education options

education options2018-02-24T20:50:09-06:00

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. When your child reaches his or her 6th birthday, you must start complying with New Jersey compulsory attendance law.  see more >

Required Documentation

New Jersey school districts set the requirements for what documentation is required prior to enrolling a student in their district. To get that information, contact the district directly.  

Some legal documents are required for New Jersey students to attend school:

  • Certified Birth Certificate/proof of identity
  • Official copy of records/transcripts from the previous school the child most recently attended
  • A shot immunization record (or proof that immunization is not required for the child)
  • Click here to view the immunization requirements 
  • Proof of home address (for example, a rental agreement or tax statement)

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 New Jersey, 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.

New Jersey Charter Schools

A list of the active charter schools can be found at the New Jersey Department of Education.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about charters can be found at the New Jersey Department of Education.  


Most charter schools do not have attendance zones. If you are interested in applying for your child, you must apply directly to the school. The application and selection process can be quite complicated. Make sure to contact the school early to determine the correct next steps to applying.

Virtual Public Schools

In New Jersey, children attend school online in virtual classrooms with state certified teachers. Currently, there is only one public virtual school in the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey Virtual School

Grades: 6-12

Phone: (732) 695-7800

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. Click below for the complete list of over 1,400 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.


Student Partner Alliance

Provides tuition assistance and mentoring to high school students in Newark, Jersey City, Bayonne, South Orange, Montclair, and Elizabeth.

The Wight Foundation

Provides scholarship grants, based on family income, to attend boarding schools in New England and the Mid-Atlantic. Applicants must be in 7th grade and attend school in Essex, Union, Hudson, Passaic, or Middlesex Counties.

For more information on policy change or to get involved in the school choice movement in New Jersey visit 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.

The Oaks Private School is a fully-accredited private school offering the highest-quality online education to high school and middle school students across the US and around the world. We offer personalized service and customized programs to all of our students.

For a list of more private virtual schools that operate in New Jersey, visit Excellent Education For Everyone Foundation

Home Education

Your options

Under New Jersey law, you must give your child an education that is academically “equivalent” to what he or she would receive at school.

“Equivalent” does not mean “identical.” In practice, if parents have been making a good-faith effort to give their child an education that is appropriate for the child’s age and covers the major subjects, the courts have not ordered them to stop homeschooling.

For comparison purposes, New Jersey’s public high schools usually offer instruction in the following areas:

  • language arts (4 years),
  • math (3 years),
  • science (3 years),
  • world history (1 year),
  • civics and/or U.S. and New Jersey history (2 years),
  • health/safety/physical education (2.5 hours per week for 4 years),
  • financial/economic or business/entrepreneurial (1 semester),
  • visual or performing arts (1 year),
  • foreign language (1 year, or show proficiency),
  • career/technical/vocational (1 year), and
  • “technological literacy,” civics, economics, geography, and “global content” (not as separate subjects, but “integrated” throughout).

Also for comparison purposes, the GED tests reading, writing, social studies, science, and math.

Note: School districts occasionally demand that families send written notice that they are homeschooling, or get approval from the district—but these are not required under the law.

Home School Legal Defense Alliance

visit HSLDA website >

Coalition for Responsible Home Education

visit the coalition’s website >

Support Groups

New Jersey has many homeschool associations that offer classes, curriculum, advising, sports, clubs, socials and recreation. Check out your local support groups 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.

For more information, visit the Education Commision of the States

Course Fees

Parents and families are primarily responsible for course fees, but there is not a set state policy. However, a dual enrollment agreement between a school district and public postsecondary institution must include a provision ensuring an eligible student is not excluded from participation because of an inability to pay.

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