Schools and Child Care
When bringing family members to the U.S., there are additional considerations you should be making prior to arrival and soon after family members arrive. It is recommended that you arrive before the family so you can ensure you have finalized many of the necessary details for living in the U.S.
Massachusetts requires children aged 6 to 16 to be enrolled in school and all cities in the state offer free public education for children starting at age 3. The school year runs from late August or September through June.
The information below is intended to provide guidance on enrolling your child in school but you should also discuss your needs with your local school district.
If you live in Amherst, Pelham, Leverett, or Shutesbury, contact: Amherst-Pelham Regional Public Schools
If you live in Sunderland, contact: the Town of Sunderland
If you live in Belchertown, contact: Belchertown Public Schools
If you live in Hadley, contact: Hadley Public Schools
If you live in Northampton, contact: Northampton Public Schools
For all other locations, search the name of your town and “public schools.”
In Massachusetts, you may also choose to send your child to school outside of the community where you reside, using what is known as “school choice.” You should contact the school district where you want to send your child to determine their process for school choice.
Records Needed for Schools
Families need to bring birth certificates, school records, and medical records for their children. Massachusetts requires proof of immunization for children against childhood diseases before they can enroll in school or child care programs. School-age children (5-18) are eligible to attend public schools at no cost in the town in which they live.
You may need additional assistance with your child’s supervision if they are too young for school or need care after school. Expect to spend from $12-15 an hour for child care and after-school programs. Contact our office or your town's school department for more details.
The UMass Center for Early Education and Care (CEEC) offers child care services for University students and employees on a sliding fee scale. For further questions regarding the facilities please call (413) 545-5317.
The CEEC also provides a list of off-campus babysitters.
Important Things to Know
Car Seat Requirements (all children under a certain age are expected to be in a car seat)
Health Insurance: the state of Massachusetts requires all residents (and their family members) to be enrolled in health insurance to assist with health needs.
- Students in 5+ credits are automatically enrolled in the University Health Plan. Students have the option of adding their family members. See the University Health Services website for further details.
- UMass Employees should work with Human Resources to determine your eligibility.
- Non-UMass employees who need medical insurance: there are numerous private companies that specialize in health insurance for international visitors. More information on health insurance is available here.