School Open Enrollment

Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid


Students are assigned schools based on their home address. This is their assigned home district. Parents or guardians looking to enroll their student in a district other than their assigned district can request to open enroll their student. Before this year, families were required to submit a request to open enroll their students before March 1st for the fall semester. Because of changes to the current law, this deadline is no longer in effect. Parents or guardians may notify the current school district of their intention to enroll the student in another school district throughout the year.

To open enroll in another district, the parents or guardian must notify both their home district and the receiving district by completing the Open Enrollment Application through the Iowa Department of Education found here. Open enrollment requests should be made for a full year.

The board of the receiving district will decide whether to accept the open enrollment request. In most cases, an open enrollment request will be granted if there are resources and space to take on the student. Parents or guardians and the resident district will be provided a copy of the form within five days if the board accepts the request.

The board may deny an open enrollment request for a number of reasons, such as insufficient classroom space or a lack of resources, including special education resources. An open enrollment request may also be denied if it is against a desegregation order.

Parents or guardians cannot appeal the board’s decision unless the denial is because it is against a desegregation order. In that case, the parent or guardian may appeal to the superintendent of the board.

A student who was open enrolled may return to their home district at any time after the parent or guardian notifies both the open enrollment district and the home district in writing.

For more information, parents and guardians can visit their school district website.


Last Review and Update: Jul 20, 2022
Back to top