Open Enrollment 50-State Report - All Data Points


Open Enrollment 50-State Report - All Data Points

Last updated: November 2016

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.

  • Intradistrict: students transfer to another school within their resident school district.
  • Interdistrict: students transfer a school outside of their resident district.

Depending on the state, open-enrollment policies are mandatory, voluntary, or both. 

  • Mandatory policies require districts to participate in the program.
  • Voluntary policies allow districts to choose whether to participate in open enrollment, often allowing school districts the discretion to enter into transfer agreements with other districts.
  • States with both mandatory and voluntary policies usually require mandatory open enrollment in low-performing schools or districts, in defined regions of the state or in other specific circumstances while allowing voluntary open enrollment in the rest of the state.

View the full open enrollment database here.  Please contact Micah Ann Wixom (303.299.3673 or mwixom@ecs.org) with questions or comments.


Does the state have open enrollment programs? Do desegregation provisions impact open enrollment programs? Does the state set priorities for districts to follow when accepting students for open enrollment? Who is responsible for student transportation?
Alabama No. However, there are open enrollment provisions specific to charter schools. No open enrollment policies. No open enrollment policies. No open enrollment policies.
Alaska Yes, mandatory intradistrict for students attending a school designated as persistently dangerous. Not addressed.
Not addressed. Not addressed.
Arizona Yes, mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict. School districts must establish open enrollment policies, including admission criteria and application procedures. School districts may enter into voluntary agreements with other school districts for tuition payments from certain students. These agreements must include admission criteria, application procedures, and transportation provisions.  A receiving school must admit students living in the attendance zone of a school that is under a desegregation court order or is party to an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education to remediate alleged or proven racial discrimination. Receiving schools do not have to admit transfer students if it would violate a desegregation court order or agreement. No. However, districts may give preference to children of school or school district employees or to students in foster care. Charter schools may also give preference to students in foster care or unaccompanied youth. Parents are responsible for transportation. A receiving district may provide transportation for income-eligible students living in an adjacent school district up to 20 miles each way to and from the school or a point on a regular transportation route. A receiving district must provide transportation, up to 20 miles each way, for students with a disability or an individualized education plan. Finally, if districts enter into a voluntary agreement for tuition payment, the agreement must include transportation provisions. 
Arkansas Yes, mandatory interdistrict. Mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict for students attending schools or districts in academic or facilities distress.

Interdistrict: Students may apply to transfer to a school in any school district. There is a limit on the number of school choice transfers a sending district may allow each school year, minus any school choice transfers into the district, of 3% of the previous year's enrollment. Students transferred out of a district in academic or facilities distress are not included in the cap.

Transfers for academic or facilities distress: Students attending a school or a school district classified as being in academic or facilities distress are eligible to transfer to another school within the district or another school district not in academic or facilities distress.

Districts must adopt standards for accepting or rejecting applications, which may include lack of capacity of a program, class, grade level or building.
Desegregation court orders or court-approved plans have precedence over the open enrollment statutes. Yes. School districts must give priority to siblings if space is available. Students unable to transfer to a receiving district due to the sending district's 3% transfer limit must be given transfer priority by the sending district the first year the district is not subject to the transfer limit. Receiving districts may refuse a transfer if a student was expelled from another district. Parents are responsible for transportation. However, receiving districts may enter into an agreement with the student, student's parent, or the sending district to provide transportation. When a student transfers from a school or school district under academic or facilities distress, the sending district must pay for transportation.
California

Yes, voluntary intradistrict and interdistrict. Under the Open Enrollment Act, mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict for students attending low-performing schools and/or districts.

Voluntary: School district governing boards may decide to accept interdistrict transfers. School districts must allow students from active-duty military families to transfer to another district if the receiving school district approves the transfer application. In addition, school districts may enter into an agreement, for up to 5 years, for interdistrict transfers. Sending districts may limit transfers in the following circumstances:

  • Districts with 50,000+ students may limit transfer to 1% of the current year estimated average daily attendance.
  • Districts with fewer than 50,000 students may limit transfers to 3% of current year estimated average daily attendance.
  • Districts with a negative status on their budget certification may limit the number of transfers.
  • If the district would not meet fiscal stability standards due to student transfers.

