Related Topics:

Educational Choice

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 as amended by Senate File 2435, Division VIII. Senate File 2435, Division VIII reinstates open enrollment deadlines for all applicants and takes effect July 1, 2024.

Back to top

Open Enrollment Deadlines



Applications to Approved Online SchoolsThe deadline does not apply to parents/guardians applying for their student to attend a public school district with an approved online school by the Iowa Department of Education.

June 30, 2024

Any application filed on or before June 30, 2024 will not require good cause for waiving the March 1 deadline. The receiving district may accept open enrollment applications for the 2024-2025 school year without approval from the resident school district.

July 1, 2024

Senate File 2435 takes effect. Applications for students grades 1-12 will be denied unless the parent or guardian is able to demonstrate good cause.

September 1

Application deadline for incoming preschool students who receive special education services requiring specially designed instruction (SDI) to open enroll for the current school year.

September 1

Application deadline for incoming kindergarten students to open enroll for the current school year.

September 2

Applications for incoming preschool students requiring SDI and kindergarten students will be denied unless the parent or guardian is able to demonstrate “good cause.”

March 1 

Application deadline for students in grades 1-12 to open enroll for the upcoming school year.

March 2

Applications for students grades 1-12 will be denied unless the parent or guardian is able to demonstrate good cause.

* 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.

Back to top

Good Cause Circumstances

The following circumstances are considered "good cause" and are acceptable conditions for a timeline waiver if the change occurred or began after March 1 (or September 1):

  • Change in family district of residence 
  • Change in child’s residence from one parent or guardian to the residence of a different parent or guardian
  • Change in the state in which the family residence is located
  • Change in the marital status of the student's parents resulting in a change in resident district
  • Change in guardianship or custody proceeding that results in a change in resident district
  • Placement of the child in foster care resulting in a change of residence 
  • Adoption 
  • Participation in a foreign exchange program 
  • Initial placement of a preschool student in a special education program requiring SDI
  • Participation in a substance abuse or mental health treatment program resulting in a change of residence
  • Change in the status of a child’s resident district such as removal of accreditation by the Iowa State Board of Education (State Board), surrender of accreditation, or permanent closure of a private school after March 1 
  • Revocation of a charter school contract as provided in section 256F.8
  • Failure of district negotiations for whole grade sharing or the rejection of a whole grade sharing agreement after March 1*
  • Failure of district negotiations for reorganization or rejection of a proposed reorganization plan after March 1*
  • Failure of district negotiations for a dissolution agreement after March 1*
  • Loss of accreditation or permanent closure of a private school after March 1


Circumstances not defined above that would be considered good cause (and subject to the approval of the board of the resident district and the board of the receiving district) include:

  • Repeated student harassment that the resident district cannot adequately address  or
  • The child has a serious health condition that a school district cannot adequately address 

*The request must be filed within 45 days of last board action or within 30 days of certification of an election, whichever is applicable. This is only applicable to affected students.

Back to top

Open Enrollment Application and Information

Open Enrollment Application for the 2024-2025 and 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. 

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.

2023-2024 Open Enrollment Billing Chart - Open enrollment billing guidance for 2024-2025 will be available in August after the 2023-2024 billing cycle is complete. Please see below for billing information for prior school years.

2024-2025 Open Enrollment Transportation Assistance - 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. Please see below for qualifying income thresholds for the prior school year.

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.

Back to top


General Open Enrollment Questions

Open Enrollment Online School Questions

Open Enrollment Billing Questions

District Transportation Assistance Billing Questions

Back to top