Part-time Enrollment in Public Schools

105 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/10-20.24

Nonpublic school students in Illinois may enroll part-time in public schools if the following conditions are met:

  • There is sufficient space in the public school,
  • Request for attendance in the following school year is submitted before May 1,
  • The student resides in the district where the school is located.

Children with disabilities (as defined by 105 ILCS 5/14-1.02) who are enrolled in nonpublic schools (including homeschools) have a right to enroll part-time in public school (ILCS 5/10-20.24, pursuant to 5/14-6.01).

Extracurricular Activities

According to the Illinois State Board of Education’s Homeschooling FAQs:

Public schools have no obligation to make extracurricular activities open to students who are being homeschooled. There is, however, one exception in the case of a student attending a public school part time who is enrolled in a course that requires an extracurricular component. For example, a homeschooled student enrolled in band at a local public school would be allowed to attend band practice after school if after-school practice was a required part of the course.

According to the Illinois High School Association’s “ Home School Fact Sheet”:

any student, including one who is home schooled, must meet five specific requirements to be eligible for interscholastic participation:

  1. The student must be enrolled at the member high school; this includes taking and passing at least one course at the member school each semester.
  2. The student must be taking and passing a minimum of twenty-five (25) credit hours of work (the equivalent of five .5 credit courses) at the member school or in a program approved by the member school on a weekly and semester basis.  At a minimum, one of the courses must be a course offered at the member high school.
  3. The student must be granted credit toward graduation by the member school for the work taken either at the member school or in a program it approved.
  4. The student must be in compliance with all eligibility requirements of all IHSA By-laws.  (Residence, Transfer, Scholastic Standing, etc.)
  5. The student must pay applicable tuition and fees at the member high school.  Since a student must be earning a minimum of 2.5 credits a semester, the student must pay for 2.5 credits worth of tuition.  For example, if tuition is $4,000 per semester and a full-time student can earn 4 full credits per semester, the full tuition cost is $1,000 per credit.  A student earning 2.5 credits would pay $2500, a student earning 3 credits would pay $3000, etc. 

Driver’s Education

Homeschool students are eligible to participate in driver’s education in public schools. A couple conditions apply.

According to the Illinois State Board of Education:

Illinois school law requires that school districts teaching Grades 9 through 12 shall provide the classroom course and driving portion of driver’s education to eligible homeschooled students in the district. A student is eligible under the following conditions set forth in the School Code (Sections 27- 24.2 and 27-24.4):

  • The parent or guardian of the homeschooled student must notify the local public district by April 1 of the name of the homeschooled student who wishes to take the driver’s education course during the next school year.
  • The parent or guardian of the homeschooled student must provide evidence to the public school that the student has received a passing grade in at least eight courses during the previous two semesters.

If your homeschooled student wishes to enroll in public school driver education classes, you may use one of the sample letters attached below to either confirm or waive the requirements that show your student received a passing grade in at least eight courses during the previous two semesters.

Both classroom instruction and hands-on practice are open to homeschooled students. Please note that a fee of up to $50 may be charged for participating in the course.

105 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/27-24.2

Both the classroom instruction part and the practice driving part of a driver education course shall be open to a resident or non-resident student attending a non-public school in the district wherein the course is offered. Each student attending any public or non-public high school in the district must receive a passing grade in at least 8 courses during the previous 2 semesters prior to enrolling in a driver education course, or the student shall not be permitted to enroll in the course; provided that the local superintendent of schools (with respect to a student attending a public high school in the district) or chief school administrator (with respect to a student attending a non-public high school in the district) may waive the requirement if the superintendent or chief school administrator, as the case may be, deems it to be in the best interest of the student. A student may be allowed to commence the classroom instruction part of such driver education course prior to reaching age 15 if such student then will be eligible to complete the entire course within 12 months after being allowed to commence such classroom instruction.

Subject to rules of the State Board of Education, the school district may charge a reasonable fee, not to exceed $50, to students who participate in the course, unless a student is unable to pay for such a course, in which event the fee for such a student must be waived. However, the district may increase this fee to an amount not to exceed $250 by school board resolution following a public hearing on the increase, which increased fee must be waived for students who participate in the course and are unable to pay for the course. (emphasis added)

Things to keep in mind:

Public school access includes participation in public school classes, sports, activities, etc.

States use a unique vocabulary in this area: “extracurricular,” “cocurricular,” “curricular,” “interscholastic,” “program,” “activity,” etc. Care should be taken to distinguish one from another. When a state defines a word, it is important.

While athletic association rules are not “law,” public schools are generally constrained to operate within them, or their teams could be disqualified.

We strive toward keeping this information 100% up to date in this rapidly changing area of the law. However, this post should not be considered authoritative because of the possibility of unobserved changes in association rules, statutes, regulations, or case decisions, and because of lag time between changes and the publication of updates.

Please note: The information on this page has been reviewed by an attorney, but it should not be taken as legal advice specific to your individual situation.