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Table 1.2. Compulsory school attendance laws, minimum and maximum age limits for required free education, by state: 2020

State Age of required
school attendance
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   19  
Alaska 7 to 16 1 5   20  
Arizona 6 to 16   5   21  
Arkansas 5 to 18   5   21  
California2 6 to 18   5   21  
             
Colorado 6 to 17   5   21  
Connecticut 5 to 18   5   21  
Delaware 5 to 16   5   21  
District of Columbia 5 to 18   5   3,4
Florida 6 to 16   4   3
             
Georgia 6 to 16   5   20  
Hawaii 5 to 18   5   20  
Idaho 7 to 16   5   21  
Illinois 6 to 17   4   21 5
Indiana 7 to 18   5   3
             
Iowa 6 to 16 6 5   21  
Kansas 7 to 18   5   3,7
Kentucky 6 to 16 8 5   21  
Louisiana 7 to 18   5 9 20 10
Maine 6 to 17   5   20 11
             
Maryland 5 to 18   5   21  
Massachusetts 6 to 16   12,13 12
Michigan 6 to 18   5   20  
Minnesota 7 to 17   5   21  
Mississippi 6 to 17 14 5   21  
             
Missouri 7 to 17 15 5 16 21  
Montana 7 to 16 17 5   19  
Nebraska 6 to 18   5   21  
Nevada 7 to 18   5   21  
New Hampshire 6 to 18   12 21  
             
New Jersey 6 to 16   5   20  
New Mexico 5 to 18   5   22  
New York 6 to 16 18 5   21  
North Carolina 7 to 16   5 19 21  
North Dakota 7 to 16   5   21  
             
Ohio 6 to 18   5   22  
Oklahoma 5 to 18   5   21  
Oregon 6 to 18   5   19 20
Pennsylvania 6 to 18   6   21 21
Rhode Island 5 to 18   5   3
             
South Carolina 5 to 17   5   22  
South Dakota 5 to 18   5   21  
Tennessee 6 to 18   5   3
Texas 6 to 19   5   21  
Utah 6 to 18   5   18  
             
Vermont 6 to 16   5   3
Virginia 5 to 18   5   20  
Washington 8 to 18   5   21  
West Virginia 6 to 16   5   22  
Wisconsin 6 to 18   4   20  
Wyoming 7 to 16   5   21  
1 In Alaska, if a parent or legal guardian of a 6-year-old child enrolls them in the first grade, the child is subject to complusory education provisions.
2 In California, no school district may receive school district apportionments for independent study by students 21 years of age or older or by students 19 years of age or older who have not been continuously enrolled in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, since their 18th birthday.
3 In this state, the maximum age limit to which free education must be offered is not identified in the statute.
4 An adult student who is a resident of the District of Columbia is eligible for free instruction in the schools, as long as the student meets all other criteria and prerequisites for admission.
5 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.
6 In Iowa, children who are 4- or 5-years-old and enrolled in a school district are considered to be of compulsory attendance age unless their parent or legal guardian notifies the school district in writing of their intent to remove the child from enrollment.
7 In Kansas, school districts are not required to provide educational services in a regular school setting to any person who has reached 19 years of age and is not currently enrolled in the school district. If a school district elects not to provide such person with educational services in a regular school setting, the school district shall offer the person educational services in an alternative setting or an alternative educational program.
8 In Kentucky, local school districts may adopt a district-wide policy requiring children between the ages of 6 and 18 to attend school. If 55% of local school districts adopt this policy, all local dictricts are required to adopt a compulsory school age of 6 to 18.
9 Each Louisiana 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.
10 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.
11 In Maine, war veterans who have not completed high school before their 18th birthday may enroll in the public schools in the school administrative units where they reside until they graduate or until the end of the school year in which they reach the age of 25.
12 In this state, local education agencies determine the maximum or minimum age.
13 Each school committee in Massachusetts establishes its own minimum age for school attendance, provided that it is not older than mandatory minimum age established by the state.
14 In Mississippi, compulsory school age includes any child who is 5-years-old or will be 5-years-old on or before September 1 and has enrolled in a full-day public school kindergarten program.
15 In Missouri, the school board of a metropolitan school district for which compulsory attendance age is 17 may adopt a resolution to lower the compulsory attendance age to 16.
16 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.
17 In Montana, school district trustees may admit a child under the age of 5 or an adult over the age of 19 at their discretion if exceptional circumstances warrant waiving the existing age requirements.
18 In New York, local boards of education have the power to require 16- or 17-year-old students who are not employed to attend full time day instruction until the last day of session in the school year in which the student turns 17.
19 In North Carolina, allowances for free education for children under age 5 are given dependent on military service of the student's parent.
20 In Oregon, a school district may choose to admit an individual who is not yet 21-years-old and who is not receiving special education if the individual is in need of additional education to receive a high school diploma.
21 In Pennsylvania, a child who reaches age 21 during the school term and who has not graduated from high school may continue to attend the public schools in their district free of charge until the end of the school term.
SOURCE: Education Commission of the States, Age Requirements for Free and Compulsory Education, retrieved March 22, 2022 from https://reports.ecs.org/comparisons/free-and-compulsory-school-age-requirements-all.