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Office of Allowances


Frequently Asked Questions 
Education Allowances

1. Q: When is an employee eligible to receive education allowances for their school age dependents?

A: After the employee, or family member, has arrived at the foreign post of assignment, an application [Standard Form (SF-1190) and DSSR 960 Education Allowance worksheet] may be filed including estimates of costs of tuition, books and supplies, required fees, room and board (if applicable), and transportation for an education allowance grant on behalf of each eligible child. Payments, therefore, cannot be processed until the employee, or family member arrives at post. Post management should review DSSR 273, DSSR 276.5, and DSSR 276.6 for additional guidance.

2. Q: My child is applying to multiple schools at post and all require an application fee. Will I get reimbursed for the application fees once I arrive at post? 

A: Normally only the application fee charged by the school the child attends will get reimbursed.  The only time an additional application fee may be reimbursed is when the school the child is expected to be admitted to does not admit the child which then requires an application fee for another school.  For only this reason, the application fees may be reimbursed for both schools.

3. Q: My child has been accepted to a school but they are requiring us to pay non-refundable one-time fees in order to hold the spot. If I pay the fees in advance of our arrival, will I get reimbursed? 

A: Yes, once you are there, but, if you do not arrive at post for any reason, an education allowance cannot be paid. We recommend reaching out to post to see if the school can hold your spot without you paying any fees.

4. Q: When an employee first arrives at a foreign post mid-term following an assignment in the U.S., must the education allowance be pro-rated or may the employee draw the full amount published in DSSR 920?

A: DSSR 274.11 states that an employee normally may be granted for each school year, or fraction thereof, on behalf of a child in grades K-12, up to the rate indicated in Section 920 for their post, grade and educational facility selected (Section 271.c) or in the case of Home Study and Private Instruction the rates indicated in Section 274.12b or in the case of a child with special needs, the special needs education allowance rates indicated in Section 274.12c.  This phrasing allows flexibility if more than a pro-rated amount is required when the child commences an educational method following the employee’s arrival at post mid-term.

Under normal circumstances, the reimbursement for education allowance is calculated on the date the employee, or family member(s), arrives at post. There are, however, two exceptions to this rule: (1) Under certain circumstances boarding school reimbursement may be made for up to one semester when the employee was awaiting commencement of an assignment to a foreign post without adequate schooling (a higher "away from post" education allowance). The child's attendance from the beginning of the school term must be fairly attributable to the pending assignment to a foreign area without adequate schooling. See DSSR 276.7 for a full discussion of limitations and required documentation. (2) If an employee is delayed by temporary duty prior to arrival at their foreign post of assignment, DSSR 276.6 allows payment of the dependent's tuition to cover the period when the employee was in temporary duty status. Payment can be made only upon the employee's, or family member's, arrival at the post of assignment.

5. Q: I thought the education allowance would cover the full costs of my child's tuition. Why am I out-of-pocket for education expenses?

A: Under 5 USC 5924(4), Congress authorized the education allowance to assist in meeting, but not necessarily to fully cover, the education expenses encountered while serving at a foreign post. The education allowance is intended to cover costs of educational services normally free of charge in U.S. public schools. The employee has the freedom of choice to send their children to any school, whether at-post or away-from-post. This may cause considerable out-of-pocket expenses when the school of choice is more expensive than the maximum allowance established for the post.

6. Q: When a new allowance rate is published in DSSR 920 during a school year, must the amounts be pro-rated to reimburse employees at the higher rate only for expenses incurred after the date the new rate is effective?

A: No. Grants for a school year may be made up to the maximum amount authorized in section 920 at any time during the school year (DSSR 274.23). There should be no loss to employees due to the delayed processing of the education allowance questionnaire (DS-63). However, it is important that any reported increases in school fees be forwarded to the Office of Allowances (A/OPR/ALS), U.S. Department of State in sufficient time to allow processing prior to the end of the school year. Increases after the close of the current school year are effective for the next school year only.

