Traditional Public School (District Schools)

Ohio’s public school districts provide a tuition free education that is available to all students who reside in the district. Every student in Ohio is assigned to a public school building based on their address of residence. Many public school districts offer additional educational options within their district such as; Open enrollment, Career tech/Vocational school, and Magnet schools that offer a specific educational focus such as STEM or College prep. Admission to the additional options is not guaranteed and is subject to enrollment criteria and space available in each program.

Additional educational choices within a public school district may be available such as intra-district enrollment where students may attend a school building within the district that is not their designated school of residence. Magnet schools within a district may provide specialized programs such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programming (STEM), arts-based instruction or career and technical training.

Some school districts allow open enrollment outside of the district for educational options such as College Credit Plus (dual enrollment in higher education), STEM schools, and career and technical programs.

Open Enrollment

Under state law, each public school district can decide whether or not to enroll students from other districts through open enrollment. Districts have three options: (1) accept open enrollment students from any Ohio district, (2) accept only open enrollment students from adjacent districts, or (3) opt to not participate in open enrollment. Approximately 75% of Ohio school districts accept students through open enrollment. During the 2018-19 school year, more than 90,000 students took advantage of open enrollment, making open enrollment one of the largest educational options in the state.

Unlike when a student enrolls in a private or charter school, parents of students enrolled in a district other than the district of residence are responsible for transportation. Some districts provide transportation to open enrolled students. Parents are urged to talk with districts about whether the district provides transportation for students participating in open enrollment.  

A list of open enrollment districts is available here.

Career and Technical Programs

Career and technical training programs are available to students enrolled in a traditional public school district or charter school. Some districts are part of a joint vocational district and have access to a career center. Other districts work together to provide these programs through career compacts. If you are interested in finding a program near you, a list of associated programs by school district is available here.


Established criteria can receive designation as a STEM school.  Additionally, Ohio funds stand-alone STEM schools that operate independent of a school district.

A list of STEM schools is available here.

College Credit Plus 

The College Credit Plus Program (CCP) permits students enrolled in grades 7 – 12 to earn both high school and college credit through enrollment and successful completion of college courses. CCP covers the cost for tuition, books or fees for students attending a public institution of higher education. (There may be fees associated with enrollment in a private college or for homeschooled students.)

Joint Vocational School Districts

A Joint Vocational School District is a public school that primarily serves students in several school districts with vocational and workforce related programs. Joint Vocational School Districts offer a tuition-free option for students in Ohio. Students must be a resident of the county or area that the JVSD serves unless open enrollment is permitted.

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