Non-Public School Student Driving Eligibility Certificate Requirements
Conventional non-public schools are those operating only under either Part 1 or Part 2 of Article 39, Chapter 115C of the North Carolina General Statutes. Home schools are those non-public schools operating under Part 3 of Article 39, Chapter 115C of the North Carolina General Statutes. DEC is the abbreviation used in this document for driving eligibility certificate. DMV is the abbreviation for the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles.
Issuance of a DEC by Non-Public Schools
Before issuing a DEC, a conventional non-public school or a home school must already have on file with the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education a currently valid Notice of Intent to Operate. The school must be in operation for at least four months and in compliance with all laws and regulations applicable to conventional non-public schools or home schools, which enroll students subject to compulsory attendance laws.
The chief administrator of a non-public school which is in compliance with all laws and regulations applicable to that type of non-public school may then request DEC forms from the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education -- the exclusive supplier of DEC forms to all non-public schools. These DEC forms are then non-transferable between schools.
If the family moved from out of state, you may not have to wait four months if you can provide proof, you were previously homeschooling four months prior (attendance, enrollment letter, and previous test records must be provided).
Families that have a child in an online private school will need to call or email DNPE to see what they need to submit to get the DEC without opening a home school. They will need to submit proof of enrollment (letter from school), attendance for the previous four months, and current grades (make sure they are in academic compliance).
Student Procedure for Obtaining a DEC
A non-public school student under age 18 currently and properly enrolled in that school and wishing to obtain a North Carolina driver's license or a learner's permit must first obtain a DEC issued from and signed by either the chief administrator (or his/her designee) of the conventional non-public school in which the student is enrolled, or from the chief administrator of the home school in which the student is enrolled. The student must obtain the signed DEC form no more than 30 days before the date the student applies for a North Carolina driver's license or learner's permit. See N.C.G.S. 20-11(n) and 115C-566.
For more information on the issuance or obtaining of a DEC, see the Frequently Asked Questions on Driving Eligibility Certificates.
Student Requirements for Obtaining a DEC
In order for a non-public school student under age 18 to be eligible to receive a DEC, the following requirements must be met:
- The student must be enrolled in a non-public school which is currently meeting all the requirements of Part 1, 2 or 3 of Article 39, Chapter 115C of the North Carolina General Statutes and must be making academic progress toward obtaining a high school diploma or its equivalent -- unless, the student cannot make progress toward obtaining it. That academic progress shall be determined by the chief administrator (or his/her designee) of the non-public school in which the student is enrolled;
- The student must have NOT been expelled, suspended for more than 10 days, or assigned to an alternative education setting for more than 10 days for committing one of the following offenses after the student's 14th birthday or during or after 8th grade:
- Possession or sale of alcohol or a controlled substance on school property or at a school-sponsored or school-related activity;
- Bringing, possession or use of a weapon or firearm on school property; or,
- Assault on a teacher or other school personnel on school property or at a school sponsored or school-related activity.
North Carolina learner's permit/driver's license revocation for these three conduct offenses are mandated for one year and, if the student committed and was disciplined for the offense while the student was age 17, the revocation period may extend past age 18.
A student who has committed one of these offenses may be eligible for a DEC only when the chief school administrator (or his/her designee) has determined that the student has exhausted all administrative appeals, is making academic progress toward high school graduation and meets one of the three following conditions:
- The conduct occurred before the student was age 15 and the student is now at least age 16;
- The conduct occurred after the student reached age 15 and it is at least one year after the student has exhausted all administrative appeals; or,
- The student qualifies for at least a Level 2 North Carolina driver's license, needs the DEC in order to drive to and from school, a drug or alcohol treatment counseling program, or a mental health treatment program, and no other transportation is available. In the case of treatment program attendance, the revocation would be suspended only long enough for completion of the treatment program. Once the treatment program has been completed, the chief administrator of the non-public school must then revoke until the full year revocation period has been satisfied.
