Public School Choice


News and Updates

  • The 2015 Public School Choice (PSC) application period is closed. Students who applied for a PSC transfer were sent decision letters by mail in July 2015.
  • PSC transfer offers for the 2015-16 school year have expired as of September 25, 2015.
  • The PSC application period will re-open in Spring 2016.

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 allow students who attend an eligible lower-performing school an opportunity to apply for transfer to a school “In Good Standing” status as determined by the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Priority is given to students who are identified as low-performing and low income.

In 2014, 6,662 families applied for transfers through the PSC program. Citywide, there were 12,015 available seats, and 4,848 students received a transfer offer to a school “In Good Standing” status as determined by NYSED.

Public School Choice (PSC) Eligibility

Who is eligible for a PSC transfer?

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:

  1. Priority or Focus: Title I schools identified by the NYSED as Priority or Focus if they are among the lowest performing statewide in terms of overall performance, graduation rate, and/or other criteria.
  2.  Phase Out: The NYCDOE decides which schools should phase out due to low performance and/or low demand. Phase out is a process of gradual closure over a two- to three-year period.

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 schools status. 

Click here to see the schools whose students may be eligible to transfer via the PSC process.

PSC Timeline

  • A signed and completed PSC application must be submitted using the enclosed return envelope by Friday, April 24, 2015
  • Decision letters will be mailed to families in early July.
  • Information Sessions are held in all five boroughs to help families learn about the PSC program and the tools needed to make informed decisions beginning in early March


The Application Process

Selecting Schools

All of your school options are listed in the PSC transfer application which is mailed to your home. You may select as many schools as you like, but the process does not consider the order of your preferences. You should pick at least four schools from the list to increase your chances of receiving a transfer offer. Additional schools cannot be added to your application. Your child may be matched to any school that you select, so choose only those schools you are willing to attend.

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 chosen schools have open seats. “Other Schools” assignments will be made randomly.

Submitting the Application

If you would like to request a transfer for your child, you must sign and mail the completed application by mail using the enclosed return envelope. If you do not submit the application by the deadline, we will conclude you do not want to participate in the program and your child will remain enrolled in his or her current school. The application must be postmarked by Friday, April 24, 2015.

PSC is an optional program. If you would like your child to stay at their current school, you do not need to submit an application. You can also decline by checking NO on the application.

Decision Letters

Decision letters will be mailed to families in July. Offers 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, and there is no guarantee that you will receive a transfer offer for your child. If your child does not meet the grade requirements for promotion at the end of the school year, his or her transfer offer will be rescinded.

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

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. Find more information about the programs and activities available at the schools you select. You can also contact the selected schools on your application about curriculum offerings and after-school programs that may interest you.


We encourage you to consider the distance your child will have to travel to get to any school that you select on your application. Use the MTA website to estimate the best route and the distance/time from your home to a school. Make sure you consider how long it takes to get from your home to every school you select on your application. Students who transfer to a different school through PSC will receive transportation through the final grade of that school. Transportation could be a yellow school bus or a full fare Metro Card.

You may call the Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) at 718-392-8855 the week before school starts to confirm transportation to the new school. 

The following transportation rules apply to PSC transfers:
  • Students in grades K-2 who live less than ½ mile from their school are eligible for a full-fare Metro Card.
  • Students in grades K-2 who live more than ½ mile from their school are eligible for yellow school bus transportation.
  • Students in grades 3-6 who live less than a mile from their school are eligible to receive a full-fare Metro Card.
  • Students in grades 3-6 who live more than a mile or more from their school are eligible to receive yellow bus service.
  • Students in grades 7-12 are eligible to receive full-fare Metro Cards, regardless of the distance they must travel to school.


 Public School Choice Additional Resources


Public School Choice Success Stories

Making the Transition

Some schools are truly exceptional. They have made significant strides to inspire and encourage their students, narrowing achievement gaps and have improved student performance. Click on the video below to see how Astor Collegiate Academy has made a memorable impact on Martin Sanders. View the PSC Success Story Video “Making the Transition



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 2015-2016 PDS schools can be found on the NYSED website. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I required to transfer my child?
No, the program is not mandatory and students are not required to transfer.  However students enrolled at a designated PDS schools but must be offered the opportunity 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 is 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.


 Persistently Dangerous Schools (PDS) Additional Resources