The Office of Enrollment and Residency (OER) has everything you would need to know about the requirements for enrolling your child in any public or public charter school in the District. OER oversees the compliance of enrollment, residency as it relates to enrolling your child, tuition, and non-residency investigations. For any question regarding enrollment and residency, please contact us at [email protected].
OER works diligently to ensure taxpayer funds are being used for the residents of the district. Establishing residency is a key factor in funding public education in the District, and this residency must be proven annually in order to enroll in a DC public school. The school will check proof of residency annually at the time of enrollment or re-enrollment and families should notify the school of any change of residence within three days.
Only resident students of the District can attend DC public schools tuition-free. Families who are eligible include:
- Families regardless of immigration status
- Families experiencing homelessness
A student’s residency is based only on the residency of their parent(s), guardian, custodian, or other primary caregiver. For more information about homeless status and resources, please visit the Homeless Education Program webpage.
To be a resident, you have to:
- Be physically present in DC; and
- Submit valid documentation of DC residence.
To be enrolled in any public school in DC, a parent, guardian, custodian, or other primary caregiver (OPC) must show documents as proof of DC residency for each student assigned to or wishing to attend a traditional public or public charter school in the District. The DC Residency Verification Form must be completed and supporting documentation provided (along with a physical presence in the District) in order to establish residency.
An OPC is a person other than a parent or court appointed custodian or guardian who is the primary provider of both care or control and support to a student who resides with him or her and whose parent, custodian, or guardian is unable to supply such care and support. If you serve as an OPC, complete the OPC form at the time of enrollment.
The following items are accepted documentation of DC residency:
|One of the following||Or two of the following|
Or verify through the Office of Tax and Revenue website
Re-enrolling families/students are often able to verify residency using OTR residency verification process. The person enrolling the student or the adult student must have paid taxes in DC during the previous fiscal year and have the student’s social security number. Login to the system at ossedctax.com. Your information will then be sent directly to your school.
There may be extenuating circumstances that prevent a parent, guardian, custodian, OPC or adult student from producing approved residency verification documents. In such cases, the family can request that the school conduct a home visit to verify residency.
Non-resident families can enroll their student(s) in a public or public charter school in the District under the following conditions:
- There are no DC residents on the waitlist for the school of choice.
- The student receives an offer from the school to enroll.
- There is a signed and completed tuition agreement filed with OSSE. See the Tuition section for more information.
Tuition must be paid annually and re-enrollment can only take place when all tuition is paid in full. Non-resident students must reapply after completing the terminal grade, which is the final grade that a school offers. Non-resident students are not guaranteed a space at a feeder school, which is one that a student has the right to attend based on their current school or other public schools in DC for the following grade.
Adult non-resident students or the parents, guardians, custodians or other primary caregiver of a minor non-resident student attending a District-funded school shall be subject to and responsible for non-resident tuition payments. See current tuition rates.
If a family is found to be a non-resident without a tuition agreement in place, there are penalties. Penalties include:
- Retroactive payment for the time that the student was enrolled; and
- Exclusion from the school.
- Prosecution by the Office of the Attorney General.
- Outstanding debts will be referred to the Central Collections Unit.
If you suspect someone of attending a public school in DC and is not residing in the District, please let us know. You can notify OSSE through our tip line at (202) 715-6500 or by completing the online tip form.
1. I live in MD, but my child(ren) stays with their grandparents, who live in the District, while I am at work. Does this make my child(ren) eligible to attend DC public school without paying tuition?
- No. The grandparent(s) would have to be the Other Primary Caregiver (OPC). There are listed legal reasons for a person to be listed as an OPC.
2. I own a home in DC and use it as a rental property. Can I use that home to prove residency?
- No. A bona fide resident is defined as a person who has established a physical presence in the District. Just owning a property in DC does not make you a resident for the purposes of attending a DC public school, you must also use it as your primary residence.
3. I don’t live in the District but I am a employee of the District, can I enroll my child(ren) without requiring to pay tuition?
- No. As an employee for the District but not being a bona fide resident you would still need a tuition agreement and could not enroll before any DC residents. There are no scholarships or discounts provided for being a District employee. For more information regarding tuition agreement, please contact Veita Clark at [email protected].
4. I don’t live in the District but my child(ren)’s other parent is a resident of the District. Can my child(ren) attend?
- Yes, if one parent is a bona fide resident and provides document to prove residency. The DC resident parent should be the one to enroll the child(ren) in a DC public school.
For more information or questions, please contact us at [email protected]