Table 5.1. Compulsory school attendance laws, minimum and maximum age limits for required free education, by state: 2015
Age of required
Minimum age limit
to which free education
must be offered
Maximum age limit
to which free education
must be offered
|Alabama||6 to 17||5||1||17||2|
|Alaska||7 to 16||3||5||20|
|Arizona||6 to 16||4||5||21|
|Arkansas||5 to 18||5||21|
|California||6 to 18||5||21|
|Colorado||6 to 17||5||21|
|Connecticut||5 to 18||5||5||21|
|Delaware||5 to 16||5||21|
|District of Columbia||5 to 18||5||6||†||7|
|Florida||6 to 16||4||—|
|Georgia||6 to 16||5||20|
|Hawaii||5 to 18||5||20|
|Idaho||7 to 16||5||21|
|Illinois||6 to 17||4||21||8|
|Indiana||7 to 18||5||22|
|Iowa||6 to 16||9||5||21|
|Kansas||7 to 18||5||†|
|Kentucky||6 to 18||5||21|
|Louisiana||7 to 18||5||10||20||11|
|Maine||7 to 17||5||12||20|
|Maryland||5 to 17||5||21|
|Massachusetts||6 to 16||3||13||22|
|Michigan||6 to 18||5||20|
|Minnesota||7 to 17||5||21|
|Mississippi||6 to 17||5||21|
|Missouri||7 to 17||14||5||15||21|
|Montana||7 to 16||16||5||19|
|Nebraska||6 to 18||5||21|
|Nevada||7 to 18||5||†|
|New Hampshire||6 to 18||—||21|
|New Jersey||6 to 16||5||20|
|New Mexico||5 to 18||5||—|
|New York||6 to 16||17||5||21|
|North Carolina||7 to 16||5||21|
|North Dakota||7 to 16||5||21|
|Ohio||6 to 18||5||22|
|Oklahoma||5 to 18||5||18||21|
|Oregon||7 to 18||5||19||19|
|Pennsylvania||8 to 17||6||20||21|
|Rhode Island||6 to 18||21||5||21|
|South Carolina||5 to 17||5||22|
|South Dakota||6 to 18||22||5||21|
|Tennessee||6 to 18||5||†|
|Texas||6 to 18||5||26|
|Utah||6 to 18||5||—|
|Vermont||6 to 16||23||5||—|
|Virginia||5 to 18||5||20|
|Washington||8 to 18||5||21|
|West Virginia||6 to 17||5||22|
|Wisconsin||6 to 18||4||20|
|Wyoming||7 to 16||24||5||21|
—Not available. In this state, local education agencies determine
their maximum or minimum age, or the information is not available in the statute.
† Not applicable. State has not set a maximum age limit.
1 In Alabama, the parent or legal guardian of a 6-year-old child may opt out of enrolling their child by notifying the local board of education, in writing, that the child will not be in school until he or she is 7 years old.
2 In Alabama's city school systems, students are entitled to admission until age 19.
3 Alaska requires that students attend until they are 16 or complete 12th grade.
4 In Arizona, students must attend until they are 16 or complete 10th grade.
5 In Connecticut, the parent of a 5-or 6-year-old child may opt out of enrolling their child until he or she is 7 by signing an option form.
6 District of Columbia students who are at least 3 years old on or before September 30 are eligible for admission to the preK-3 program. A student who is 4 years old before September 30 is eligible for the preK-4 program, and a student who is 5 years old or before September 30 is eligible for kindergarten.
7 An adult student who is a resident of the District of Columbia is eligible for free instruction in the schools.
8 In Illinois, reenrollment is denied to any child 19 years of age or older who has dropped out of school and who cannot, because of age and lack of credits, attend classes during the normal school year and graduate before his or her 21st birthday.
9 In Iowa, children enrolled in preschool programs (4 years old on or before September 15) are considered to be of compulsory attendance age.
10 Each city and parish school board may provide for a child younger than 5 to enter kindergarten if that child has been identified as gifted by the state guidelines.
11 In Louisiana, admission must be granted to any student who is 19 years of age or younger on September 30 or 20 years old on September 30 and has sufficient course credits that he or she will be able to graduate within one school year of admission or readmission.
12 In Maine, students must be at least 5 years old before October 15, or 4 years old by October 15 if they are enrolled in a public preschool program prior to kindergarten (where offered).
13 Each school committee establishes its own minimum age for school attendance.
14 Missouri requires attendance until 17 or the completion of 16 credits toward high school graduation.
15 A child between 5 and 7 years old in Missouri may be excused from attendance at school if a parent or guardian submits a written request.
16 In Montana, attendance is required until students are 16 or complete 8th grade.
17 In New York, the boards of education in the Syracuse, New York City, Rochester, Utica, and Buffalo school districts are authorized to require children who are 5 years old on or before December 1 to attend kindergarten unless the parents elect not to enroll their child until the following September, or the child is enrolled in a non-public school or home instruction. New York local boards of education may require 16-and 17-year old students who are not employed to attend school.
18 In Oklahoma, children who are least 4 years old but not older than 5 on or before September 1 may attend either half-day or full-day programs in their district.
19 In Oregon, a district may admit a student who has not yet turned 21 if he or she requires additional education to receive a diploma.
20 The board of school directors in any school district may establish kindergarten programs for children between the ages of 4 and 6.
21 In Rhode Island, the compulsory age is 16 if a student has an alternative learning plan for obtaining a high school diploma or its equivalent.
22 In South Dakota, the compulsory age limit is 16 if a child enrolls in a general education development test preparation program that is school-based or for which a school contracts, and the child successfully completes the test or reaches the age of 18.
23 In Vermont, individuals who are at least 20 years old may enroll in high school if they do not yet have their diploma. Individuals who between the ages of 16 and 20 may enroll in the General Educational Development Program.
24 Wyoming requires students to attend school until they are 16 or complete 10th grade.
SOURCE: Education Commission of the States, Free and Compulsory School Age Requirements in the United States, retrieved June 15, 2015, from http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/01/18/68/11868.pdf.