7a. Q: Can an employee receive the full lump sum payment for their child's education allowance at the beginning of the school year?

A: DSSR 275 states the following:  Education allowances may be paid in advance, either by lump sum or by installments, only as necessary for the employee to meet periodic educational expenses or when a monetary advantage, such as a discount, would accrue to the Government.  If a grant payment is made by lump sum to the employee, the authorizing officer must require proof of school payment within a reasonable amount of time to certify that school bills were paid at the beginning of the school year.

7b. Q:  Can the authorizing officer make either lump sum or installment payments of the education allowance directly to the school or transportation provider on behalf of the employee?

A:  DSSR 275 states the following:  The authorizing officer can also make either lump sum or installment payments of the education allowance directly to the school or transportation provider on behalf of the employee. If payment is going to be made in this manner, the following statement and name of the selected school or transportation provider should be on the current year SF-1190 for each child: “I hereby authorize the Department of State (or applicable other USG agency) to make education allowance payments on my behalf. I acknowledge that, if all or part of any payment of my education allowance that is made directly to the school or transportation provider is determined by the Department (or applicable other USG agency) to have been paid erroneously or, in the case of an advance payment, the requirements for the payment are found to have not been fulfilled, I [employee name] will be indebted to the Department (or applicable other USG agency) for that amount."

8. Q: During a school break while attending a boarding school away from post, may transportation be reimbursed on a cost-constructive basis for a trip to visit a relative at a location other than the post?

A: Transportation may be authorized to an alternative point when travel to the post is infeasible as determined by the authorizing officer. (DSSR 277.2c(1)) Travel may be to the home of a designated relative, family friend, or to join a parent at any location not to exceed the cost of travel between the school and the post.

9. Q: What expenses are allowable for a child with special needs (DSSR 276.8)?

A: A Special Needs Education Allowance (SNEA) is available for children who, if residing in the United States, would fall under Public Law 108-446, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), or receive services or support pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). Once eligibility is established by a competent education or medical authority, the same allowable expenses specified under DSSR 277 apply equally to the child with special needs unless DSSR 276.8 provides otherwise. To ensure eligibility, parents should work closely with the Department of State's Office of Medical Services Child & Family Programs (MED/CFP), whose staff support the SNEA. (Other agency employees should consult their agency's Medical Office.) Eligible children  under IDEIA are covered by this special needs allowance from birth to the 21st birthday (but see 276.24 for an exception); and children under Section 504 are covered for grades Kindergarten through 12.

Items allowed must be clearly called for by an established Individual Learning Plan (ILP) or Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) or equivalent rather than recommended by the school or parent as desirable. In lieu of the post's established at-post or away-from-post education allowance, the post's authorizing officer may authorize reimbursement for allowable expenses up to the maximum rate provided in DSSR 274.12c for the method chosen (At Post; Away from Post; or Home Study/Private Instruction/Virtual Schooling).

Medical treatment, including psychiatric care, is not an allowable expense under the allowance. However, periodic diagnostic testing as required by the school at post or a medical/education authority is allowable. Travel, accompanied by one family member, to the nearest site away from post where this testing can be done is also allowable, per DSSR 276.8b.

For students planning to use the school away-from-post allowance, travel from the foreign post to the school for a mandatory interview may be allowable as provided in DSSR 276.8b. Expenses itemized in DSSR 277 are allowable, based on the selected method of education (At Post, Away from Post or Home Study/Private Instruction/Virtual Schooling). DSSR 276.8c and DSSR 960 Education Allowance Worksheet list additional allowable and non-allowable expenses and services.

In exceptional circumstances, when costs of services provided for in the ILP/IFSP exceed the maximum rate, the head of agency or designee (DSSR 040e) may authorize reimbursement up to an additional fifty percent for allowable expenses on a post-audit (DSSR 271k) basis, as explained in DSSR 276.81. State Department employees must contact MED/CFP for approval of additional expenses above the maximum rate.  For employees of the Foreign Affairs Agencies, see 3 FAM 3280 for additional information.

