Free Online Schools


02 June 2020

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One of the most common questions regarding online schools is how you can attend one for free. The online learning industry currently has free and commercial online schools. Free types of online schools include:

Online charter schools
State Departments of Education Online Schools
Public School District Online Schools
What type of school is the best option for you may vary.

Online charter schools

A charter school is an educational organization that does not have to follow all the rules of more traditional schools. However, they are still public schools and must accept students as long as they have space available.

Charter schools were established, in part, to be able to innovate. One of the innovations that several charter schools are bringing their program online. Since they are public schools, they must be free.

State Departments of Education Online Schools

Several state departments of education have established online schools. Usually, however, these are not full-time efforts for students, but are ways to take courses online for free (or at a very low price).

Generally, the courses offered are Advanced Placement, Foreign Languages, More Advanced Math. The reason for these particular courses has to do with providing access to college preparatory courses for students living in small towns. Take, for example, Georgia, which has only a few larger cities and many, many small towns. The likelihood of finding teachers for such courses can be challenging. By offering these courses online, students have excellent access to college.

Public School District Online Schools

Increasingly, public schools offer full- and part-time online programs. Because they are a public school, the courses must be free. The reasons vary for why they offer online programs, but it is often related to being competitive with the many free online schools out there (and the fact that those free online schools are attracting their students to their schools).

What are the rules?

There are two basic rules regarding being admitted to free online schools. Are:

Are you the right age for school? and
Do you live in the correct geographic region?
With traditional public schools and state departments of education, the maximum age is around 18 years and is linked to the traditional K-12 system. More importantly, it may be linked to the grade. If you have completed twelfth grade (whether you have passed the grade or not), you have probably finished and will need to look for other options.

Charter schools can be a different story. Some charter schools may accept students up to the age of twenty-one, but this varies widely. You will need to contact your local charter school online to find out your age limits.

In terms of the correct geographic region, to qualify for DOE public schools and state schools, you will likely have to live in the correct school district, and certainly the correct state.

Again, charter schools are somewhat different. Charter schools can often accept students from their own counties and adjacent counties. This gives them much more freedom with whom they can accept.

What happens if you don't meet the guidelines?

With most things, there always seems to be a workaround. That is not the case in these situations. Funding is usually linked to the type of school. The age requirement is absolute. Living in the right place is an absolute.

That said, if moving is possible, this could qualify you for one of those free online course seats. This may be easier than you think. If you live in a county too far from an online charter school, there is a chance to live with another family member or friend. Okay, you should actually live there and not be trying to rip off the system. Sooner or later they will catch you,


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