Open Enrollment Policies: State Profile

Open Enrollment Policies: State Profile - Nebraska

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, 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, § 79-2110

Do desegregation provisions impact open enrollment programs? In a learning community, diversity plans must provide for open enrollment between all buildings and diversity is based upon students' socioeconomic status.

Citations: Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-2110

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

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 (i.e. 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. 

Citations: Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-234, § 79-238

Who is responsible for student transportation? 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 who live more than one mile from the receiving school and are (1) eligible for free or reduced price lunch, or (2) transferring as part of a diversity focus program who contribute to the socioeconomic diversity.

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.

Citations: Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-238, § 79-241, § 79-611


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