Student Access to Career and Technical Education

Guidance on the Applicable Statutes

This section provides guidance on the applicable statutes that address student access to career and technical education. Additional information is included as it relates to charter school students, private school students, home schooled students and foreign students.  Career and technical education shall be made available to every student in the high school program. See 22 Pa Code § 4.23 (d)(1).  Districts should not limit the attendance of students eligible for admission to a career and technical center (CTC). 

Non-Participating District of a CTC 
If a student attends a district that does not participate in a CTC, the student may, on obtaining consent of the Joint Operating Committee (JOC) of a CTC, attend that CTC.  See 24 P.S. § 18-1847.  The students of a non-participating district are not limited to attending the CTC that serves the attendance area in which the district is located.  Further, a non-participating district cannot mandate that all of its students attend one particular CTC. 

If a student of a non-participating district attends a CTC, the district of residence must pay for this education. See 24 P.S. § 18-1847. The school district in which the pupil resides shall be charged, for each pupil attending the CTC, an amount equal to the total approved budget for current expenses, debt service and capital outlay divided by the number of pupils enrolled in the school. 

Participating District of a CTC
If a student attends a district that does participate in a CTC, the student must attend the CTC in which the district participates. See 24 P.S. § 1850.1(b) (21).  Only if the JOC were to send a student to another career and technical center, which accepted the student, could a student attend a CTC different from the one in which his or her district is a participating member.  See 24 P.S. § 1850.1(b) (21). This is true even if the CTC in which the district participates does not offer a specific career and technical education program the student is seeking.   

Charter School Students
Students enrolled in charter schools, including cyber charter schools, may enroll in CTCs if the charter school in which the child is enrolled contracts with a CTC for the provision of services. 

Charter schools, including cyber charter schools, are not party to the negotiated agreements between school districts and CTCs.  It is the responsibility of the charter school to decide whether or not to make a career and technical school curriculum available to the student and, if so, to contract with a CTC for the provisions of these services. 

If a charter school student does attend a CTC, the charter school shall receive the full Selected Expenditure to which it is entitled from the student’s resident school district, and the charter school must pay the CTC the established contractual charge for a student who receives a career and technical education.  A student’s school district of residence shall not be responsible for paying a CTC for the career and technical education received by a charter school student.  The Department has no authority to withhold payments from the charter school in the event there are disputes regarding payments to a career and technical school by a charter school. Such disputes shall be resolved between the charter school and the career and technical school based on the contractual agreement between them. 

Private School
If a private school student is a resident of a district that participates in a career and technical center, the student is able to receive career and technical education under the dual-enrollment provision of the School Code.  Pursuant to 24 P.S. § 5-502: “[n]o pupil shall be refused admission to the courses in these additional schools or departments, by reason of the fact that his elementary or academic education is being or has been received in a school other than a public school.” This provision expressly allows students attending non-public schools to dually-enroll in both the non-public school and the public school in order to participate in programs offered at vocational schools. 

Home School
A student receiving home education is not entitled to attend a career and technical education program.  The student, however, may seek admission to a career and technical program. The resident school district is not required to pay tuition if a home-schooled student is admitted to a career and technical education program. 

Foreign Students
Career and technical centers must register with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program to be authorized to enroll foreign students. If CTC is eligible to accept students on F-1 visas, the student must pay the tuition to attend the career and technology center.  The tuition would be the full, unsubsidized per capita cost of the education. 


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