Mandatory: The State Superintendent of Public Instruction must create an annual list of 1,000 low-performing schools. Parents of students in one of these schools may apply to transfer to another public school in the district or in another district. No more than 10% of a district's schools may be on the list. A receiving district may adopt standards for acceptance and rejection of applications, which may include program, class, grade level, or building capacity.

Under both voluntary and mandatory provisions, sending or receiving districts may prohibit a transfer if it would negatively impact a court-ordered or voluntary desegregation plan or the racial and ethnic balance of the district. Yes.

Voluntary: Receiving districts must give priority to the following, but may not displace students residing in the district:
  • Siblings of students already attending the district.
  • Children of military personnel (sending district must approve the transfer if the receiving district approves).
A district may determine the number of transfers it is willing to accept and ensure that students are accepted through a lottery if the number of applications exceeds space. Receiving districts may not reject a transfer if the cost of educating the student exceeds state aid. Any receiving district may admit a student expelled from a sending district.

Mandatory: Receiving districts must give priority to the following:
  • Siblings of students already attending the school.
  • Students transferring from a low-performing school with certain criteria.
Districts also give priority to students residing in the district. If the number of applicants exceeds space available, the school must conduct a lottery from the two priority groups until available spaces are filled.
Voluntary: Upon the request of the parent, receiving districts may provide transportation assistance within the district boundaries.

Mandatory: For low performing schools, federal regulations require the sending district to provide transportation if funding is available.
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.
Schools and school districts may deny enrollment under open enrollment policies to maintain compliance with a desegregation plan. No. However, school districts must consider adopting a policy that gives priority to students who have low academic performance and are coming from low-performing schools. State policies outline a transportation token program, which provides transportation to another school for students enrolled in or living in the attendance zone of a designated low-performing school and for students (grades 1-8) eligible for free and reduced lunch and enrolled in a low-performing school. Transportation tokens may be used for public transportation or other forms of approved transportation. It is not clear if this program is currently in effect.
Connecticut Yes, voluntary intradistrict and both voluntary and mandatory interdistrict. Interdistrict programs are required in four cities and optional in priority school districts. The purpose of open enrollment policies is to reduce racial, ethnic and economic isolation or preserve racial and ethnic balance. Yes. In districts with limited space, districts first give preference to siblings and to students who would otherwise attend a low-performing school or a school that has lost its accreditation and then use a lottery designed to preserve or increase racial, ethnic and economic diversity. Voluntary: Parents are responsible but local boards of education may provide transportation.

Mandatory: The department of education sets reasonable transportation limits and provides grants to regional educational service centers or boards of education for reasonable transportation costs, within certain limits. Regional educational service centers must provide transportation for high school students who wish to participate in extracurricular activities.
Delaware Yes, mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict.

