Open Enrollment Policies: State Profile

Open Enrollment Policies: State Profile - Indiana

Last updated: October 2017

Open-enrollment policies allow a student to transfer to a 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 mandatory, voluntary, or both. 

  • Mandatory policies require districts to participate in the program.
  • 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.
  • States with both mandatory and voluntary policies usually require mandatory open enrollment in low-performing schools or districts, in defined regions of the state or in other specific circumstances while allowing voluntary open enrollment in the rest of the state.

View the full open enrollment database here.  Please contact Micah Ann Wixom (303.299.3673 or with questions or comments.

Open Enrollment Survey 2017
Does the state have open enrollment programs? Yes, voluntary interdistrict; mandatory intradistrict and interdistrict within Indianapolis city schools.

Voluntary: Parents may request, in writing, to transfer the student to another school district in the state if the student can be better accommodated because of crowded conditions, curriculum offerings, for medical reasons, or if the student's school is not fully accredited. Districts may have a policy for accepting or rejecting open enrollment students, and receiving districts may accept transfer students without the approval of the sending district. A receiving districts may require transfer students to pay tuition as a condition of the transfer.

School districts may accept transfer students from outside of the district to attend alternative education programs.

Districts without a policy for accepting or rejecting transfer applications are required to establish and publish the number of transfer students it will accept. However, districts without an interdistrict open enrollment policy must accept transferring students if the students meet certain following criteria.

Mandatory: Indianapolis city schools must allow intradistrict transfers. The school board must establish priorities for student assignment. Student assignments are made if space is available.

Citations: Ind. Code Ann. § 20-25-7-1, § 20-25-7-2, § 20-26-11-1 through § 20-26-11-32 511 Ind. Admin. Code 1-6-1 through 1-6-5

Do desegregation provisions impact open enrollment programs? Students must be allowed to transfer in compliance with a court order.

Citations: Ind. Code Ann. § 20-26-11-19

Does the state set priorities for districts to follow when accepting students for open enrollment? Yes, but only for districts that have not established open enrollment transfer policies. Districts without transfer policies must hold a lottery and must give priority to siblings of currently enrolled students and children of district employees. Additionally, they must accept students when all of the following criteria are met:
  • The student attended a private school in the district's attendance area for at least the two preceding school years.
  • The student is transferring because the student's resident district does not offer grades 9-12.
  • The majority of students in the same grade of the transferring student are residents of the school district.
  • The district has capacity to accept students.
All districts are required to accept children of current employees if space is available, and districts must hold a lottery if transfer requests for children of employees exceed capacity. 

Districts may deny admission to a student who has been suspended or expelled during the preceding 12 months for ten or more days or if the student was suspended or expelled for causing physical injury to another person at the school, violating the school's drug or alcohol rules or for possessing a firearm on school grounds.

Citations: Ind. Code Ann. § 20-26-11-6.5, § 20-26-11-32

Who is responsible for student transportation? Unclear, as policies governing transportation expired January 1, 2017.

Citations: Ind. Code Ann. § 20-26-11-26, § 20-26-11-27

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