10. Q: DSSR 276.3 specifically disqualifies an employee from receiving an education allowance on behalf of a child attending school in the United States if a parent resides in the U.S. Is the employee eligible for the allowance when the parent in the U.S. is divorced from the employee parent?

A: An education allowance shall not be paid for a child in the United States who has a natural or adoptive parent or step-parent residing in the U.S. except where the employee establishes that the parent residing in the U.S. is divested of legal custody of the child, or the parent in the U.S. is mentally or physically unfit to care for the child, or the step-parent is estranged from the employee.  It is important that the post's authorizing official is assured that the child "normally resides with" the employee (see DSSR 040m for definition of family member) at post during non-school ("vacation") time unless the post excludes non-adult family members from accompanying the employee to the post (post has the status of partially or fully unaccompanied) or the reason the child is not present at post is the medical clearance does not permit the child to be present at post during periods when the child is not attending a school away from post (DSSR 276.22). 

11a. Q: Can the education allowance cover funding of a program offered during a 14th year of primary-secondary schooling?

A: No. The education allowance can only cover grades kindergarten through twelve of primary-secondary education, as this is what public schools offer in the United States. However, public schools do offer advanced classes during high school that may lead to eventual college credit for students. Therefore, the education allowance can be used to cover any additional costs for advanced placement (AP) or international baccalaureate (IB) courses taken during the normal thirteen years (K through 12) of primary-secondary education. (See also DSSR 274.12a and 276.9 for Supplementary Instruction and DSSR 271I and DSSR 274.12g for testing reimbursement.)

11b.  Q: Can an education allowance be paid for a child to repeat a grade between kindergarten and grade 12?

A:  Yes.  If a child needs to repeat a grade (kindergarten through 12th) in a U.S. public school this is allowed free of charge.  The intent in law is to provide an education allowance for what is normally provided free of charge in the U.S. public schools.  Therefore, an education allowance may be paid if a child needs to repeat a grade while an employee is assignment to a foreign post.

12. Q: The school my child attends requires all students to participate in field trips or excursion programs. Are the costs of these trips payable under the education allowance program?

A: Per DSSR 277.1g(4) costs of overnight field trips are not an allowable expense, however, day field trips not including an overnight stay are allowable subject to the education allowance maximum.  In the majority of school districts in the United States, costs for overnight trips are borne by parents and not funded by a school district’s budget.  Non-allowable expenses for day field trips include meal costs and any admission fees (examples:  museums, cultural events, performances).

13. Q: Am I required to send my child to the school on which the education  allowance is based?

A: No. Per DSSR 272.3, employees have total freedom of choice to send their children to any school, whether at post or away (DoD civilians should review DoD Directive 1400.25, Subchapter 1250 for additional guidance). However, if the school the child attends is more expensive than the maximum allowance, the parent is responsible for the extra expenses incurred. The allowance is not to be paid for children attending school in the U.S. when there is either another parent (unless divested of custody) or a legal guardian residing in the U.S. [DSSR 276.3(1)]

14. Q: In addition to receiving the "school away-from-post" education allowance, can an employee also receive the Supplementary Instruction allowance for their child?

A: No. Reimbursement for Supplementary Instruction may only be used in conjunction with the "school at post" education allowance. This allowance is intended to supplement the education provided by the school at post. When an employee is receiving the away-from-post education allowance, it is the parent's responsibility to select a school that will provide the necessary education for the child. Post management should review DSSR 274.12a and DSSR 276.9 for guidance on authorizing the Supplementary Instruction allowance.

15. Q: Is reimbursement for Supplementary Instruction allowed while on home leave, renewal agreement travel or R&R?  What about if evacuated from a post?

