Iowa Open Enrollment law allows parents/guardians to enroll their child in a public school district other than their district of residence by completing the open enrollment application. Return open enrollment forms to Associate Superintendent Nathan Wear, Linn-Mar Learning Resource Center, 2999 N 10th Street – Room 200, Marion, IA 52302.
Students considering open enrollment into another Iowa public school district should be aware of the following:
- The deadline for filing an open enrollment application for students in grades 1-12 is March 1, the school year preceding enrollment. Due to continued growth and lack of class space, open enrollment requests will not be accepted after the March 1 deadline.
- The deadline for students entering kindergarten is September 1, the school year of enrollment.
Parents and guardians of open enrolled students whose income falls below 160 percent of the federal poverty guidelines are eligible for transportation assistance. Parents should also be aware that open enrollment might result in the loss of athletic eligibility.
Frequently Answered Questions
How do I apply?
You may request an open enrollment application from any Iowa school district, area education agency or the state department of education. An application must be completed for each child and filed with the resident school district. Please note that application approval will be based, in part, on the school district’s ability to provide appropriate classroom space to students.
When do I apply?
Forms must be filed with the resident district by March 1 of the school year preceding the school year for which open enrollment is requested. For example, an application must be filed by March 1, 2017 in order to be approved for the 2017/18 school year. For Kindergarten students the deadline is September 1, 2017. Students may qualify for “good cause” such as a change in the state in which the family residence is located.
Does each child need to file an application?
Do I need to file a new application each year?
No. Once an application is approved, your child may continue in the receiving district until they graduate, or you move from your resident district.
Can I choose which school my child will attend?
Accepted open enrollment students will be placed in building in which space is available in their grade level. Every effort is made to place students in their school of choice and with their siblings.
Is there any cost involved?
Your resident school district will be responsible for paying the cost of tuition each year for your child to attend school in the receiving school district. However, all miscellaneous registration fees for participation in the educational programs will be your responsibility.
Can my request be denied?
A request will be denied if filing deadlines are not met, if the resident district has a desegregation plan that would be adversely affected, if there is not classroom space for the student or if the student is under suspension or expulsion from his/her current school district.
Do we need to open enroll if we move out of the district and want to remain in the same school district?
Yes. You must file for open enrollment when moving to a different district. Applications must be received within a reasonable length of time.
What if we move to another district after we file for open enrollment and want to continue to attend in the current district?
Simply send written notification to the new district, the resident district and the current district that you wish to transfer your open enrollment to the new district. This applies to a move within Iowa only. Out of state residents are not eligible for open enrollment and would need to pay tuition to continue.
May an 11th or 12th grade student complete his/her education at the resident district if his/her family moves to another district?
Yes. See Iowa Code 257.6(d). 11th and 12th grade nonresident students who were residents of the district during the preceding school year may be enrolled in that district until they graduate. An open enrollment application is not required.
Will the district provide transportation for my child?
Parents/guardians of open enrolled students whose income falls below 160 percent of the federal poverty guidelines are eligible for transportation assistance. This may be in the form of actual transportation or in the form of a cash stipend.
Does open enrollment affect athletic eligibility?
Students in grades 10-12 who transfer school districts through open enrollment have a 90 day waiting period to participate in athletic competition, although they may practice with the team during this time.
Whom should I contact with further questions on open enrollment?
Nathan Wear, Associate Superintendent
Address: 2999 N 10th Street – Room 200 – Marion, IA 52302