year and 15% of total enrolled students per year.
To participate, students must have attended school in the sending district for at least one full year immediately preceding enrollment in the receiving district. However, this requirement is not applicable to prekindergarten or kindergarten students and may be waived if a receiving district does not fill all available transfer spaces.
Citations: N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A:36B-14 through § 18A:36B-21
N.J. Admin. Code § 6A:12-1.1 through § 6A:12-9.1
|New Mexico||Yes, voluntary intradistrict and interdistrict; mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict for students in low-performing schools. Boards of receiving school districts may admit non-resident students if space is available. Students attending a low-performing school must be allowed to transfer to another school in the state.|
Citations: N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-1-4, § 22-12-5, § 22-2E-2
N.M. Admin Code. 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124
|New York||Yes, through the voluntary interdistrict "urban-suburban transfer program" which was designed to reduce racial isolation by allowing minority students to transfer in and out of participating urban and suburban school districts. Participating districts must provide policies about student participation for transferring students. Private school students must have an opportunity to participate in the program.|
Citations: N.Y. Educ. Law § 3602(15); N.Y. Comp. R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 175.24
|North Dakota||Yes, voluntary interdistrict.|
School boards may decide to participate in open enrollment. Parents must apply to the school board of the receiving school district. The board of each participating district must set standards for accepting or rejecting applications, which may address program, class, grade level, or building capacity. Standards may not address academic achievement, participation in extracurricular activities, English language proficiency, disabilities, or previous disciplinary actions.
Parents may apply for an interdistrict transfer at any time for the following reasons:
Citations: N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-31-01 through § 15.1-31.08
|Ohio||Yes, voluntary interdistrict; mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict for students attending an alternative school.|
Voluntary: The boards of all school districts must pass policies denying or allowing enrollment by students from adjacent school districts or any school district. Participating receiving districts must have policies and procedures for admitting students, including district capacity limits by grade level, school building, and education program.
Mandatory: The boards of all school districts must have interdistrict and intradistrict open enrollment programs allowing students to enroll in an alternative school in the same district or another school district. The board of education for each school district must have open enrollment policies for students enrolling in an alternative school, including application procedures and district capacity limits by grade level, school building, and education program.
Citations: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3313.97, § 3313.98
Ohio Admin. Code 3301-48-01, 3301-48-02
|Oklahoma||Yes, voluntary interdistrict; mandatory interdistrict for children of active-duty military personnel who meet specific criteria.|
Students may transfer to other districts with the approval of the receiving district's board of education, and boards must automatically approve transfers for students seeking to enroll in a grade not offered by the sending district. Participating school districts must create policies for accepting or rejecting transfer applications, including criteria about the availability of programs, staff, or space. School districts must have policies for transfers of students that are children of active-duty military.
Citations: Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, § 8-101.1 through § 8-113
Okla. Admin. Code 210:10-1-18
|Oregon||Yes, voluntary interdistrict. Districts may enter into agreements with each other for open enrollment transfers.|
Citations: Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 339.125 through § 339.128, § 339.133
Or. Admin. R. 581-021-0019
|Pennsylvania||Yes, voluntary interdistrict.|
Citations: Pa. Stat. Ann. tit. 24, § 13-1316
|Rhode Island||Yes, voluntary interdistrict and intradistrict. School committees may arrange student transfers with the school committees in an adjoining community.|
Citations: R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 16-2-19
|South Carolina||Yes, voluntary interdistrict. When students live closer to a school in an adjacent district or county, school officials from the sending and receiving districts may make arrangements for the students to transfer to the closer school. If a school district refuses to accept a reasonable transfer, the county board of education in which the districts are located have the right to hold a hearing and approve the transfer, on certain conditions. |
Citations: S.C. Code Ann. § 59-63-425, § 59-63-470, § 59-63-480, § 59-63-490, § 59-63-45, § 59-63-510
|South Dakota||Yes, mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict. Local school boards must create standards for accepting and rejecting applications, which may only address the capacity of a program, class, grade level or school building. Local school boards accept applications and must grant transfer requests unless the transfer would violate the receiving district's standards or unless the receiving district cannot meet the student's special education services. Intradistrict transfer applications may be accepted and acted upon by local school boards at any time.|
Citations: S.D. Code Ann. § 13-28-21, § 13-28-22; § 13-28-40 through § 13-28-48
|Tennessee||Yes, voluntary intradistrict and interdistrict.|
Interdistrict: Transfers are at the discretion of the receiving board of education. Local boards of education may enter into agreements to transfer students between the districts and receiving school districts may set transfer deadlines.
