Open Enrollment is the process by which a parent or guardian residing in an Iowa district may enroll their child(ren) into another Iowa school district under the terms and conditions of Iowa Code 282.18 and Iowa Administrative Code 281-17.
Parents/guardians may apply for open enrollment for their child to attend another Iowa public school district at any time. The receiving district may deny an open enrollment request if one of the following applies:
- The application violates the district’s insufficient classroom space policy,
- The district does not have the appropriate special education program,
- The application would adversely affect the district’s implementation of a court-ordered desegregation plan, or
- The student has been expelled or suspended.
If a parent/guardian moves and wishes for their student to continue at the original resident district under open enrollment (often known as the “continuation rule”), requests cannot be denied due to insufficient classroom space policies.
General Open Enrollment Guidance and Application
2023-2024 Open Enrollment Handbook - Provides parents, guardians, and school districts with updated information following several changes to Iowa law and rules regarding open enrollment. This handbook is divided into the following sections: Information for Parents and Guardians, Instructions for School Districts, Frequently Asked Questions, and Contacts and Resources.
Open Enrollment Application for the 2024-2025 & 2025-2026 School Years - The application and process for open enrollment are outlined in the open enrollment application. Please mail, email, or fax copies of the application to your resident school district and the district you would like for your child to attend. For contacts, addresses, or fax numbers for school districts, please visit the districts’ websites. Do not send your application to the Iowa Department of Education. To apply for the 2023-2024 school year, please use this application: 2023-2024 Open Enrollment Application.
2023-2024 Open Enrollment Billing Chart - Updated guidance for school districts and school business officials. The open enrollment billing chart is available to assist school districts with varying open enrollment scenarios and guidance on the actions districts take for billing open enrollment costs and applicable weighting. For last school year’s open enrollment billing, you may utilize this chart: 2022-2023 Open Enrollment Billing.
2023-2024 Open Enrollment Transportation Assistance Guidance - The updated transportation assistance amount for the 2023-24 school year is $669. The amount for the 2024-25 school year will be released in January, 2025. Please read the guidance document for details on how parents may apply, qualifying income thresholds, and options for how the resident district may distribute assistance to families in need.Back to top
Guidance on Athletic Eligibility
Unless an exception applies, the General Transfer Rule (281—IAC 36.15(3)) prohibits a student-athlete from participating in varsity athletics for 90 school days (not including summer school) after transferring from one Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) or Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) member or associate member school or school district to another.
- House File 847 and Changes to Athletic Eligibility Guidance - Provides additional information related to a student’s eligibility to compete in varsity athletics after transferring between schools or school districts.