This year, more than 90 thousand students will be enrolled in public schools in the District of Columbia. OSSE works collaboratively with local education agencies to ensure that schools and families are ready to enroll. OSSE’s work is geared toward both supporting schools and generating broad public awareness to reduce the instances of residency fraud in public schools.
District of Columbia residents are entitled to free public education if documentation is provided that verifies their residency status. Public schools in DC are required to report suspected cases of residency fraud to OSSE. In some cases, non-residents may attend DC public schools, but they must pay tuition after meeting established criteria. In addition, in order for non-residents to attend a public school, that school may not have any residents on its waiting list.
OSSE is kicking off enrollment season for 2018-19 with expanded supports and information for schools, students and families, and the public. Explore below to find resources for schools, families, and information for the public about OSSE’s work in enrolling students and preventing residency fraud.
Increased Focus on Residency Verification
In the 2017-18 school year, OSSE increased its focus on residency verification as part of the annual enrollment audit. During the audit, conducted at all publicly-funded schools and pre-Kindergarten community-based organizations in the District of Columbia, schools that fail a random 20 percent sample of residency verification forms undergo a 100 percent review of all residency documentation. After the audit, OSSE may additionally follow up with families that did not have adequate documentation OSSE may also follow up directly with families whose schools did not have adequate information to prove District residency. If families do not respond or cannot provide residency, OSSE may find these individual families to be non-residents.
In addition to the annual enrollment audit, in the 2017-18 school year OSSE conducted an in-depth investigation into residency verification at Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Please see additional information about three items below.
For DC residents, OSSE is launching a new online residency verification using DC tax returns through a partnership with the Office of Tax and Revenue. Check back soon for more information about accessing online residency verification.
Non-resident families attending public school in the District can pay tuition through the online payment system. Go to the Online Tuition Payment System
We take residency fraud seriously. This spring, OSSE began a sweeping public awareness campaign targeting residency fraud. OSSE is also hiring new staff and updating our technological systems to track and respond to fraud reports. Finally, we have a rigorous new process for investigating residency fraud tips and responding appropriately to verified instances of fraud.
Have a fraud tip? Call our hotline at (202) 719-6500 or Suspicion of Non-Residency.
Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, OSSE began earlier and more comprehensive training on residency verification and the enrollment audit for local education agencies and schools. We also updated residency verification and enrollment forms so they are easier to use for schools and families.
Trainings and Tools for LEAs: 2019-20 School Year
Trainings and Tools for LEAs: 2018-19 School Year
Updated Enrollment Audit
In the 2017-18 school year, OSSE overhauled our enrollment audit process to make the process clearer and less burdensome for schools, and more rigorous in ensuring that we prevent against residency fraud.