Citations: Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-3104, § 49-6-3105, § 49-6-3113
Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 0520-01-03-.03
|Texas||Yes, voluntary intradistrict and interdistrict. Students attending low-performing schools are eligible for intradistrict or interdistrict transfers under the public education grant program. There are also transfer provisions for bullying or other safety issues.|
Intradistrict: Parents may petition in writing to have a student transferred to another school designated by the parent or school board and may request a hearing. School boards must grant the transfer request unless the board determines there is a reasonable basis for denying the request. Decisions are made on an individual basis. If a school district assigns a student to another school to receive special education services, the student's siblings may be allowed to attend that school.
Interdistrict: Students are allowed to transfer out a resident district if the receiving district and parents agree. School districts may also enter into transfer agreements. Districts that do not offer certain grade levels may contract with other school districts to transfer students. Children of employees of a Texas Juvenile Justice Department facility may attend an adjacent school district.
Public education grant program: Students assigned to a low-performing school may transfer to another school or school district, but only at the receiving district's discretion.
Citations: Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 25.031 through § 25.040, § 25.042, § 29.201 through § 29.203
|Utah||Yes, mandatory interdistrict and intradistrict.|
School boards of receiving districts adopt policies governing acceptance and rejection of transfer applications and designate which schools and programs are available for open enrollment during the following school year. Schools are open for enrollment of nonresident students if the school's enrollment level is at or below the open enrollment threshold, although school boards may allow nonresident students in schools operating above the threshold. Standards for accepting or rejecting may include:
Citations: Utah Code Ann. § 53G-6-401 through § 53G-6-407
Utah Admin. Code r. R277-437
|Vermont||Yes, mandatory interdistrict and intradistrict for high school students. |
Students may apply to attend any high school, but may enroll in the school only if the student, the sending school, and the receiving school agree. Local boards of education may set guidelines that include limits based on the financial impact and the capacity of the program, class, and building. Sending schools may limit the number of students transferring out of the school.
Citations: Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 16, § 822a
|Virginia||Yes, voluntary intradistrict. Local school boards may establish open enrollment policies allowing students to attend another school within the district. |
Citations: Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-7.1
|Washington||Yes, mandatory intradistrict and voluntary interdistrict.|
Intradistrict: School districts must have a policy allowing intradistrict transfer options.
Interdistrict: Districts are "strongly encouraged" to allow parents to transfer students to another district when requested. Districts must consider all applications equally and create standards for acceptance or rejection. A sending district must allow an interdistrict transfer if the receiving district agrees and under certain circumstances, such as accessibility to a parent's workplace or child care location, a hardship, or to enroll in an online course or school. Receiving districts may deny a transfer if it would create a financial hardship for the district.
Citations: Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.225.220 through § 28A.225.300
|West Virginia||Yes, voluntary intradistrict and interdistrict.|
Upon written request of a parent, county boards may transfer students from one school to another with the county. Transfers from one county to another county must be approved by both county boards. Parents may appeal if a sending or receiving county school district refuses a transfer. During the appeals process the state superintendent must consider the following factors:
Citations: W. Va. Code Ann. § 18-5-16, § 18-5-16a
W. Va. Code R. 126-185, 126-189
|Wisconsin||Yes, voluntary intradistrict and mandatory interdistrict. All school districts must adopt policies for accepting and rejecting interdistrict transfers and determine the number of spaces available. Criteria may include availability of space in schools, programs, classes, or grades. Districts may also consider class size limits, student-teacher ratios, and enrollment projects. Sending districts may limit the number or percentage of resident students transferring to other school districts.|
Citations: Wis. Stat. Ann. § 118.51
|Wyoming||Yes, voluntary interdistrict and intradistrict. Any district within the state may admit pupils who are residents of other districts if space is available.|
Citations: Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-4-502