Open Enrollment Policies: State Profile

Open Enrollment Policies: State Profile - Tennessee

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 intradistrict and interdistrict.

Interdistrict: Transfers are at the discretion of the receiving board of education. Local boards of education may enter into agreements to transfer students between the districts and receiving school districts may set transfer deadlines.

Citations: Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-3104, § 49-6-3105 Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 0520-01-03.03(11)

Do desegregation provisions impact open enrollment programs? Student transfers must be exercised within the limitations of any existing court order or plan developed to comply with the state or federal constitution.

Citations: Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-3104

Does the state set priorities for districts to follow when accepting students for open enrollment? No. However, school districts must enroll the children of teachers who do not live in the district.

Citations: Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-3113

Who is responsible for student transportation? Districts may require parents to provide transportation, although school districts may create transportation agreements with other school districts.

Citations: Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-3104 Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 0520-01-03.03(11)

© 2021 by the Education Commission of the States (ECS). All rights reserved. ECS is the only nationwide, nonpartisan interstate compact devoted to education. 700 Broadway #810, Denver, CO 80203-3442

To request permission to excerpt part of this publication, either in print or electronically, please contact the Education Commission of the States’ Communications Department at 303.299.3636 or

Your Education Policy Team