As the District of Columbia’s state education agency, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) works to ensure that all District students and families have equitable access to education options. This requires a robust system of compliance and enforcement to ensure that public schools in the District, including DC Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools, are available, first and foremost, to bona fide residents of the District. Verifying residency is an important requirement to protect District taxpayers and resources. To achieve this goal, OSSE engages in review of residency documentation during the annual enrollment audit of all public schools, both DCPS and public charter schools, as well as publicly funded pre-Kindergarten programs in community-based organizations.
Student residency verifications and investigations are conducted in accordance with the following laws and regulations:
- District of Columbia Nonresident Tuition Act, effective Sept. 8, 1960 (74 Stat. 854; DC Official Code § 38-301 et seq.); and
- Chapter 50 in Title 5-A of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (5-A DCMR § 5000 et seq.).
Residency verification in the District begins at the school. It is the responsibility of each school and local education agency (LEA) to collect accurate documentation to verify residency of students at the time of
enrollment. The purpose of this handbook is to provide primarily LEAs and schools, but also families, with additional guidance during the residency verification process and address many questions that arise during the residency investigation process. It also includes an overview of all functions within the OSSE Office of Enrollment and Residency (OER). However, this handbook is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice by an attorney. Please contact OSSE’s Office of Enrollment and Residency for specific guidance if the issue you are attempting to address is not explicitly discussed in this handbook.
This document was published in March 2020, and is updated every year as needed, but specific sections may be updated throughout the year via electronic “OER Policy Bulletins” which are provided directly to LEAs and published on OSSE’s website.
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