education options

education options2018-02-24T20:07:24-06:00

In Arkansas, you have more options than you may think…

Brick & Mortar Public Schools

Compulsory Attendance

Your child’s age is your first indicator of his or her eligibility for beginning school. Students may start kindergarten if they turn five on or before August 1. A child does not have to enroll in school at age five, but must enroll no later than his or her sixth birthday.  see more >

Required Documentation

Some legal documents are required for Arkansas students to attend school. The parent, guardian, or responsible person shall have to furnish the child’s social security number as well as provide the school district with one of the following documents indicating the child’s age:

  • A birth certificate
  • A statement by the local registrar or a county recorder certifying the child’s date of birth
  • An attested baptismal certificate
  • A passport
  • An affidavit of the date and place of birth by the child’s parent or guardian
  • Previous school records
  • A United States military identification

School Fees

Paying some fees is a part of public education, though it is primarily a free education. Students are expected to supply their own basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, and notebooks. Each district has a list of approved expenditures for students. Fee waiver forms can be requested from the school if there is a situation that prevents a family from being able to pay for required materials or events.

Some typical items on that list include:

  • Lunch
  • Summer school
  • Student parking passes (high school)
  • Lost textbooks
  • Late or lost library books
  • Field trips
  • Special class-required fees (e.g., science lab fees)

Public Charter Schools

What are Charter Schools?

Charter Schools are tuition-free public schools operated by independent, non-profit governing bodies.

Parents, teachers, and community leaders sign a “charter” or contract with a school district or state agency to create a charter school and give students more educational options than their assigned school. Charter schools have flexibility over classroom hours, curriculum, and employment policies, but are subject to periodic reviews based on student performance. In Arkansas, public charter school students are measured against the same academic standards as students in other public schools. Local boards of education monitor the academic and financial performance of charter schools, and, can revoke or refuse to renew a school’s charter.

Arkansas Charter Schools

A list of active charter schools can be found at the Arkansas Department of Education!

Frequently Asked Questions

More information about charters can be found at the Arkansas Department of Education.


If you are interested in applying for your child, visit the Arkansas Department of Education.

Virtual Public Schools

In Arkansas, thousands of children attend school online in virtual classrooms with state certified teachers.

Arkansas Virtual Academy

phone: (866) 339-4951
grades: K–12

Arkansas Connections Academy

phone: (800) 382-6010
grades: K–9

Private Schools

What makes a school “private”?

Private schools charge tuition, and many have a religious mission. Some private schools offer families assistance to make tuition payments. Below is a complete list of over 120 private schools across the state.

Private School Review offers free, detailed information on U.S. private schools combined with useful community data (e.g., housing costs) and maps of the surrounding areas.

*Information on non-public school admission requirements should be obtained from the school directly.


For select students, the state of Arkansas offers school vouchers. These vouchers are designed to give parents with special needs children the option of withdrawing their child from the public school system and receiving a designated amount of funds to help defray the cost of private school tuition.

Learn more about these scholarship programs at EdChoice.

Private Virtual Schools

George Washington University Online High School is an online college preparatory academy for motivated students who are willing to be challenged to become the best students and persons they can be. Combining award-winning curriculum with small class sizes and intensive college counseling, students receive a flexible, individualized education attuned to their own needs and goals.

International Academy is a K12, Inc accredited, online private school for grades K–12. Students earn a U.S. high school diploma while using award-winning K¹² curriculum

They offer extensive, individualized academic and counseling support keep students on track. The flexibility allows students to explore their passions. Full-time and part-time options are available.

International Connections Academy is a fully-accredited, online, college preparatory private school serving K–12 students worldwide. The program combines a top-rated curriculum with talented teachers, cutting-edge technology, the flexibility to learn at home, and direct family involvement to ensure each student realizes his or her full potential.

The Keystone School offers flexible education programs for high school and middle school students. Whether your student wants to study full-time or just needs individual classes, they offer more than 170 courses from credit recovery to world languages and AP. Students can enroll at any time.

Home Education

Your Options

In Arkansas, parents have one option when it comes to educating their children at home.

Arkansas Home School law states that, parents or guardians desiring to provide a home school for their children must give written notice to the superintendent of their local school district of their intent to provide a home school for their children and sign a waiver acknowledging that the State of Arkansas is not liable for the education of their children during the time that the parents choose to homeschool. This waiver has to be signed at the beginning of each school year, but not later than August 15th.

For more information about homeschooling in Arkansas, visit Arkansas Department of Education.

Home School Legal Defense Alliance

visit the HSLDA website >

Coalition for Responsible Home Education

visit the coalition’s website >

Support Groups

Arkansas has many homeschool associations that offer classes, curriculum, advising, sports, clubs, socials and recreation. Check out your local support group here.

Dual Enrollment

College Credit

Dual enrollment courses are college credit courses. High school students enroll in college courses and earn postsecondary credit upon successful completion of the course. High school credit can also be awarded based on local school policy. Dual enrollment courses can be taught on the college campus, at the student’s high school, or online. The location of the course does not affect its status as a dual enrollment course. Home school students are also eligible for dual enrollment.

Information about Dual Enrollment in Arkansas can be found at The Education Commission of the States.

Course Fees

Tuition is paid by the student/parent unless paid by a school district, college scholarship, grant, or private foundation.

Endorsed Concurrent Enrollment: A state-supported two-year or four-year institution of higher education may offer a reduced tuition rate. The reduction in tuition is considered an institutional scholarship.

Enrollment of students who have completed the 8th grade: The student is responsible for all course costs, unless these are paid by the public school district, a college/university scholarship, a grant, or a private foundation. If the course costs are paid by the school district, a college/university scholarship, a grant, or a private foundation, a signed agreement must exist between the school district, the external entity or foundation, and the publicly-supported or private institution of higher education.

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