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Table 5.1. Compulsory school attendance laws, minimum and maximum age limits for required free education, by state: 2017

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 1 17 2
Alaska 7 to 16 3 5   20  
Arizona 6 to 16 4 6   21  
Arkansas 5 to 18   5   21  
California5 6 to 18   5   21  
             
Colorado 6 to 17   5   21  
Connecticut 5 to 18 6 5   21  
Delaware 5 to 16   5   21  
District of Columbia 5 to 18   5 7 8
Florida 6 to 16   4    
             
Georgia 6 to 16   5   19  
Hawaii 5 to 18   5   20  
Idaho 7 to 16   5   21  
Illinois 6 to 17   4   21 9
Indiana 7 to 18   5   22  
             
Iowa 6 to 16 10 5   21  
Kansas 7 to 18   5   11
Kentucky 6 to 18   5   21  
Louisiana 7 to 18   5 12 20 13
Maine 7 to 17   5 14 20  
             
Maryland 5 to 18   5   21  
Massachusetts 6 to 16   3 15 22  
Michigan 6 to 18   5   20  
Minnesota 7 to 17   5   21  
Mississippi 6 to 17   5   21  
             
Missouri 7 to 17 16 5 17 21  
Montana 7 to 16 18 5   19  
Nebraska 6 to 18   5   21  
Nevada 7 to 18   5   21 19
New Hampshire 6 to 18     21  
             
New Jersey 6 to 16   5   20  
New Mexico 5 to 18   5    
New York 6 to 16 20 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 21 21  
Oregon 6 to 18   5   19 22
Pennsylvania 8 to 17   6 23 21 24
Rhode Island 5 to 18 25 5   21 26
             
South Carolina 5 to 17   5   22 27
South Dakota 6 to 18 28 5   21  
Tennessee 6 to 18   5    
Texas 6 to 19   5   26  
Utah 6 to 18   5    
             
Vermont 6 to 16 29 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 30 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 California, no school district may receive school district appropriations for independent study by students 21 years of age or older, or by students 19 years of age or older who have not be continuously involved in kindergarten, or any of the 1st to 12th grades, inclusive since their 18th birthday.
6 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.
7 District of Columbia students who are at least 3 years old by September 30 are eligible for admission to the preK-3 program. Students who are 4 years old by September 30 are eligible for the preK-4 program. Students who are 5 years old by September 30 are eligible for kindergarten.
8 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.
9 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.
10 In Iowa, children enrolled in preschool programs (4 years old on or before September 15) are considered to be of compulsory attendance age.
11 Adults in Kansas have access to an education if they enroll in a public school. However, school districts are not required to provide educational services in a regular school setting to anyone who has reached 19 years of age and who is not currently enrolled in a school district. If a school district elects not to provide a person with educational services in a regular school setting, the district must offer the person educational services in an alternative setting or program.
12 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.
13 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.
14 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).
15 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.
16 Missouri requires attendance until 17 or the completion of 16 credits toward high school graduation.
17 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.
18 In Montana, attendance is required until students are 16 or complete 8th grade.
19 In Nevada, students may attend a comprehensive public school until age 21; or, from age 18, they may attend an adult high school program.
There is no upper age limit for adult high schools.
20 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 until the last day of the school year in which the student turns 17.
21 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 free of charge as long as the district has the physical facilities and teaching staff to accommodate the student.
22 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.
23 The board of school directors in any Pennsylvania school district may establish kindergarten programs for children between the ages of 4 and 6.
24 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.
25 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.
26 Although some Rhode Island districts allow students to complete the school year after they turn 21, this practice is not universal and not required.
27 In South Carolina, individuals older than 21 years old may attend night schools.
28 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.
29 Vermont requires students to attend school until they are 16 or complete 10th grade.
30 Wyoming requires students to attend school until they are 16 or complete 10th grade.
SOURCE: Education Commission of the States, Age Requirements for Free and Compulsory Education, retrieved January 8, 2018 from https://www.ecs.org/age-requirements-for-free-and-compulsory-education/. Data Source.