Enrollment may be denied due to "lack of capacity," defined as projected enrollment at 85% of capacity.
Open enrollment must not conflict with a court-ordered desegregation plan. If open enrollment would affect a desegregation plan, districts must establish a number of majority and minority group students who may transfer into or out of the district. Yes. Receiving districts must give priority to the following in order:
  1. Returning students.
  2. Students living in a school's designated feeder zone.
  3. Sibilings of currently enrolled students, with preference for siblings who live in the district.
Districts may give priority to the following:
  • Students who have designated the school or program as a first, second or third choice.
  • Students who live within the district.
  • Children of school employees.
After the district has admitted all qualifying students based on these criteria the district must use a lottery and a ranked waiting list. Receiving districts may also deny enrollment for students expelled from the home district for 15+ days.
Parents are responsible for transportation.
District of Columbia Yes, voluntary intradistrict. Students may apply for a transfer if the student's sibling attends the requested school, if the student lives within a reasonable walking distance, or if the student's parent prefers the requested school. Transfers are approved by the Chancellor. Not addressed.
Yes. Preference is given to students based on the following:
  • The student's sibling attends the school.
  • The student resides within a reasonable walking distance.
  • The requested school is preferred to the designated school.
The district must use a lottery to determine enrollment.
Not addressed.
Florida Yes, mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict. Districts and charter schools must enroll any student subject to capacity and must identify school capacity determinations on their websites. Participating districts must adhere to federal desegregation requirements and must maintain socioeconomic, demographic and racial balance. Yes. School districts must give preferential treatment to the following groups: 
  • Dependent children of active duty military personnel whose move resulted from military orders. 
  • Children relocated due to a foster care placement in a different school zone. 
  • Children who move because of a court-ordered custody change. 
  • Students residing in the school district.
In addition, each school district must do the following: 
  • Allow parents to declare school preferences, especially for placing siblings in the same school.
  • Provide a lottery for school placement, including an appeals process for hardship cases.
  • Maintain socioeconomic, demographic and racial balance.
  • Provide parents of students in multiple session schools priority access.
  • Address the availability of transportation.
  • Allow transfer students to be immediately eligible to participate in extracurricular activities. However, students may not participate in a sport if the student participated in the same sport at another school during the school year, unless the student meets certain criteria.
  • Identify schools in the district that have not reached capacity. 
Districts and charter schools may not displace students living in the school district with non-resident students.
Parents are responsible for transportation. School districts and charter schools may provide transportation, but are not required to. 
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.
    Intradistrict: Districts must allow intradistrict transfers when all of the following conditions are met and if space is available:
    • Classroom space is not available in the assigned school and is available at the requested school after all resident students are enrolled.
    • The parent submits a written request.
    • The local school board approves.
    Interdistrict: Districts may allow transfers under the following circumstances:
    • Transportation time to the student's assigned school is 45 minutes longer than the receiving school and the distance to the student's assigned school is at least 15 miles further than the receiving school. 
    • Classroom space is available in the requested school.
    • The parent submits a written request.
    • Both local school boards approve.
    Open enrollment programs must not interfere with any desegregation plans that are or may be in effect. No. However, districts must admit non-resident children of district employees. Parents are responsible for transportation, although school districts may contract with each other for transportation.
    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. Not addressed. Not addressed. Not addressed.
    Idaho Yes, mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict. 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
    Not addressed. No. However, suspended or expelled students are not eligible for open enrollment transfers. Parents are responsible to transport students to and from the school or an appropriate bus stop within the receiving district.
    Illinois Unclear. Although there are provisions for open enrollment in statute, the state was exempted from the No Child Left Behind choice provisions under an NCLB waiver. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, starting in the 2014-15 school year and until further notice, school districts are no longer obligated to pay for choice transportation, although they may choose to do so.  Not addressed. Not addressed. Not addressed.
    Indiana Yes, voluntary interdistrict; mandatory intradistrict or 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. Additionally, a receiving district 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 when all of the following criteria are met:
    • The student attended a private school in the district's attendance area for at least the two preceding school years.
    • The student is transferring because the student's resident district does not offer grades 9-12.
    • The majority of students in the same grade of the transferring student are residents of the school district.
    • The district has capacity to accept students.
    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.
    Students must be allowed to transfer in compliance with a court order. Yes, but only for districts that have not established open enrollment transfer policies. Districts without transfer policies must hold a lottery and must give priority to siblings of currently enrolled students and children of district employees. Additionally, they must accept students when all of the following criteria are met:
    • The student attended a private school in the district's attendance area for at least the two preceding school years.
    • The student is transferring because the student's resident district does not offer grades 9-12.
    • The majority of students in the same grade of the transferring student are residents of the school district.
    • The district has capacity to accept students.
    All districts are required to accept children of current employees if space is available, and districts must hold a lottery if transfer requests for children of employees exceed capacity. 

