Open Enrollment Policies: State Profile

Open Enrollment Policies: State Profile - Colorado

Last updated: October 2017

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.


Open Enrollment Survey 2017
Does the state have open enrollment programs? 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 to § 22-36-106

Do desegregation provisions impact open enrollment programs? Schools and school districts may deny enrollment under open enrollment policies to maintain compliance with a desegregation plan.

Citations: Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-36-101

Does the state set priorities for districts to follow when accepting students for open enrollment? No. However, school districts must consider adopting a policy that gives priority to students who have low academic performance and are transferring from a low-performing school.

Citations: Colo. Rev. Stat § 22-36-101

Who is responsible for student transportation? Not addressed.

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.

Citations: Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-1-122


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