In Pennsylvania, online cyber charters are full-time, tuition-free schools governed by the same rules that bricks-and-mortar charters must follow, including having certified teachers. Charters are awarded by the state Department of Education and typically renewed in five-year increments.
Most cyber charters offer laptops, extracurricular activities, outings, and face-to-face meetings with school staff.
Currently, 27 states, including Pennsylvania, allow full-time online learning.
Susq-Cyber Charter School, Pennsylvania's first cyber school, launched in 1998. Based in Northumberland County, it was created by three school districts.
Funding that cyber schools receive for their students varies because the amount is based on the per-pupil cost of their home school districts. The amount is the same whether students attend traditional charter schools or cyber schools. For students from Philadelphia, the 2010-11 amount is $8,708, or $18,883 for special-education students.