    Districts may deny admission to a student who has been suspended or expelled during the preceding 12 months for ten or more days or if the student was suspended or expelled for causing physical injury to another person at the school, violating the school's drug or alcohol rules or for possessing a firearm on school grounds.
    Unclear, as policies governing transportation expire on January 1, 2017.
    Iowa Yes, mandatory interdistrict. Parents may request open enrollment to another district and may request a preferred school, but the 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." District policies for accepting or denying transfers may include one or more the following:
    • Nature of the educational program.
    • Grade level. 
    • Availability of instructional staff.
    • Instructional method.
    • Availability of physical space.
    • Student-teacher ratio.
    • Equipment and materials.
    • Facilities planned, under construction, or closing.
    • Finances available.
    • Sharing agreement in force or planned.
    • Bargaining agreement in force.
    • Rules governing special education.
    • Class size.
    • Board-adopted district educational goals and objectives.
    School districts may not deny open enrollment to the following students: 
    • Siblings of currently enrolled students.
    • Students who have moved out of the resident district but wish to remain in the district as an open enrollment student.
    • Students transferring due to harassment.
    • Students transferring for health reasons that cannot be adequately addressed by the resident district.
    Districts that cannot grant open enrollment requests must create a waiting list.
    Sending districts that are subject to voluntary or court-ordered desegregation plans may deny transfer requests if the transfers would affect plan implementation. Districts must give priority to transfer requests that would facilitate implementation of a voluntary or court-ordered desegregation plan. Yes. Receiving districts must give priority to requests that would facilitate a court-ordered desegregation plan or voluntary diversity plan. A student who has been suspended or expelled may not transfer to another district until the student is reinstated by the resident district. Parents are responsible to transport students to a designated bus stop in the receiving district. School districts with open enrollment agreements may make transportation arrangements. Open enrollment students meeting certain income guidelines must receive transportation assistance from the sending district. The district may reimburse parents or provide transportation to a bus stop, but only for students enrolled in a receiving school district adjacent to the sending district.
    Kansas Yes, voluntary interdistrict. Boards of education may create agreements to allow transfers between districts. Not addressed. Not addressed. Agreements between sending and receiving school districts must have a provision for transportation and for payment or sharing of transportation costs.
    Kentucky Yes, mandatory intradistrict and 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.
    Not addressed.
    Not addressed. Not addressed.
    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.

    Mandatory:
    • When the transportation time to a student's assigned school is longer than a prescribed amount, the student must be allowed to attend a closer school in another district.
    • Students attending schools identified as persistently dangerous must be allowed to transfer to another school in the district.
    • For schools designated as academically unacceptable, districts must develop a school choice policy, including transfer options.
    • Any school transferred in or out of the Recovery School District must maintain open enrollment policies.
    School districts under a desegregation plan are "not exempt from offering students the option to transfer" but must first review the plan and possibly seek court approval for transfers. Yes. Students must be permitted to transfer out of low-performing schools and schools identified as persistently dangerous. The receiving district is responsible for transportation when a student transfers to a school closer to the student's residence than the student's assigned school. When a student transfers from a low-performing school, the sending district must provide transportation.
    Maine Yes, voluntary intradistrict and interdistrict. Students may attend another school with permission from the receiving school. 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. Not addressed. Not addressed. When a sending district has a contract with another district because the sending district does not have a school, the sending district is responsible for transportation costs. In other cases, the parents are responsible for transportation costs. 
    Maryland No. No open enrollment policies. No open enrollment policies. No open enrollment policies.
    Massachusetts Yes, voluntary interdistrict and intradistrict. School committees may establish terms for accepting nonresident students. The receiving school committee of any city, town or regional district may accept transfer students from a sending district with student racial imbalance if the receiving school district's committee has voted to accept out-of-district students.  No. However, if the number of nonresident students applying for acceptance to another district exceeds the number of available seats, the school committee must hold a lottery. Parents are responsible for transportation. The state will pay when the transfer addresses racial imbalances. Students who receive free or reduced price lunch may qualify for reimbursement from the state which may go to the students' guardian or sending school district, depending upon transportation arrangements and proximity to the school or district.
    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.
    If the school district is subject to a court-ordered desegregation plan, the district may prohibit students from transferring in or out. Yes. Under voluntary intradistrict and interdistrict open enrollment, receiving districts must give priority to siblings of enrolled students. If the number of transfer requests exceeds capacity, the receiving district must hold a lottery and create a waiting list. A district may refuse students who have been suspended from another school within the past two years or expelled at any time. Parents are responsible for transportation.
    Minnesota Yes, mandatory interdistrict.

