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Choosing a School

smiling teenage students


Students who receive the Opportunity Scholarship or ESA+ have a variety of school choice options, including full-time enrollment in a private school, or co-enrollment in a public school and a private school. The ESA+ program also includes a home school option. Full-time public school is not an option for the Opportunity Scholarship or the ESA+.

How to Choose a School: Opportunity Scholarship

Students with an Opportunity Scholarship must attend a school that accepts direct payments. Find your school of choice in the list of Direct Payment Nonpublic Schools.


How to Choose a School: ESA+

ESA+ students may choose from three different types of schools: a school that accepts direct payment, an ESA+ Reimbursement School, or a home school.

Direct Payment Schools

Direct Payment Schools are schools that receive a direct payment on behalf of Opportunity Scholarship or ESA+ recipients. To find out which schools accept direct payment, visit the list of Direct Payment Nonpublic Schools.

ESA+ Reimbursement Schools

ESA+ Reimbursement Schools are schools that choose not to receive funds directly from the K12 Programs. Families who enroll their students in these schools pay tuition and fees out of pocket and are reimbursed by ESA+.

  • Your nonpublic school of choice must be registered with the North Carolina Division of Nonpublic Schools (DNPE) to use this option. To find out whether your school is registered with DNPE, visit DNPE’s website or consult the school.
  • ESA+ funds may be used to cover the costs required for a student to enroll in a public school other than the public school where the student is assigned to attend. Enrolling in an out-of-district school is contingent on the policies of the local public school district.
  • A student enrolled in an ESA+ Reimbursement School cannot use Opportunity Scholarship funds at that school. Only Direct Payment Schools are eligible to receive funds from an Opportunity Scholarship.

Home Schools (only available to ESA+ students)

Parents of students in a home school spend their ESA+ funds for Allowable Expenses other than tuition.

  • Parents must register a home school for children ages 7-16 with The North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education.
  • Parents should email their home school ID number to*
  • A student enrolled in a home school cannot benefit from Opportunity Scholarship funds. A student can only use an Opportunity Scholarship at a Direct Payment School.

*Home schools that do not have a home school ID because they serve children younger than 7 or older than 16 should email SEAA at


How to Submit Your School Choice

Don’t Wait!

Choose your child’s school by August 1 to ensure timely payment to schools and to avoid award cancellation after October 1.

Before August 1

Go to the “School Choice” section on My Portal to choose or update the school. If your student will attend an ESA+ Reimbursement School, email your school choice to

After August 1

Email the program at or to choose or update a school. The email should include:

  1. Full name of student(s)
  2. Name of New School
  3. City of New School
  4. Enrollment Date

After October 1

A student may lose the award if:

  1. “Unknown” is listed as the school
  2. Student has not been enrolled in school on file


School Transfers

Students who have attended their school of choice and wish to transfer can find more information at: K12 Programs: School Transfers.


More Information

Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC) is a resource to help families find schools. You can use their online tool, NCSchoolsAroundMe, to get a customized list of the schools closest to you. They also offer a Parent Resource Guide for choosing a private school.


North Carolina’s Division of Nonpublic Education registers and monitors nonpublic schools in the State.

The links listed above are for websites not affiliated with the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA). NCSEAA cannot control the content or take responsibility for pages maintained by external providers. Where we provide links to sites or materials generated by a third-party organization or agency, NCSEAA does not, by doing so, endorse any information or opinions appearing in them. We accept no liability over the availability of linked pages.