Education Commission of the States has researched open-enrollment policies in all states to provide this comprehensive resource. Click on the questions below for 50-state comparisons showing how all states approach specific open-enrollment policies. View a specific state’s approach by going to the state profiles page.
- Forty-six states plus D.C. have policies addressing open enrollment in some way.
- Open-enrollment policies allow a student to transfer to the 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 either mandatory or voluntary.
- Mandatory policies require districts to participate in open enrollment.
- 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.
- Several states have both mandatory and voluntary policies. This usually means requiring mandatory open enrollment in low-performing districts, in defined regions of the state, or in other specific circumstances while allowing voluntary open enrollment in the rest of the state.
- In a few states, open enrollment is a function of geographic access to schools. For example, Montana and Georgia both require open enrollment for students facing lengthy transportation time or geographic barriers to attending their assigned schools.
- 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?
- Open Enrollment 50-State Report – All Data Points
Open Enrollment: Overview and 2016 legislative update
Micah Ann Wixom
PUBLISHED: October 30, 2017
RESOURCE TYPE: 50-State Comparison