Open Enrollment Policies: State Profile

Open Enrollment Policies: State Profile - Virginia

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. Local school boards may establish open enrollment policies allowing students to attend another school within the district. 

Citations: Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-7.1

Do desegregation provisions impact open enrollment programs? Any local board under a court-order to maintain racial balance must maintain that balance when accommodating preference in student assignment.

Citations: Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-269.1

Does the state set priorities for districts to follow when accepting students for open enrollment? No. However, school districts' admission priorities may include preferences for siblings of currently enrolled students, students living in a location that have had a school attendance change in the previous two years, or children of school employees. Schools may also include provisions for a lottery if transfer requests exceed capacity and may prohibit transfers for students who have had certain disciplinary actions.

Citations: Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-7.1

Who is responsible for student transportation? Districts may require that parents provide transportation.

Citations: Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-7.1

© 2022 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