Public School Choice


Public School Choice News

  • The 2016-17 Public School Choice (PSC) application period is closed. Students who applied for a PSC transfer were mailed letters on a rolling basis beginning in July 2016.
  • PSC transfer offers for the 2016-17 school year have expired as of Friday, September 23, 2016.

Public School Choice Overview

The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) is committed to helping all schools reach higher standards of student achievement by giving every child in every school a quality education.

The Public School Choice (PSC) program was implemented to give students who attend an eligible lower-performing school an opportunity to apply to transfer into schools currently NOT in Priority, Focus or Phase-Out status as determined by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) in accordance with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. Priority is given to students who are identified as low-performing and low income.

In 2016, 5,384 families applied for a Public School Choice transfer. Citywide, there were 9,938 available seats, and 3,591 students received a transfer offer in accordance with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001.


The NYSED and the NYCDOE determine which students can participate in the PSC Program. This year, students are eligible for a PSC transfer if their school is in the following categories:

  • Priority or Focus: Based on the 2016-2017 NYSED school accountability data, Title I schools are identified as Priority or Focus if they are among the lowest performing statewide in terms of overall performance, graduation rate, and/or other criteria.
  • Phase-Out: NYCDOE determines schools to phase out due to low performance and/or low demand.

Students in the terminal grade of their school will not receive a PSC transfer application.

The NYSED determines the accountability status of schools based on its own set of measures. Please visit the NYSED Office of Accountability to find out about your school's status. 


  • Decision letters have been mailed to families on a rolling basis beginning at the end of July 2016.
  • PSC transfer offers for the 2016-17 school year have expired on Friday, September 23, 2016.

Information Sessions

Information Sessions for the 2016-17 school year have concluded. For information about dates, times, and locations of these sessions, click here.

Learn about the Application Process

Completing the PSC Application

Eligible students will have the PSC transfer application mailed to their home. There is no limit to the number of schools you may select. However, you are encouraged to select at least four schools to increase your chances of receiving a PSC transfer offer.  You may select any of the schools that are listed in the PSC transfer application. Please note that there is no order of preference in the application and your child may be matched to any school that you selected.

In addition to choosing schools listed on the application, you can select the “Other Schools” option. By making this selection, you may receive a transfer offer to a school with available seats, if none of your selected schools have seat availability.

Accepting a PSC Offer

Decision letters were mailed to families on a rolling basis beginning in July 2016. Transfer offer letters are made according to seat availability and in accordance with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, which requires that the lowest-performing and lowest-income students have first priority.

The PSC program has high demand and a limited number of seats available at each school. PSC transfer offers are not guaranteed.

PSC transfer offers are not mandatory and can be declined. If you do not want to accept the offer, your child will remain enrolled at his or her current school.

Making Informed Decisions

Consider the following school qualities before you apply:

  • Location
  • School size
  • Academic focus
  • Curriculum offerings and after-school programs
  • Travel and distance time
  • Climate and culture

There are many different types of schools listed on your application. Schools can vary with respect to their size, location, academic focus, and curriculum offerings. Information about the programs and activities available at the schools is here . You may also contact the selected schools on your application about curriculum offerings and after-school programs that may interest you.

Transportation Eligibility

You may be matched to any school you select on your application so please consider travel time as you select your schools. Use MTA Trip Planner to estimate the best route, time and distance from your home to each selected school. Students who transfer to a different school through PSC will receive transportation while enrolled at the school. PSC students not eligible for yellow bus transportation may be assigned a Metro Card that is valid on both MTA subway and buses.

The following Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) eligibility and guidelines apply to PSC transfers:

Grade Level Distance Transportation Type


 Who live less than 1/2 mile from their school  Full Fare Metro Card


 Who live less than 1/2 mile from their school  Yellow Bus


 Who live less than a mile from their school  Full Fare Metro Card


 Who live more than a mile or more from their school  Yellow Bus


 Are eligible to receive only full fare Metro Cards, regardless of distance  Full Fare Metro Card

PSC Additional Resources

  • Read our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to common questions about the PSC program.   
  • To learn about the tools available to help make informed school choice decisions when transferring through the PSC program, please review the Program Information Pamphlet


If you have questions about the PSC program please contact the Office of Student Enrollment at 718-935-2439 or email us at

Persistently Dangerous Schools (PDS) 

The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) is committed to providing the best education and a safe learning environment to all students. Schools identified as Persistently Dangerous Schools (PDS) must present a plan to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) for reducing incidents and increasing safety.

Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), students enrolled at schools designated as persistently dangerous have the opportunity to request a transfer to a school that is NOT persistently dangerous. The Office of Student Enrollment (OSE) offers transfer programs to students where transfer options exist.



Students attending schools that are designated as persistently dangerous are eligible for an opportunity to transfer. Schools are designated persistently dangerous if they have two successive years of serious incidents that meet or exceed criteria established by the NYSED. Eligible families will be mailed a notification letter to their homes in September. The list of 2016-2017 PDS schools can be found on the NYSED website

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I required to transfer my child?

No, participating in the program is not mandatory and students are not required to transfer. If parents are satisfied with their current school, they can decline the transfer option and remain at their current school.

Do I get to choose my transfer school and how are transfer offers determined?
Students are offered a transfer if there is an appropriate transfer option available for the student. PDS is not a choice-based process and there is no student priority. Transfer offers are based on seat availability and are not guaranteed.

If my child requires related services or has an IEP, what transfer options exist?
Transfer options are available for students with special needs.  If a student is given a transfer option, student services are aligned to their transfer school. When considering whether to apply for a PDS transfer, parents should consider their level of satisfaction with the student’s current program. Parents may also wish to contact their current school to ask about the school’s designation and to discuss how they are addressing specific concerns.

PDS Additional Resources