    Receiving school districts may limit enrollment of nonresident students and must adopt standards for accepting or rejecting applications.
    Receiving districts with achievement and integration plans may accept transfer applications at any time, although the districts are still allowed to limit enrollment. Yes. If a district has more transfer requests than space available, the district must hold a lottery and three groups must receive priority in the lottery: siblings of currently enrolled students, children of school district staff, and applications related to an approved integration and achievement plan. Districts may refuse enrollment for students who have been expelled for specific reasons. The resident district must provide transportation within the district when requested by the parent, but is not responsible for transportation to and from the district's border. Receiving districts may reimburse low-income students for cost of transport to the district border. Receiving districts may apply to the commissioner of education to reimburse the cost of transporting open enrollment students contributing to desegregation or integration plans.
    Mississippi Yes, voluntary interdistrict; 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. Not addressed.
    No. However, school districts must enroll any nonresident children of any instructional or licensed school district employee upon the employee's request. Transfer agreements between school districts must include a provision providing for transportation. In the absence of a provision, parents are responsible for transportation.
    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.
    Whenever a school district is under a federal court-ordered desegregation directive, open enrollment options are subject to the approval of the court of continuing jurisdiction, and the court order must govern. Yes. Receiving districts may give preference to resident students over transferring students and refuse enrollment to students suspended or expelled for 10 days or more in the current or immediately preceding school term.

    Metropolitan Schools Achieving Value in Transfer Corporation (voluntary open enrollment in St. Louis): The board of directors sets policies but receiving districts must give first preference to students attending based on a desegregation order.
    Mandatory: The sending district is responsible for providing transportation for students attending another school because their assigned school is unaccredited.

    Metropolitan Schools Achieving Value in Transfer Corporation (St. Louis): The board of directors is responsible for making provisions for transportation and receives transportation aid from the state up to 155% of the statewide per-pupil average.
    Montana Yes, voluntary intradistrict and interdistrict; mandatory interdistrict for geographic access or other issues.

    Voluntary: The sending and receiving districts enter into an attendance agreement that sets forth the 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. However, 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:
    • The child resides closer to the receiving school and more than three miles from his or her resident school and the resident district does not provide transportation.
    • It is impractical for the child to attend school in the resident district due to geographic conditions between the child's home and school based on criteria including a bus ride of more than one hour each way for an elementary child, distance traveled of 40+ miles one way on a dirt road or 60+ miles one way, or whether the condition of the road or a geographic barrier, such as a river or mountain pass, causes a hazard that prohibits safe travel.
    • The child is a member of a family that is required to send another child outside of the elementary district to attend high school and the younger child may more conveniently attend an elementary school where the high school is located if the child resides more than three miles from an elementary school in the resident district or if parent is required to move to the elementary district where the high school is located to enroll another child in high school.
    • The child is under the protective care of a state agency, or has been adjudicated to be a youth in need of intervention or a delinquent youth.
    • The child is required to attend school outside of the district of residence as the result of a placement in foster care or a group home.
    Not addressed. Yes. A child with a disability who resides in the district must be approved. For both voluntary and mandatory interdistrict open enrollment, the attendance agreement between the sending and receiving districts outlines the financial obligations for transportation costs.
    Nebraska Yes, mandatory intradistrict, with some limitations, and 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. 

    Member districts of 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.
    Diversity plans must provide for open enrollment between all buildings in a learning community. Diversity is based upon socioeconomic status of students. Yes. For districts not part of a learning community (a partnership between multiple districts), first priority is given to siblings of enrolled students.

    ​For districts that are members of a learning community, first priority is given to siblings of enrolled students. Second priority is given to students previously enrolled in the districts, and third priority is given to students living within the learning community who contribute to socioeconomic diversity at school building. Final priority is given to students who reside in the learning community. 

    All districts are not required to accept students, including those in a priority category, if the district is at capacity except in certain circumstances. 

    A student may transfer once prior to graduation unless:
    • The student moves to another school district.
    • The receiving district merges with another district.
    • The receiving district only has elementary grades.
    • The student has completed all the grades offered in the receiving school and is transitioning to another school level (e.g. elementary to middle school, middle school to high school).
    • The transfer would allow the student to continue current enrollment in the receiving district.
    • The transfer would allow the student to enroll in a district where he or she was previously enrolled as a resident student.
    • The student resides in a school district that is part of a learning community and attend school in another district within the learning community as a open enrollment student. 
    Parents are responsible for transportation; however, the receiving school district may provide transportation on the same basis as provided for resident students and may charge a fee sufficient to recover the additional costs. Districts must adopt standards for providing transportation for open enrollment students. 