A: Reimbursement for Supplementary Instruction is not allowed while on home leave, renewal agreement travel or R&R.  See FAQ 16 if evacuated from a foreign post.  Supplementary Instruction is allowed at the foreign post of assignment during the regular school year to supplement the education received at the school at post for reasons DSSR 276.9a. through e.. 

Effective 6/19/2022 DSSR 274.12a was amended to allow Supplementary Instruction at the foreign post of assignment during the break between school years:  “When necessary as a form of prevention, intervention, or remediation due to deficiencies in academic performance and documented by the school at post, Supplementary Instruction may be reimbursed for only a required course or required courses during the break between school years for DSSR 276.9b, c, and d.”  The total amount allowed for Supplementary Instruction during the school year and during the break between school years cannot exceed the amount in DSSR 274.12a.   Example:  if Supplementary Instruction is $4100 and $3500 was used during the school year, $600 would be the maximum allowed between school years.

16. Q: Does an education allowance continue when a child is evacuated?  Can Supplementary Instruction (DSSR 274.12a and DSSR 276.9) in addition to the school at post education allowance continue while a child is evacuated?  What if my child is under the Special Needs Education Allowance when evacuated?

A: Normally education allowances are not payable on behalf of children evacuated from a post in a foreign area to safehaven in the United States if accompanied by a parent, as public schools are available to all residents in the United States (DSSR 621.1 and DSSR 621.2). If, however, there are virtual/online classes set up with the school at post, expenses incurred by the employee/parent at the safehaven location associated with the virtual/online classes offered by the school at post the child is participating in, may be reimbursed under the current year "school at post" education allowance maximum. 

Supplementary Instruction - If a child was approved for and using Supplementary Instruction at the foreign post prior to evacuation, it may continue and be reimbursed only if with the same instructor/instruction started at the foreign post prior to evacuation and only through the end of the current school year unless the provision at DSSR 274.12a pertains:  “When necessary as a form of prevention, intervention, or remediation due to deficiencies in academic performance and documented by the school at post, Supplementary Instruction may be reimbursed for only a required course or required courses during the break between school years for DSSR 276.9b, c, and d.”  The total amount allowed for Supplementary Instruction during the school year and during the break between school years cannot exceed the amount in DSSR 274.12a.   Example:  If Supplementary Instruction is $4100 and $3500 was used during the school year, $600 would be the maximum allowed between school years.

Away from Post Education Allowance - If prior to evacuation, a child was attending school in either the United States or foreign area using the away-from-post education allowance, the rate authorized for the evacuated post may continue for the remainder of the school year (DSSR 621.1; 621.2; and 633.2). The safehaven displaces the post of assignment for travel under both away-from-post education allowance and educational travel for students not allowed to return to post.

Alternate Approved versus Official Foreign Safehaven - When an employee requests, and is granted an alternate foreign location as safehaven, no education allowance is authorized (DSSR 633.3). Although a rare situation, if a foreign area is designated as an official (not alternate) safehaven, education allowances are provided according to DSSR 633.1.

Special Needs Education Allowance - Per DSSR 633.5, if a child already qualifies for and is receiving the special needs education allowance at the foreign post of assignment and that child has no valid, legal Individual Education Plan (IEP) acceptable to U.S. public schools at the U.S. safehaven location for receipt of special education services, then the special needs education allowance may continue to be paid during the evacuation until such time as the U.S. public school begins to provide special services.  See 271m, 276.2, and 276.8.  These expenses may be reimbursed under the current year “school at post” and “special needs” education allowance maximum and may include those items listed in 276.8c.

17. Q: If I drive my children to school can I be reimbursed POV mileage?

A: For a school at post, where school-, commercially-, or USG-provided transportation is not available a private car or car/carpool or rented/leased car may be used. Reimbursement is equivalent to the current GSA-approved rate for the use of a privately owned vehicle (POV) for official business for one round trip per school day between school and home.  DSSR 277.1f, f(6) and f(7)

18a. Q: At what age can my child start school?

