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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL
 

1. Q: What is educational travel?

2. Q: My child is attending college in Boston but needs to attend a seminar in DC near the end of the semester. It would be less expensive to travel her from DC to post than from Boston to post. Could I fly her from DC to post on a cost construct basis?

3. Q: My son departed post on the first leg of educational travel on August 10, 2008 and returned to post on December 24, 2008. May he use educational travel to return to school at the end of January in 2009?

4. Q: My daughter, whose anniversary date is December 18, completed her last leg of educational travel on January 5, 2007. Our family transferred back to the United States in the summer of 2007. We are getting ready to transfer to a new foreign assignment and will arrive at post in late August 2009. We want to make sure that our daughter completes her educational travel properly. Is her anniversary date still December 18th? Can she use the educational travel benefit in September 2009?

5. Q: Does my child have to be on my orders to receive the educational travel allowance?

6. Q: My son is enrolled in a U.S college and wishes to travel between post and a school in a foreign area for his junior year abroad program. Will the educational travel allowance pay?

7. Q: My daughter was using the educational travel benefit to travel between post and school while she lived with her grandmother in Texas and attended high school. She last traveled to school on educational travel five months ago. Now that she has finished the 9th grade and turned 15, I feel that she is old enough to attend boarding school. Can I use the away from post education allowance to send her to boarding school in New York for 10th grade?

8. Q: How much unaccompanied air baggage (UAB) is allowed under educational travel?

9. Q: Can a student using educational travel opt to put their belongings in storage during school breaks rather than bring all the unaccompanied air baggage (UAB) back to post each year?

10. Q: May I cost construct my child's UAB shipment to a foreign location other than the post to which I am assigned?

11. Q: My son is attending boarding school in the fall. How much unaccompanied air baggage (UAB) is he authorized?

12. Q: My son has completed his one round trip on educational travel for this year, but would like to go back to school a month before his anniversary date. He will not be using the benefit next year, as we will be returning to the United States two months after his anniversary date. If I pay for his travel to school now, will the Government reimburse me once he becomes eligible?

13. Q: Can an employee be reimbursed for educational travel if his/her child is a cadet or midshipman at a U.S military service academy (West Point, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, etc.)?

14. Q: What is the age limit for Educational Travel?

15. Q: My daughter, who is 22 years old, has just graduated from college. She traveled with me to post four years ago and has used the educational travel allowance during that period. The Human Resources officer said I couldn't use post funds to bring her to post because she is no longer considered an eligible family member. Can I bring my daughter back to post on educational travel orders? If I do bring her back to post, can she depart on my PCS orders?

16. Q: My son is attending a college in upstate New York and used the educational travel benefit to visit me at post three months ago. His father, my ex-husband, also resides in New York. Can my son use the children of separated parents travel benefit to visit me at post next month?

17. Q: Our daughter is attending a university in California and used the educational travel benefit to visit me at my post of assignment, Conakry, three months ago. My spouse [or domestic partnership employee parent] is assigned to Oslo. Can our daughter use the children of separated parents benefit to visit my spouse [or domestic partnership employee parent] in Oslo? She is on my orders.

18. Q: Can I use Rest and Recuperation (R&R) travel for my child to travel between her university and post if she didn't join the family on our last R&R trip? I will use educational travel to send my daughter to her university in August and will use the second leg of educational travel to bring her back for her winter break in December. I would like to send her back to school in January using R&R and bring her back to post in June.

19. Q: If my son travels from post to the R&R location with my family and me, can he travel from the R&R point to his university (in the United States) on R&R? Will he then be able to travel from his university to post on educational travel?

20. Q: Can my child use R&R travel to travel between her university and the R&R point? Can educational travel be used for this purpose?

21. Q: Is there any way to combine educational travel or the travel portion of the "away from post education allowance" and R&R?

1. Q: What is educational travel?

A: "Educational travel" is one round trip per twelve-month period to and from an employee's foreign post for an eligible child who attends a secondary school (grades 9 through 12) or an accredited college, university, or other post-secondary institution full-time -- in or outside the United States.

See DSSR 283.1 "Anniversary Date for Travel" for establishing the 12-month period. Legs of travel (one leg to post and one leg from post) must be taken within the 12-month period. Legs of travel cannot be carried forward to a new 12-month period.