A student whose permit/license was revoked or denied due to committing one of these offenses may be eligible for a DEC only if, after 6 months from the date of ineligibility, the chief school administrator (or his/her designee) determines that the student is making academic progress toward high school graduation and that one of the following conditions has been met:
- The student has returned to school or been placed in an alternative educational setting, and has displayed exemplary behavior, as defined only as when a student has no further offenses as listed earlier which would result in the earlier described types of school disciplinary action;
- The disciplinary action was for the possession or sale of alcohol or a controlled substance and the student has successfully completed a drug or alcohol treatment counseling program as determined by the chief administrator (or his/her designee) of the school in which the student was enrolled at the time the offense occurred.
The chief administrator of the non-public school may grant a substantial hardship classification for the student and provide a DEC despite the student's lack of academic progress or a misconduct offense such as listed earlier. Some examples of a substantial hardship could include:
- If the parent/guardian is unable to drive due to illness or other impairment and the student is the only person of driving age in the household;
- If the student requires transportation to and from a job that is necessary to the welfare of the family and is unable by any other means to do so.
Student Appeals Process
For the purposes of N.C.G.S. 115C-566, each conventional non-public school enrolling students who are at least age 15 but not yet age 18, shall establish a DEC Appeals Committee to receive and act on appeals alleging that a DEC was improperly denied by the school. The DEC Appeals Committee shall:
- Be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the chief administrator of the conventional non-public school or his/her designee;
- Consist of at least three members each being either:
- A member of the school's governing board, administration or staff; or,
- A parent/guardian with children currently enrolled in the school
For the purposes of N.C.G.S. 115C-566, a DEC Appeals Committee shall be established exclusively for students enrolled in home schools. The Home School DEC Appeals Committee shall:
- Be appointed by and serve on a voluntary basis at the pleasure of the Director of the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education or his/her designee;
- Consist of at least three members each being the chief administrator of a home school currently operating under Part 3, Article 39, Chapter 115C of the North Carolina General Statutes. One of the members shall be appointed chairperson of the committee by the Director of the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education or his/her designee. That chairperson shall then direct the decision-making work of this committee.
DEC Appeals Committees shall:
- Decide on appeals as to whether or not the student meets the student requirements listed in N.C.G.S. 115C-566 and 20-11(n);
- Consider each written appeal and announce its decision on it within 30 calendar days commencing when the chief administrator receives an appeals request from the student;
- Conclude the matter. There shall be no other avenues of legal appeal for the non-public school student or the student's parents/guardians beyond the appropriate non-public school appeals committee. The decision of the appeals committee shall be legally binding and final.
Whenever a student has been denied a DEC or it is determined by the school that the student after being issued a DEC is no longer meeting the "Student Requirements for Obtaining a DEC.", the chief administrator of the non-public school shall first inform the student of the school's decision and of the availability of the appeals process. All student appeals shall be made in writing within five days of the schools decision and be directed to the chief administrator of the non-public school in which the student is currently enrolled. Whenever the DEC Appeals Committee rules on the matter agreeing with the school's decision to revoke a DEC (or if the student does not wish to appeal the school's decision to revoke), the chief administrator shall then notify the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education.
Notification to North Carolina DMV
Non-public schools shall send written notification to the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education within five calendar days of when a student who is at least age 15 but not yet age 18:
- After having been issued a DEC, is no longer making academic progress toward obtaining a high school diploma or its equivalent;
- Has dropped out of school and will NOT be enrolled in another school (public, conventional non-public, home school or community college);
- Has been disciplined for misconduct listed under "Student Requirements for Obtaining a DEC."
The written notification shall include:
- The student's legal name (first, middle & last as on birth certificate);
- The student's residence address (including street, city and zip code);
- The student's date of birth;
- The student's gender;
- The student's race;
- The student's North Carolina learner's permit/driver's license number;
- The name of the parent/guardian with whom the student is living;
- A statement giving the reason for the revocation;
- The date of the student's ineligibility or withdrawal from school;
- The type of non-public school: Conventional or home?
- The name of the non-public school;
- The county in which the non-public school is located;
- The name of the chief administrator of the non-public school.
Within five calendar days of the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education's receipt of this written notification from a non-public school, the Director of that office or his/her designee shall inform the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles of the notification.