A: Per DSSR 271j, "Kindergarten", except for a child with special needs, means a one school-year program like the U.S. public school program immediately preceding grade 1 and does not include the nursery school level. At posts where schools generally follow a U.S school calendar (i.e. school year begins in August or September) the child needs to turn five on or before December 31 of that school year (or by an earlier date if required by the school).  At posts where schools follow another hemisphere calendar, (i.e. school year begins in January or February) a child needs to be at least four years and eight months old by the beginning of the school year. (See exception at DSSR 276.25).

18b.  Q:  My child turns 5 on December 30th, however, the school will not admit him to Kindergarten since the school requires the child turn 5 by September 30th.  He will be allowed to enter the grade below Kindergarten.  Since he turns 5 by December 31st am I eligible for an education allowance?

A:  The date of December 31st leaves the flexibility in case a school at post would allow a child to enter Kindergarten if the child turned 5 on or before December 31st.  In this case, the school requires the child turn five on or before September 30 in order to be admitted to Kindergarten – the year just preceding Grade 1.

Because your child does not meet the school’s age requirement for Kindergarten your child would be placed in the grade below Kindergarten which does not qualify for the education allowance since this is not the year immediately preceding Grade 1.

19. Q: If I am receiving Separate Maintenance Allowance (DSSR 260) for my child, can they use Educational Travel (DSSR 280)?

A: No. Per DSSR 261.2, "An employee who is receiving SMA on behalf of a member of family is not eligible for other allowances or benefits under these [DSSR] regulations on behalf of that member of family except as provided under DSSR 242.7, 252.8, 262.5 and 267.2. Educational Travel is not one of the exceptions.

20. Q: Can I receive both Separate Maintenance Allowance and an Education Allowance for my child?

A: For Involuntary SMA ("for the convenience of the Government") per DSSR 276.42, when a foreign post is designated as the official Involuntary SMA location, the employee may be eligible for an education allowance on behalf of a child residing at that location. DSSR 262.5 further states that "the employee can be authorized an education allowance within the applicable 'school at post' education allowance established in these regulations [DSSR 920] for the officially authorized foreign ISMA location on behalf of a child authorized to reside at that ISMA location, unless the child has arrived at a selected educational institution under educational travel authority within the last 12 months".

For Voluntary SMA ("for the convenience of the employee") per DSSR 262.2, "Unless specifically designated otherwise by the head of agency or designee, eligible family members on VSMA are considered to be officially residing in the U.S.". If officially residing in the U.S., children can go to public school free of charge. Remember, the intent of an education allowance is to help cover costs normally provided free of charge in U.S. public schools. Therefore, an education allowance is not warranted when officially residing in the U.S. on SMA.  The DSSR does not authorize an education allowance even when an agency authorizes a foreign area as an official VSMA location.

21. Q: Can I switch schools during the year?

A: DSSR 272.3 states that an employee has freedom of choice in school selection with reimbursement up to the rate cited in DSSR 920 for allowable expenses (DSSR 277). However, there is a restriction on the "at post" education allowance. If an employee chooses a school other than the base school on which the education allowance is calculated, reimbursement for one-time fees under DSSR 274.12e is limited to an amount not to exceed the total of all one-time fees charged by the base school. If one-time fees exceed those of the base school, additional one-time fees may be reimbursed against the DSSR 920 education allowance rate if that maximum rate has not been reached. (See examples at DSSR 272.3). In cases in which a student is required to transfer schools for reasons beyond the family's control, the post may request a waiver of the maximum rate from the Director, Office of Allowances, U.S. Department of State.

22. Q: The post school offers a standardized test that I have never heard of, and I don't know if the results would be meaningful to my child's new school when we return to the U.S. Could I be reimbursed for fees paid to take a standardized test like those offered in the U.S.?

A: DSSR 277.1d and 277.2a allow reimbursement for fees for tests required by the school within the maximum “at post” or “away from post” education allowance.

