How to Apply to the METCO Program Lottery


METCO is a free program where Boston students travel to public schools across more than 30 public school districts outside of the city. METCO began in 1966 and has become the largest volunteer school desegregation program in the country. More than 3,000 Boston resident children enroll in METCO partner districts every year.

Click here to apply to the METCO lottery


List of Participating METCO School Districts

There are currently 33 public school districts that participate in the METCO program. 

METCO Lottery Application Timeline & Checklist

Beginning in 2019, acceptance into the METCO program will be determined by lottery. Families interested in being considered for the METCO program must complete the METCO Lottery Application form online. 

October 2019

  • Gather your required documents to complete your METCO Lottery Application. For more specific details about what documents can be accepted, please visit the METCO website:

    • Legal Guardian Photo ID

    • Student birth certificate

    • Student academic records for the last two years of schooling

    • One (1) document proving you OWN OR RENT at a Boston address

    • Two (2) documents proving you LIVE at that Boston address dated within the past 60 days

  • Once these documents are submitted, METCO will verify them. All applicants who have their documents verified will be entered into the lottery. 

  • You can begin the METCO Lottery Application online on October 2. Your application is not complete and you cannot submit it online unless you include your required documents.

December 2019

  • Submit your METCO Lottery Application by the Verification Deadline on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 11:59 PM. 

    • If there is an issue with any of your documents, METCO will contact you directly to advise you about how to fix those issues.

    • By submitting your complete METCO Lottery Application by the Verification Deadline, there is more time to fix any document or application issues before the Final Deadline in January.

January 2020

  • The Final Deadline to submit your METCO Lottery Application online is Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. 

  • In order to verify your documents in time, we strongly recommend you apply by the Verification Deadline in December.

  • The METCO Lottery will take place in early to mid-January 2020.

  • Once you have your METCO Lottery Number, attend a METCO Info Session; dates and times will be made available by METCO at that time.

February–October 2020

  • METCO partner districts begin offering enrollment placements now through October 1.

Frequently Asked Questions about METCO

Why is METCO now using a lottery?

When METCO was designed in 1966, there were no personal computers, internet, or smartphones. Until now, much of the application process has been on paper and families would sign up their newborns in person and wait for years on a waiting list of thousands. 

Now, a lottery application process ensures equal odds for families in a wider range of communities, including recent Boston residents. At the end of the application period, every eligible, verified student has an equal chance to be referred to a METCO partner district through a random lottery.

Do students choose which city or town where they can attend school?

No. Students are referred to districts as space becomes available in each grade, in order of lottery or status number.

Is METCO an income-based program?

No. The application, referral, and placement process does not ask you any information about your income. 

My child has special education needs. Can we still apply to METCO?

Yes. METCO partner districts are required to accommodate students with special needs. Special education needs are not considered during the referral and placement process and METCO partner districts cannot deny placement to any student with special education needs.

When does our family find out if our child has been placed in a school?

METCO partner districts extend placement offers from February through October 1. Students can receive METCO placement offers after the school year has already begun. As such, Boston School Finder recommends every family applying to METCO should also register and apply for other Boston school options. Our School Registration Toolkit can help you get started exploring your Boston school options.

Do I have to pay for transportation to my METCO school?

No. METCO partner districts provide busses to their schools from a limited number of bus stops in Boston, with locations primarily in the Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury neighborhoods. Families are responsible for providing transportation to and from these bus stops.

My family applied last year and/or my child was placed on the METCO Waitlist. Do we have to apply this year?

Yes. You must apply for the METCO Lottery every year if you do not receive placement into a METCO partner school the previous year.

For more answers to Frequently Asked Questions about METCO, please visit the METCO website.

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