Employees cannot receive an education allowance and educational travel simultaneously on behalf of their children. Note: Educational Travel should not be confused with the transportation portion of the Education Allowance when a child attends a school away from the employee's foreign post of assignment.

2. Q: My child is attending college in Boston but needs to attend a seminar in DC near the end of the semester. It would be less expensive to travel her from DC to post than from Boston to post. Could I fly her from DC to post on a cost construct basis?

A: Yes. Educational travel may be cost-constructed using the contract fares between school and post. Should travel to an alternate destination cost more than the constructive Government costs between school and post, the employee must pay the difference (DSSR 285.1).

3. Q: My son departed post on the first leg of educational travel on August 10, 2008 and returned to post on December 24, 2008. May he use educational travel to return to school at the end of January in 2009?

A: No. Because your son first departed post on August 10, 2008, August 10 established his "anniversary date" (DSSR 283.1a) and the beginning of his 12 month period of eligibility to take one leg of travel to post and one leg of travel from post in the 12 month period between August 10, 2008 and August 10, 2009. Your son completed his round trip (one leg of travel in each direction) when he returned to post on December 24, 2008 and is therefore ineligible to commence another round trip of transportation under educational travel until August 10, 2009. The anniversary date fulfills the intent of the law that only one round trip be allowed in a twelve month period. The regulations do, however, provide flexibility to accommodate varying school schedules and allow children to begin the first leg of a subsequent round trip under educational travel up to 30 days prior to reaching the anniversary date. In this case, your son would be able to begin the first leg of his second round trip from post to school under Educational Travel as early as July 11, 2009 (30 days prior to eligibility). You would not be reimbursed for this travel, however, until the anniversary date (August 10, 2009) is reached (DSSR 283.1a).

4. Q: My daughter, whose anniversary date is December 18, completed her last leg of educational travel on January 5, 2007. Our family transferred back to the United States in the summer of 2007. We are getting ready to transfer to a new foreign assignment and will arrive at post in late August 2009. We want to make sure that our daughter completes her educational travel properly. Is her anniversary date still December 18th? Can she use the educational travel benefit in September 2009?

A: The December 18 anniversary date no longer applies because the employee was assigned to the United States for more than twelve months (DSSR 283.1b). If the employee had transferred directly from one foreign post to another foreign post or transferred to the US for less than 12 months, the anniversary date would have remained the same (December 18). The employee will arrive at the new foreign post in August 2009, therefore, your daughter can travel under Educational Travel in September 2009 (following the employee's arrival at the foreign post of assignment). A new anniversary date will be established when the child travels the first leg under Educational Travel (either from the employee's foreign post to school or from school to the employee's foreign post of assignment).

5. Q: Does my child have to be on my orders to receive the educational travel allowance?

A: Yes and No. A child under 21 must be placed on your orders to receive the applicable allowances. However, because a child age 21 and over is not permitted on your orders [except as noted in DSSR 040(m)(2) and (4)], you may receive the educational travel allowance without your child being on your orders as long as you can establish that the child would normally reside with the employee at post except for attending school away from the foreign post. Please note that eligibility for the educational travel benefit ends when your child turns age 23 unless their education was delayed due to military service (DSSR 284).

6. Q: My son is enrolled in a U.S college and wishes to travel between post and a school in a foreign area for his junior year abroad program. Will the educational travel allowance pay?

A: Yes. The law was changed and subsequently the DSSR (effective July 22, 2007) to allow payment of a child's travel expenses between school and the employee's foreign post of assignment once each way annually for secondary or post-secondary education. Educational travel may now be from a school in or outside the United States and may also be at the post-baccalaureate level as long as the child is under 23 (for military service exception, see DSSR 284) and the child resides with the employee at post (unless post is unaccompanied).

7. Q: My daughter was using the educational travel benefit to travel between post and school while she lived with her grandmother in Texas and attended high school. She last traveled to school on educational travel five months ago. Now that she has finished the 9th grade and turned 15, I feel that she is old enough to attend boarding school. Can I use the away from post education allowance to send her to boarding school in New York for 10th grade?

A: You may not use the education allowance for your daughter for the 12 months following the last leg of travel to any school under the educational travel authority. (DSSR 276.3 and 276.42).