DSSR 271i and DSSR 274.12g allow for reimbursement in addition to the education allowance maximum for Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) test fees.  

The pre-SAT is normally provided free of charge in U.S. public schools, however, fees for SATs or other exams for the purpose of admittance to post-secondary schooling are not normally provided free of charge by U.S. public schools and are, therefore, not considered reimbursable.  In conclusion, if the standardized test offered by the school at post is similar to the pre-SAT then the fee may be reimbursed within the maximum “at post” education allowance.

23. Q: My child attends a non-base school at post that offers no bus service. What help can I get with transportation under the education allowance?

A: Public or commercial transportation, such as city bus, rail, or taxi, is reimbursable, when added to the cost of the school itself, up to the maximum rate for school at post for the child's grade. DSSR 277.1f says that when school-, commercially-, or USG-provided transportation to school is not available and a private car or vanpool is used, then the mileage (one round trip per school day between school and home) may be reimbursed at the equivalent of the GSA mileage rate. (If the security unit at post forbids use of any public or commercial transportation, that makes it unavailable.) Note:  Reimbursement for use of any POV, car/vanpool or rented/leased vehicle is for mileage only.  If a commercial service (car and driver) is used then this service may be reimbursed subject to the maximum school at post education allowance.

24. Q: If I have freedom of choice to select a school to send my child, why should I be out of pocket for tuition expenses if I don't select the base school?

A: While you have freedom of choice of school selection, the Education Allowance is normally based on the least expensive adequate school available to the majority of U.S.G. dependents. When a school other than the base school is selected, there is a chance that parents may incur out of pocket expenses.

25. Q: I've heard reference to the base school quite a bit, but no one can tell me what that means. What exactly is a base school?

A: Per DSSR 271n (definitions) A "base school at post" is usually the least expensive "adequate" school as determined by the Department of State, Office of Overseas Schools or the U.S. Department of Defense School, where available to eligible family members. The base school is used to establish the maximum "at post" education allowance for grades K-12. Except for the U.S. Department of Defense Schools in foreign locations, the U.S. Department of State's Office of Overseas Schools determines adequacy by how closely a foreign post/location school curriculum aligns with the U.S. public school curriculum so that a child can transition to the next higher grade in a U.S. public school.

26. Q: When using my personally owned vehicle to take my child to and from school, may I claim mileage reimbursement for two round trips?

A: No. Per DSSR 277.1f, reimbursement may only be made for one round trip per school day between school and home. The law only permits reimbursement for "those costs necessary to obtain educational services which are ordinarily provided without charge by public schools in the United States." Public schools in the U.S. provide transportation for the child to go to school and for the child to come home from school (one round trip).

27. Q: If I'm receiving the Away From Post Education Allowance on behalf of my daughter who is in high school and I exceed the Education Allowance due to transportation costs, may I use the Educational Travel Allowance to help with the transportation cost?

A: The Education Allowance and Educational Travel cannot be combined. You may either choose the Education Allowance under DSSR 270 or Educational Travel under DSSR 280; you cannot receive both at the same time.

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

A:   DSSR 277.2c(3) authorizes expenses for transportation of UAB annually under the "away from post" education allowance maximum but does not specify a weight limit.  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.  Reimbursement for UAB is subject to the away from post education allowance maximum and is not a separate reimbursement in addition to the education allowance maximum.

29. Q: I have an employee at an accompanied post with children who have never been at post. They are with their other parent at another location. The employee wants to know if they are eligible for an education allowance for them. (BTW, also curious about SMA if education is out.)

A: The definition of "family" and "family member" at DSSR 040m identifies a family member (for DSSR allowance purposes) as someone who normally resides at post, or who would reside there if not for circumstances warranting SMA. Looking at children now rather than the employee's spouse, this definition calls on us to think whether the children, in other circumstances, would live with the employee at post. If the answer to that question is uncertain, education allowance is not warranted. Unless the employee can demonstrate compelling circumstances of separation, that dictate it, there is no case for an education allowance for children who could live at post, but do not.

