For Parents and Students
Student eligibility and application process
All New Jersey students are eligible to become choice students and cannot be selected on the basis of academic aptitude, athletic ability, behavior record, English language proficiency, or any basis prohibited by law. A choice district that offers a special program with a particular focus may evaluate prospective students on their interest in the program and must use the same enrollment criteria used for the resident students. Students interested in enrolling in a choice district must follow the student application process.
Student applicants fall into one of 3 categories: Tier 1 or Tier 2, or those with enrollment preference.
A Tier 1 student must be enrolled in a NJ public school in his or her resident school district for the entire year immediately preceding enrollment in a choice district. Charter school students are considered to be Tier 1. If applying for kindergarten, a student must be attending his or her resident district's public and free preschool or, if that district does not offer a public and free preschool, have a sibling currently attending the choice district. Choice districts must first fill their available seats with Tier 1 students. If the number of Tier 1 applications exceeds the number of choice seats available, the choice district must hold a lottery to randomly select students.
Tier 2 students include NJ residents who have not attended their resident public school for the entire year immediately prior to enrollment in the desired choice district and do not otherwise meet the requirements for Tier 1.
Choice districts are not obligated to accept Tier 2 students and should be stated in their choice enrollment policy. If a choice district accepts Tier 2 applicants, they may do so only after all of the qualified Tier 1 applicants have been accepted. If the number of Tier 2 applications exceeds the number of choice seats available, the choice district must hold a lottery to select of students. Parents should contact their desired choice district to find out if they accept Tier 2 applications.
Students who may be given enrollment preference in the application process
Choice districts may give enrollment preference to students in the following circumstances: 1) students who have siblings currently attending the choice district; 2) choice students who have completed the terminal grade of the sending district (i.e., students who attend a choice district with grades that terminate before 12th grade and with a natural progression to another choice district); and 3) resident students of the choice district who move out of the district during the course of the school year and want to remain in the district in the next year. If any of these circumstances apply to your student, please contact the choice district you are interested in attending to confirm their policies.
Transportation of choice students is not guaranteed. To be eligible for transportation services, a student must live within 20 miles of the school. If the cost of transportation will exceed $884, the parent/guardian will be given $884 as aid in lieu of transportation and, in some cases, the option of receiving the transportation and paying the additional amount over $884. By Aug. 1, 2015, parents should receive notification of their transportation options from the resident district. For more information, read the Transportation Procedures for choice students.