Students who are enrolled in the new municipal school districts being created by six Memphis suburbs will not have to pay tuition to enroll in the Shelby County Schools’ competitive optional schools program, according to district officials.

Memphis City Schools has run a network of Optional Schools for years. The  selective-enrollment schools often offer more rigorous academics or specialized programs not available at regular district schools. Students from outside of Memphis have traditionally been able to attend the schools, but they had to pay tuition.

After legacy Memphis City Schools merged with the suburban Shelby County district this June, Shelby County students did not have to pay tuition at all.

That policy is likely to continue for all Shelby County students even after the suburbs create their new districts, according to a spokesman for the district: “There are no plans to charge a tuition for optional schools for residents of municipalities, whether they are current students or new students.”

Some 325 students from outside of Memphis paid tuition to attend Optional Schools before the merger.

Tuition amounts, 2012-13 (pre-merger):

  • Out-of-City (in Shelby County) – $600.00
  • Out-of-County (another TN County) – $2,600.00
  • Out-of-State – $5,300.00

There are more than 12,000 students enrolled in Optional programs this year.

Parents and guardians can obtain applications to the Optional Schools on Monday, Jan. 27 at 6:30 a.m.