30. Not in use - Referenced only 2020-2021 school year 

31. Not in use - Referenced only 2020-2021 school year 

32. Q: Employees on Authorized Departure (AD) are being permitted to telework in the US for post. Pending further Permanent Change of Station (PCS) guidance from Global Talent Management (GTM), it could be conceivable that ''new PCS intended'' employees will be permitted to remain in the US and telework for their new post.  If this scenario happens, the person is working for post – would this then allow for education allowances to be granted on a one-time exceptional basis?

A: Education allowances by law are based on a physical presence at the foreign post of assignment.  It is not foreseen that any education allowances will be available if employees are virtually transferring to post.  School in the US would be the default.

33. Q: The COVID-19 outbreak in certain regions is happening later than the rest of the world. If an employee wants their child to begin school online with the local international school, they are hoping that this will be considered rather than viewing this issue from too wide or global lens. It may only impact certain posts. Could there be such an exception for only certain posts and allow post to pay the school in advance of the child coming to post?

A: No. It would have to be for the entire world or not at all.

34. Q: International schools are non-profit entities with few reserves. If our students may not enroll for next year and pay tuition, seats may not be available for them in January or later when they may be permitted to come to post– which would be devastating for our employees and families. In addition, the school is already discussing whether it must break contracts with teachers, offer sabbaticals, etc - which means its capacity will be far reduced without a financial commitment from our students.

A: From Overseas Schools: the impact to schools and staffing are “spot on” and this will be a very delicate balance of providing schools with some level of assurance that we do indeed plan to have our families return just not knowing when - our office will need to work our relationships with schools and boards to emphasize there needs to be flexibility with some degree of understanding that we'll pay eventually - (once children arrive).

35. Q: I am scheduled to transfer to a foreign post this summer. Can school fees for my children be paid in advance (prior to my arrival) to ensure that a slot is being held for my children at our school of choice?

A: School fees cannot be paid by the post in advance of the employee or family member's arrival at the foreign post of assignment. Once the employee or family member arrives at post, the employee may file for reimbursement once the SF-1190 confirms the arrival of the family member(s) benefitting from the ''At Post'' education allowance. If the child is under the ''Away from Post'' education allowance and has gone directly to school and not arrived at post yet, there should be explanation in SF-1190 box 18 (Remarks) and proof that the child is enrolled in the school away from post.  

36. Q: How can I ensure school fees are paid to hold slots for students currently on Authorized/Ordered Departure (AD/OD) (in the U.S. or otherwise) who are planning to re-enroll at the international school at post?

A: Under an AD/OD the DSSR 600 (Payments During an Ordered/Authorized Departure) allows for the ''At Post'' and ''Away from Post'' education allowance to only go through the end of the current school year unless a child is at an official (not alternate approved) foreign safehaven. Per DSSR 633.3 an education allowance is not provided at a foreign alternate approved safehaven. 

With an official U.S. safehaven it is understood children on AD/OD in the U.S. will be able to attend U.S. public schools free of charge. If an AD/OD extends into a new school year if the employee is not at the foreign post of assignment the employee is responsible for any payments to the international school at post until the AD/OD has terminated and family members are allowed to go back to post. Sometimes the post becomes unaccompanied following an AD/OD and family members cannot return to post so there is caution advised with advanced payments by the employee that will not be reimbursed if the child cannot come to post.  

37. Not in use - Applicable to only the 2020-2021 school year

38. Q: Do students on Authorized/Ordered Departure (AD/OD) have access to Supplementary Instruction (DSSR 274.12a and DSSR 276.9) to assist with online instruction?

A: Supplementary Instruction to assist in online instruction may be allowed in addition to the "at post" education allowance for only the reason(s) under DSSR 276.9a through e.  Reimbursement for Supplementary Instruction is allowed at the safehaven only if already approved at the foreign post of assignment prior to evacuation and only for the person providing the Supplementary Instruction at the foreign post of assignment prior to evacuation.   See FAQ 16 for further detail.