8. Q: How much unaccompanied air baggage (UAB) is allowed under educational travel?

A: That depends on your agency's implementing regulations. DSSR 285.1 authorizes expenses for transportation of unaccompanied air baggage, but does not specify the amount. Employees of the foreign affairs agencies may currently transport up to 250 pounds of their children's belongings as UAB (14 FAM 613.3-1). Employees of non-foreign affairs agencies should contact their agency's personnel office for information regarding UAB.

9. Q: Can a student using educational travel opt to put their belongings in storage during school breaks rather than bring all the unaccompanied air baggage (UAB) back to post each year?

A: Yes. Students may store their belongings at school. Reimbursement for storage will be made on a cost construct basis, meaning that the storage cost cannot exceed the cost of shipping authorized UAB to post (DSSR section 285.1).

10. Q: May I cost construct my child's UAB shipment to a foreign location other than the post to which I am assigned?

A: Yes. Your child's authorized UAB may be sent to an alternative location on a cost construct basis. However, any required customs clearance/fees are the employee's personal responsibility. (DSSR 285.1)

11. Q: My son is attending boarding school in the fall. How much unaccompanied air baggage (UAB) is he authorized?

A: The law was changed and subsequently the DSSR (effective July 22, 2007) to allow UAB under the "away from post" education allowance as is allowed under Educational Travel. See DSSR 277.2c(3) for detailed change to the DSSR.

12. Q: My son has completed his one round trip on educational travel for this year, but would like to go back to school a month before his anniversary date. He will not be using the benefit next year, as we will be returning to the United States two months after his anniversary date. If I pay for his travel to school now, will the Government reimburse me once he becomes eligible?

A: The regulations provide flexibility to accommodate varying school schedules and allow children to begin the first leg of a subsequent round trip under educational travel up to 30 days prior to reaching the anniversary date. If the anniversary date is August 10, your son would be able to begin the first leg of his next round trip under Educational Travel as early as July 11 (30 days prior to eligibility). You would not be reimbursed for this travel, however, until the anniversary date (August 10) is reached (DSSR 283.1a).

13. Q: Can an employee be reimbursed for educational travel if his/her child is a cadet or midshipman at a U.S military service academy (West Point, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, etc.)?

A: No. The Office of the Legal Adviser has ruled that students attending U.S military service academies are considered members of the military and receive pay and allowances in their own right. (See 37 USC 422 for more information on cadet allowances). For this reason, a student attending a U.S. military service academy does not meet the definition of a child/dependent as outlined in DSSR 040m(2) and DSSR 281.d.

14. Q: What is the age limit for Educational Travel?

A: For children attending secondary school (grades 9-12), the educational travel benefit terminates on the child's 21st birthday (meaning that the child must be 20 years or younger to use the benefit) unless the child's basic education is delayed due to military service [this will be rare, however, it is stated at DSSR 284CIII]. DSSR 284 D III requires that children wishing to use educational travel for travel between a full-time post-secondary, vocational, or technical institution and the employee's foreign post must be age 22 (before the 23rd birthday) or younger, except when the child's basic education is delayed by military service. The age limitation is extended one year for each year or fractional year of military service.  State Department employees may contact HR/CDA/AD for specific guidance concerning the return travel of children who are twenty-one and older.

15. Q: My daughter, who is 22 years old, has just graduated from college. She traveled with me to post four years ago and has used the educational travel allowance during that period. The Human Resources officer said I couldn't use post funds to bring her to post because she is no longer considered an eligible family member. Can I bring my daughter back to post on educational travel orders? If I do bring her back to post, can she depart on my PCS orders?

A: It depends on whether she has traveled to the US since she turned 21 on HR-funded travel orders. Since she traveled to post on your PCS when she was under 21, she may be eligible to depart post on PCS orders if home leave/return orders were not issued after she turned 21. If home leave/return orders were issued, the child would have been authorized travel to the separation address of record on the home leave/return orders. If your daughter still has a leg of educational travel available, post can fund her educational travel to post provided she travels to post within three months of finishing college and the travel is not within 30 days of your transfer to the U.S. or departure for home leave. You would be responsible for your daughter's travel back to the U.S if HR-funded travel orders already authorized her to travel to your separation address prior to the second leg of educational travel. State Department employees can refer to 14 FAM 511 to learn which dependents are "eligible family members" and eligible for travel benefits. Employees of other agencies should refer to agency implementing regulations for guidance.

