In our continuing series of explainer videos about school choice options for families (watch our debriefs of school vouchers
and tax credit scholarships
), today we focus on open enrollment, a process that allows students to transfer from one public school or district to another.
Most states have either voluntary open enrollment — the school or district gets to decide whether a student can transfer — or mandatory, in which the student must be allowed to change schools. More than a dozen states have both types.
More information about open enrollment:
Funding — State and local funding follows the student from the old school to the new one.
Preferences — Students may get priority if their school is low-performing or dangerous, if they are in foster care, if they belong to an active-duty military family, or if they have a long commute to school.
Transfer Zones — Some states have special rules for particular schools or regions, to enable and encourage transfers.
Common Applications — Some districts let families apply to different types of schools — district, charter, magnet, even schools in neighboring districts — by filing a single application.