District-to-District Open Enrollment

Iowa open enrollment law allows parents/guardians to enroll their student in a public school district other than their district of residence by completing an open enrollment application.

Completed open enrollment applications may be submitted by email to:


by mail or dropped off at:

Office of the Superintendent
Dubuque Community School District
2300 Chaney Road
Dubuque, IA 52001

Application and Handbook

Iowa Open Enrollment Application

The Iowa Open Enrollment Application is available at the district enrollment office, on the Iowa Department of Education website and by selecting the link(s) below.

Application for the 2024-2025 and 2025-2026 School Years (PDF)

Application for the 2023 School Year (PDF)

Iowa Open Enrollment Handbook

The Iowa Open Enrollment Handbook is available on the Iowa Department of Education website and by selecting the link(s) below.

Handbook for the 2023-2024 School Year (PDF)

Additional Information

District-to-District (Inter-District) Open Enrollment is the process by which parents residing in an Iowa district may enroll their children into another Iowa school district under the terms and conditions of Iowa Code section 282.18 and the administrative rules of the Iowa Department of Education, 281 Iowa Administrative Code Chapter 17.

Parents or guardians requesting open enrollment in or out of the school district must complete an application form that is available in the central office of all Iowa school districts and available via the Iowa Department of Education’s website at www.educateiowa.gov/pk-12/options-educational-choice/open-enrollment. The completed form must be filed with both the resident and the receiving district for each child in the family for which open enrollment is desired.

Applications shall indicate the current grade level and whether or not the student is in a special education program. The parent/guardian may request the desired attendance center, but final placement is subject to board or administrative discretion.

According to the Iowa Department of Education Open Enrollment Handbook, students who open enroll in grades nine through 12 are not eligible to participate in varsity contests and competitions during the first 90 school days of transfer (not counting summer school) unless an exception applies allowing immediate eligibility. For a list of exceptions to this rule, please see Iowa Administrative Code subrule 281—36.15(4).

The parent/guardian is responsible for transporting the student to and from the receiving district, unless the family qualifies for transportation assistance according to income guidelines. If the parent/guardian qualifies for transportation assistance and requests it, the resident district must provide transportation assistance in accordance with established guidelines.

The open enrollment application is valid for the duration of the student’s attendance. Open enrollment to the receiving district continues until the student graduates or until the parent/guardian notifies the district in writing that they desire to terminate open enrollment (Iowa Code section 282.18(6)).

The only determining factors in considering approval of an open enrollment request will be if the enrollment will cause a class size to exceed the recommended maximum or if the student has been suspended or expelled without reinstatement from the sending district.

If open enrollment is denied, the parent/guardian may appeal to Iowa District Court. If the application meets good cause due to alleged repeated acts of harassment or if the child is alleged to have a serious health condition that the resident district cannot adequately address, an appeal may be filed with the Iowa State Board of Education.

View Board Policy #6217: District-to-District Open Enrollment (PDF)

View Board Policy #6217-A: District-to-District Open Enrollment Insufficient Classroom Space (PDF)

Visit the Iowa Department of Education website for additional information.