Open Enrollment Policies: State Profile

Open Enrollment Policies: State Profile - Missouri

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, 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

Do desegregation provisions impact open enrollment programs? 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.

Citations: Mo. Ann. Stat. § 162.1059

Does the state set priorities for districts to follow when accepting students for open enrollment? 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.

Citations: Mo. Ann. Stat. § 162.1045, § 162.1060

Who is responsible for student transportation? 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.

Citations: Mo. Stat. Ann. § 162.1060, § 167.131


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