    Students eligible for free lunch are eligible for free transportation or transportation reimbursement from the receiving district, as outlined in each district's transportation policies.

    Learning community districts must provide free transportation for open enrollment students (1) eligible for free or reduced price lunch and who live more than one mile from the receiving school, and (2) for students transferring as part of a diversity focus program who contribute to the socioeconomic diversity and live more than one mile from the receiving school.

    Students receiving free transportation for the 2016-17 school year must continue to receive free transportation for the duration of the student's status as an open enrollment student or enrollment in a diversity focus program unless the student relocates to another district under specific circumstances.

    For students with disabilities, transportation services are provided by the sending school district, which is reimbursed by the state.
    Nevada Yes, voluntary interdistrict.

    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, although the department of education may use a lottery system if more students apply than there are spaces available.
    Not addressed. Not addressed. Transportation costs must be paid by the sending district.
    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. Open enrollment school districts may impose limits on the number of non-resident students who attend schools in and out of the district. Schools may limit enrollment in specific programs and may select on basis of aptitude, academic achievement or need. 
    Not addressed. Yes. Students who meet the admissions requirements of a receiving school and who are residents of the district where the school is located, are given admission preference over nonresident students. If applications exceed capacity, the school or district must use a lottery system. Open enrollment schools are not required to enroll an expelled student. For intradistrict transfers, the district is responsible for providing transportation. For interdistrict transfers, parents are responsible for transportation.
    New Jersey Yes, voluntary interdistrict. The state's interdistrict public school choice program creates choice districts, and school districts apply to the Commissioner of Education to participate as one of the choice districts. 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.
    Districts applying to become a choice district must submit an analysis of the potential impact of the choice program on student diversity and a plan for maintaining diversity, but these plans may not supersede a court-ordered desegregation plan. To maintain student population diversity, the commissioner may restrict the number of choice students from a sending district, restrict a receiving district's ability to accept choice students, or revoke approval of the choice district. Yes. Receiving districts and sending districts may give preference to siblings of enrolled students. If a receiving district receives more applications for a school than space available, a lottery must be used. Sending districts that limit choice enrollment and with transfer requests above the percentage limit may hold a lottery to select participating students. Districts may give preference to siblings already participating before holding the lottery and may develop a waiting list based on the lottery. Sending districts are responsible for the transportation (including transportation aid) of elementary students living more than two miles and to secondary students living more than 2.5 miles from their respective receiving schools. Transportation will not be provided for students living more than 20 miles from the receiving school. The sending district will receive state aid for transportation costs.
    New Mexico Yes, voluntary intradistrict and interdistrict; mandatory intrdistrict and interdistrict. 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. Not addressed. Yes. Receiving districts must give priority as follows:
    1. Students residing in the school district or school attendance area or children of active-duty military personnel who lived in the area prior to deployment.
    2. Students enrolled in a low-performing school.
    3. Students who previously attended the school.
    If applications exceed space available, the receiving district must create a waiting list, ranked based on priority. Receiving districts may deny enrollment to students previously expelled from any school in the state during the previous 12 months.
    Districts are responsible for transportation when a student transfers to another school within the same district, although the local board may reimburse parents for travel costs. Sending districts are not responsible for students who transfer to another school district. Receiving districts may make policies about transporting out-of-district students at no additional cost to the school transportation fund, including boarding the bus at the last stop on an approved route if space is available.
    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. Districts seeking to participate in the voluntary interdistrict urban-suburban transfer program must submit data that the program will reduce racial isolation by allowing minority students, nonminority students, or both to transfer between the suburban and urban districts. Not addressed. Not addressed.
    North Carolina No. No open enrollment policies. No open enrollment policies. No open enrollment policies.
    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: 
    • The student was a victim of documented violence within the school.
    • The school in which the student is enrolled was declared unsafe.
    • The student's enrolled school has been identified as requiring program improvement for six consecutive years.
    Not addressed.
    No, although the board of each school district sets standards for accepting or rejecting applications. Sending and receiving districts may provide transportation.
    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 (1) adjacent school districts or (2) 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.
     
