The Ultimate Guide to Tuition-Free Public Charter Schools in North Carolina

The Ultimate Guide to Tuition-Free Public Charter Schools in North Carolina

Let’s face it:

It can be hard to find trusted information about schools.

One of our goals for is to make the enrollment process as simple as process by providing accurate information for parent’s most frequently asked questions.

This guide will provide answers to questions like, “What is a tuition-free public school?”,  “Are charter schools required to be accredited?” and “How do I enroll my student in charter school?”

If you are looking for answers to questions like these, read on!

What is a tuition-free public charter school?

Charter schools are tuition-free public schools of choice, but each charter school is governed independently by a 501c3 non-profit organization. They are typically funded at 80% of what traditional public schools receive. Many charter schools function very efficiently on a “less is more” philosophy. Charter schools typically focus on their own mix of proven academic strategies that best reach their student base. Charter schools also have their own mix of academic philosophies of what students they can serve best via academic remediation, high intellect, Socratic, Basic School, college preparation and STEM approaches to name just a few academic approaches within existing North Carolina charter schools. Unlike traditional public schools, every charter school must demonstrate success, or it will lose its charter.


What are the instructional requirements for a tuition-free public charter school?

Schools must design their programs to at least meet the student performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education and the student performance standards contained in the approved charter application. Charter schools are held to the same accountability model as traditional public schools. They have autonomy in their education programming. To learn more about a certain charter school’s programming, contact that school directly.


How do I enroll my child in a tuition-free public charter school?

Parents should contact each individual school to inquire if it has openings and what the application process is for that charter school. If the school has more applicants than available slots, a lottery must be conducted to fill the slots. Charter school lotteries are required to be publicly conducted and may be attended by any member of the public.


What are the requirements for acceptance into a charter school?

Any child who qualifies to attend a NC public school under the laws of NC is also eligible to be accepted into a charter school. Parents must apply for the school they are interested in having their child/children attend by the stated application deadline. Parents should be aware that, based on the number of applicants for the available school slots, a lottery may be used by the school to determine who is accepted. In that case, acceptance is not guaranteed for all applicants.



Am I permitted to enroll my child in a charter school that is not located in the local school district in which I live?

Yes. Students enrolling in a charter school are not restricted to one local school district. Parents may choose the school that they feel is most appropriate for their child. Charter schools in North Carolina must admit any child residing in NC who is qualified to attend NC schools regardless of which school district the child resides in.



How much does it cost to attend a charter school?

Charter Schools are public schools and are tuition free. Funding for the schools come from federal, state, and local taxes. Charter schools shall not charge tuition or fees, except that a charter school may charge any fees that are charged by the local school administrative unit in which the school is located. A charter school, upon approval by the board of directors of the charter school, may establish fees for extracurricular activities charged by a local school administrative unit in which forty percent (40%) or more of the students enrolled in the charter school reside.



If you are interested in finding the right tuition-free public charter school in North Carolina, take a look at Wayne Preparatory Academy for more information. 

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