open enrollment


Definition of open enrollment

1a chiefly US : the voluntary enrollment of a student in a public school other than the one assigned on the basis of residence Carnegie Vanguard High would continue to offer open enrollment to students from across the district and would still likely offer transportation to all its students.— Shelby Webb
b chiefly US : enrollment on demand as a student in an institution of higher learning irrespective of formal qualifications Open enrollment, long the hallmark of the community college, may soon be a thing of the past.— Rick Diguette
2 chiefly US : a period of time during which someone can join something (such as a health insurance plan) as a member or participant : a period of time during which a person can enroll in something Just one in four people who buy their own insurance or who are uninsured could name the correct deadline (December 15) for open enrollment, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll taken last month.— Dylan Scott

Examples of open enrollment in a Sentence

Many voters support open enrollment. the city's open enrollment policy Employees can sign up for new benefits during open enrollment.
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Recent Examples on the Web Unlike many school districts in the Dallas area, Richardson ISD does not have an open enrollment policy that allows students to attend campuses without living in those schools’ boundaries. Greg Riddle, Dallas News, "Football coach Jim Ledford announces retirement after 21 years at Richardson Berkner," 22 Feb. 2021 Voluntary diversity plans, which five school districts currently use, would be repealed under open enrollment for school districts, according to the fiscal note. Mary Stroka, Washington Examiner, "School choice bill opens more education options for Iowa families," 8 Feb. 2021 The federal health insurance program — accessible at — has seen a crush of signups as the open enrollment deadline approaches, and coronavirus cases continue to surge. Audrey Mcnamara, CBS News, "Crush of Obamacare signups expected before deadline," 15 Dec. 2020 Arizona is an open enrollment state, so students don't have to attend their neighborhood schools, and districts don't track every child in their boundaries. Lily Altavena, USA TODAY, "50,000 students are gone from Arizona public schools. Where did they go?," 30 Oct. 2020 Such competition helps stoke interest in open enrollment, especially in Texas where the uptake is much lower than most states. Dallas News, "Texans are flocking to Obamacare amid the pandemic, and Tuesday’s the last chance to sign up for 2021 coverage," 15 Dec. 2020 Over 915,000 people signed up for Obamacare from November 29 to December 5, the fifth week of open enrollment and most recent data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' weekly enrollment snapshot. Audrey Mcnamara, CBS News, "Crush of Obamacare signups expected before deadline," 15 Dec. 2020 Signups by Florida consumers for Affordable Care Act health care plans increased by 7% during the first three weeks of open enrollment compared to last year, federal figures show. Ron Hurtibise,, "More Floridians turn to Obamacare as pandemic deepens," 1 Dec. 2020 President-elect Biden may expand the open enrollment period, in part because of the pandemic. Rich Exner, cleveland, "2021 personal finance calendar: key dates for tax documents, student grants and loans, Obamacare, Medicare and more - That’s Rich!," 31 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'open enrollment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of open enrollment

1920, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for open enrollment

Time Traveler

The first known use of open enrollment was in 1920

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Statistics for open enrollment

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Open enrollment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for open enrollment

open enrollment


English Language Learners Definition of open enrollment

chiefly US
: a policy or process by which parents may send their children to a different public school than the one in their own community
: a period of time during which you can join something as a member or participant : a period of time during which you can enroll in something

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