    Under both voluntary and mandatory open enrollment, districts' open enrollment plans must have policies and procedures to ensure racial balance is maintained.

    Voluntary: To maintain an appropriate racial balance, a sending district may object to a student enrolling in another district.
    Yes.

    Voluntary: Resident students of the receiving district and previously-enrolled students must have preference over first-time applicants. Receiving districts may deny enrollment to students who have been suspended or expelled by the sending district for 10 consecutive days or more in the current or proceeding term.

    Mandatory (for alternative schools): Receiving districts must give enrollment preference to students attending or living in the attendance area of certain schools in the district. Receiving districts may deny enrollment to students who have been suspended or expelled by the sending district for 10 consecutive days or more in the current or proceeding term.
    Parents are responsible for transportation, although receiving districts may provide transportation to and from a bus stop along a regular bus route within the district. Receiving districts may reimburse low-income families for the cost of transporting a student to and from the bus stop. In addition, school boards may be required to provide transportation in accordance with a court-approved desegregation plan.
    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.
    Not addressed.
    No, but districts must admit children of district teaching personnel who are not residents of the school district and siblings of transfer students may transfer to the receiving district with approval from that district's board of education. Upon the request of a parent, receiving districts may provide transportation only within the receiving district's boundaries. However, two school districts may make an agreement allowing the receiving district to transport students inside the boundaries of the sending district.
    Oregon Yes, voluntary interdistrict. Districts may enter into agreements with each other for open enrollment transfers. Not addressed. Yes. Receiving districts make decisions about enrolling non-resident students. If applications exceed any attendance limits determined by the school board, the districts must hold a lottery and may give priority to the following:
    • Siblings of currently-enrolled students.
    • Students who attended a charter school in the same district for at least three consecutive years or completed the highest grade offered by the school.
    • Students who moved out of the school district during the previous school year but received permission to continue attending a school in the receiving district.
    Not addressed.
    Pennsylvania Yes, voluntary interdistrict. Not addressed.
    Not addressed. Not addressed.
    Rhode Island Yes, voluntary interdistrict and intradistrict.  Not addressed.
    Not addressed. The state provides for transportation for students who attend a school located outside the city or town where they reside but only within defined tranportation regions.
    South Carolina Yes, voluntary interdistrict. When students live closer to a school in an adjacent district, school officials from the sending and receiving districts may make arrangements for the students to transfer to the closer school. Not addressed.
    Not addressed. Not addressed.
    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.
    Not addressed.
    Yes. Siblings of currently enrolled students have priority. Parents are responsible for transportation, and sending or receiving districts are not required to provide transportation. However, the receiving district may enter into an agreement to provide transportation within the boundaries of a sending district at an approved pick-up location. Receiving districts may charge a reasonable fee.
    Tennessee Yes, voluntary intradistrict and interdistrict.

    Interdistrict: Local boards of education may enter into agreements to transfer students between the districts and receiving school districts may set transfer deadlines.
    Student transfers must be exercised within the limitations of any existing court order or plan developed to comply with the state or federal constitution. No. However districts must enroll the children of teachers who do not live in the district. Districts may require parents to provide transportation, although school districts may create transportation agreements with other school districts.
    Texas Yes, mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict. In addition, students attending low-performing schools are eligible for intradistrict or interdistrict transfers under the public education grant program.

    Intradistrict: School districts must grant a parent's request to transfer a student to another school within the district unless there is reasonable basis for denying the request. Decisions are made on an individual basis.

