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State Tuition

Program Description

School districts that provide educational services to students residing in certain types of facilities are eligible to receive tuition from the state. Students reside in these facilities as a result of action by a unit of local, state or federal government. Districts may apply for reimbursement for the eligible students they enrolled in the prior year.

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Program Overview

This program provides tuition from the state to Wisconsin school districts for enrolling students who reside in eligible facilities defined by s. 121.79, Wis. Stats. Eligible facilities include:

  • Juvenile detention facilities, secured residential care centers for children and youth, county jails and similar placements in the juvenile justice system (termed "children's homes" in the law). This category does not include facilities operated by the State of Wisconsin, including the Departments of Corrections and Health Services.
  • Fort McCoy, the Tomah VA Center, or any other military camp, VA hospital or charitable or penal institution with employees residing on the grounds.
  • Certain foster or group homes. In order for a foster or group home to be an eligible facility for state tuition, it must be either:
    • tax-exempt, where the property is operated by a non-profit organization and is exempt from property taxation; or
    • taxable, where the total number of students from taxable foster or group homes are at least four percent of the district's total enrollment (historically, DPI has evaluated this with the Third Friday pupil count).

If your district funds the educational services provided in these entities, then state tuition is a way for your district to recover an amount representing revenues lost because the student receiving services is not a resident and you could not count them for aid or revenue limit purposes.

CCDEBs are also eligible to receive state tuition but in practice they do not operate as they did when the law was written and no CCDEB has submitted a claim for many years.

Eligible Costs

State tuition eligibility for cost reimbursement is based upon claims submitted by districts for eligible students and costs in the prior year. Claims for the students residing at a facility may be based upon the statutory tuition formula defined in s. 121.83 or the district's actual costs of serving them.


State tuition is a sum-certain appropriation in the biennial budget, which is $8,242,900 in 2021-22 and 2022-23. There is a "first draw" against this amount for Open Enrollment aid transfers from a district whose other aids are insufficient to cover their obligation, so the total distributed for state tuition may be lower. Funding has been sufficient in recent years for full payment of claims but payment eligibility and amounts are prorated if final audited claims exceed the funds available.

Payment Details

State tuition is paid on the first Monday in June. Revenue is coded to Fund 10, Source 641 and/or Fund 27, Source 642, depending on whether a district's claim includes costs for special education and related services.

For questions about this information, contact (608) 267-9114