16. Q: My son is attending a college in upstate New York and used the educational travel benefit to visit me at post three months ago. His father, my ex-husband, also resides in New York. Can my son use the children of separated parents travel benefit to visit me at post next month?

A: No. Because your son is on your orders, he is considered to be regularly residing with you. Additionally, your son may not use travel of children of separated families to visit you next month because you received an educational travel allowance on his behalf (3 FAM 3752 (A)).

17. Q: Our daughter is attending a university in California and used the educational travel benefit to visit me at my post of assignment, Conakry, three months ago. My spouse [or domestic partnership employee parent] is assigned to Oslo. Can our daughter use the children of separated parents benefit to visit my spouse [or domestic partnership employee parent] in Oslo? She is on my orders.

A: Yes. Your daughter is eligible for the travel of children of separated parents benefit under subsection (B) of 3 FAM 3752. Because your daughter is on your orders, she is considered to be normally residing with you. She may use travel of children of separated parents to visit your spouse [or domestic partnership employee parent] in Oslo since she does not regularly attend school in the country in which your spouse [or domestic partnership employee parent] normally resides. The travel is authorized from Conakry to Oslo. (See 3 FAM 3753.2 concerning married couple employees or domestic partnership employees.)

18. Q: Can I use R&R travel for my child to travel between her university and post if she didn't join the family on our last R&R trip? I will use educational travel to send my daughter to her university in August and will use the second leg of educational travel to bring her back for her winter break in December. I would like to send her back to school in January using R&R and bring her back to post in June.

A: No. R&R travel is normally for the purpose of providing a respite from the conditions of post. Although it is not specifically indicated in 3 FAM 3720 (R&R regulations) how long R&R travel should last, the trip should not be used as a supplement to educational travel. Exceptions to this rule can be made, however, if the management officer at post determines that the travel meets the intent of the regulations. For example, a management officer may allow an employee to use R&R travel benefits to return a child to post from school in cases where the child accompanies the employee to the R&R point and the employee pays for the child's travel from the R&R location to school. In this case, the child did participate in the R&R with the family and the travel is not being used solely to transport the child to and from school.
19. Q: If my son travels from post to the R&R location with my family and me, can he travel from the R&R point to his university (in the United States) on R&R? Will he then be able to travel from his university to post on educational travel?

A: Yes. R&R regulations allow for an employee's child to combine R&R travel with educational travel. The child can use R&R travel to travel from post to the R&R point and then to travel from the R&R point to his university in the United States. From the school (in US), the child can return to post on educational travel.

20. Q: Can my child use R&R travel to travel between her university and the R&R point? Can educational travel be used for this purpose?

A: No. R&R travel must normally begin and end at post unless combined with another form of travel. In cases where R&R travel is combined with another form of travel, at least one leg of R&R travel must be between the post and the R&R point. Educational travel may also not be used for this purpose. DSSR Chapter 280 authorizes the government to pay for travel only between the school and the post, except for in those cases where travel to post is prohibited (e.g., the post is unaccompanied). If travel to post is prohibited, the child may use educational travel to travel to an alternate location to meet his/her parents.   Travel to or from an alternate location may be authorized if cost constructed not to exceed the contract fares (if available) between school and post (DSSR 285.1).

21. Q: Is there any way to combine educational travel or the travel portion of the "away from post education allowance" and R&R?

A: Yes. R&R travel and educational travel can be combined. An employee's child can travel to school on the first leg of educational travel in September, meet his/her parents at the R&R location (first leg of R&R) and subsequently travel to post on the second leg of R&R. When combining R&R and either the "away from post" education allowance or educational travel, here are some rules to remember: Educational travel must be performed between school and post, or between school and alternate location when travel to post is prohibited. R&R travel must generally be performed between the R&R point and post, however, when combined with educational travel or the away from post education allowance, one leg of travel must be between the post and the R&R point. The travel portion of the "away from post" education allowance does not have to be performed between school and post if travel to post is "infeasible" (DSSR section 277.2c). However, this travel is still limited by the cost of travel between school and post, the availability of "away from post" education allowance funds, and the school calendar. See 3 FAM 3721.4d and 3 FAM 3725.3-1.