    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.
    Not addressed.
    Yes, but only for students transferring out of low-performing schools. Districts with more applications than space available must give priority to students at risk of dropping out and hold a lottery. School districts are allowed to give first priority to previously enrolled students and their siblings.  For students transferring out of a low-performing school, sending district will provide transportation costs to and from the students' assigned schools.
    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:
    • Lack of capacity in a grade level (for elementary schools) or other special program.
    • Maintaining reduced class sizes.
    • Maintaining a heterogeneous student population.
    • Priority may be given to intradistrict transfers over interdistrict transfers. 
    • Siblings attending school in the receiving district. 
    Local school boards' standards for accepting or rejecting transfer applications may include maintaining heterogeneous student populations to avoid violation of constitutional or statutory rights of students. No. However, school boards of receiving districts may give priority to intradistrict transfers over interdistrict transfers and may establish priorities through the standards for accepting or rejecting transfer applications. In addition, districts may reject students who have committed serious infractions of the law or school rules or have been guilty of chronic misbehavior. For intradistrict and interdistrict transfers, the receiving district must provide transportation on an approved route within the district if space is available. Otherwise, parents are responsible for transportation. However, sending districts may transport students to school in the receiving districts and the State Board of Education may create policies about transporting nonresident students to the receiving school if transportation would relieve overcrowding or address other serious problems in the sending districts.
    Vermont Yes, mandatory interdistrict and intradistrict for high schools. All districts with high schools must enter into an agreement with at least one other district to form a school choice region.

    With certain limitations, students are free to enroll in any high school in the school choice region. Local boards of education may set guidelines that include limits based on the capacity of the program, class and building and the financial impact. 
    Not addressed.
    Yes. School boards of sending districts must give preference to the transfer request of a student whose transfer request was denied in a prior year. If more than the allowable number of students wish to transfer to a school, the board of the receiving high school district must hold a lottery to determine which students may transfer. Not addressed.
    Virginia Yes, voluntary intradistrict.  Any local board under a court-order to maintain racial balance must maintain that balance when accommodating preference in student assignment. No. However, school districts' admission priorities may include preferences for siblings of currently enrolled students, students living in a location that have had a school attendance change in the previous two years, or children of school employees. Schools may also include provisions for a lottery if transfer requests exceed capacity and may prohibit transfers for students who have had certain disciplinary actions. The state allows districts to require that parents provide transportation.
    Washington Yes, mandatory intradistrict and voluntary and mandatory 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. Additionally, a sending district must allow an interdistrict transfer under certain circumstances, including accesibility to a parent's workplace or child care location, when the receiving district agrees. Receiving districts may deny a transfer if it would create a financial hardship for the district.
    A sending district may deny an interdistrict transfer request if the transfer would adversely affect the sending district's existing desegregation plan. No. However, districts must accept children of full-time teaching staff and may refuse to enroll a student who has been expelled or suspended for more than ten consecutive days or has a history of violent or disruptive behavior. Not addressed.
    West Virginia Yes, voluntary intradistrict and interdistrict. Not addressed.
    Yes. School districts must consider interdistrict transfer applications from parents due to student travel time or school location. 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:
    • Travel time of student
    • Impact of transfers on on levies or bonds.
    • Financial impact on the county of residence.
    Sending and receiving county boards must determine the method of transportation. Sending county boards are responsible for transportation if the county board has initiatied the transfer plan.
    Wisconsin Yes, voluntary intradistrict and mandatory interdistrict. All school districts must adopt policies for accepting and rejecting interdistrict transfers. 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. A district must reject any application for transfer into or out of the district if the transfer would increase racial imbalance in the district. Student transfers resulting from a plan implemented by a district to reduce racial imbalance are eligible for state aid. However, in 2007, the Wisconsin attorney general issued an opinion in which he concluded that the provision is unconstitutional per Parents Involved in Community Schools, et al. v. Seattle School District. Yes. If there are more applications than spaces available, a receiving district must create a waiting list and accept students from this list on a random basis after giving preference to currently-enrolled students and their siblings. If the receiving district is a union high school district, preference must be given to students who are attending the receiving district's underlying elementary school district. Parent are responsible for transportation, but receiving districts must provide transportation for students with a disability. Low-income parents may apply to state for reimbursement. Districts may enter into agreements to provide transportation for out-of-district students. If either the sending or receiving district operates a program of intradistrict transfers, that district is responsible for the cost of transportation. A district may contract directly for transportation or reimburse another district for the cost. A district may provide transportation for a student attending a public school outside his or her attendance area of residence.
    Wyoming Yes, voluntary interdistrict and intradistrict. Any district within the state may admit pupils who are residents of other districts if space is available. Not addressed.
    No. However, districts do not have to accept students who have been expelled or suspended. Not addressed.

    Last updated 2016.

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