39. Not in use - Applicable to only the 2020-2021 school year

40. Q: Payment for schooling on the onward assignment is contingent on a finalized Travel Authorization (TA).  Can a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) TA be prepared for this purpose?

A: DSSR 273 states that after the employee or a family member has arrived at the post, an application may be filed including estimates of costs for an education allowance grant on behalf of a child. Education expenses incurred prior to arrival at the onward post of assignment are the employee's responsibility with reimbursement once the employee arrives at the onward post of assignment.

41. Q: If an employee is on temporary duty (TDY) prior to arrival at a new post of assignment, can children benefit from the education allowance and enroll in distance learning at a school at the new post? What if the school at the new post has opened but the post is not accepting employees on PCS orders?

A: DSSR 276.6 addresses an employee delayed enroute to a new post of assignment. Education expenses on behalf of a child may cover the period of temporary duty. The grant is not to be made until the employee or a family member arrives at the post of assignment. In order to be reimbursed education allowance expenses the employee and child benefitting from the education allowance would need to be physically present at post prior to the end of the school year.

42. Q: I'm concerned about not getting to post in time to enroll my child in school. What should I do?

A: An employee can enroll their child in a school at post prior to arriving at the post, however, school fees cannot be paid by the post in advance of the employee or family member's arrival at the foreign post of assignment. Once the employee or family member arrives at post, the employee may file for reimbursement once the SF-1190 confirms the arrival of the family member(s) benefitting from the ''At Post'' education allowance.

43. Q: I am currently on Authorized/Ordered Departure (AD/OD) and my child is scheduled to begin boarding school this fall.  Will payments be made to ensure that my slot is held?

A: If an AD/OD extends into a new school year the employee is responsible for any payments to the boarding school. The employee should seek reimbursement for allowable ''School Away from Post'' expenses (DSSR 277.2) once they return to post. Sometimes the post becomes unaccompanied following an AD/OD and family members cannot return to post. If the other parent resides in the U.S. and the boarding school is also in the U.S., per DSSR 276.3 an education allowance cannot be paid. 

44. Q: I am currently on Authorized/Ordered Departure (AD/OD) and my child is scheduled to continue online instruction with their boarding school this fall.  Will school fees be paid for my child to re-enroll?

A: If an AD/OD extends into a new school year the employee is responsible for any payments to the boarding school. The employee should seek reimbursement for allowable ''School Away from Post'' expenses (DSSR 277.2) once they return to post. Sometimes the post becomes unaccompanied following an AD/OD and family members cannot return to post. If the other parent resides in the U.S. and the boarding school is also in the U.S., per DSSR 276.3 an education allowance cannot be paid. 

45. Q:  I homeschooled my child(ren) prior to Authorized/Ordered Departure (AD/OD) and plan to continue homeschooling my child(ren) at post when we are allowed to return to post.  May I order materials and request reimbursement before heading back to post?

A: Once the employee or family member arrives at post, the employee may file for reimbursement once the SF-1190 confirms the arrival of the family member(s) benefitting from the ''Home Study/Private Instruction'' education allowance.  

46.  Q:  The definition for “school away from post” under DSSR 271e “means an elementary or secondary school so far beyond daily commuting distance of the employee's post as to necessitate board and room in connection with attendance.”  What is considered “beyond daily commuting distance”?

A:  Effective 6/19/2022 DSSR 277.2 was amended with the following:  “NOTE:  The following “school away from post” expenses may also be claimed when the transportation time to and from school and residence is 45 minutes or longer each direction each day.  This does not affect/augment the education allowance rate the employee is eligible for.”

47. Q: If the school a child attends – either “at post” or “away from post” - requires testing for COVID-19 is the testing an allowable expense under DSSR 277.1 (school at post) or DSSR 277.2 (school away from post)?   Should such testing cost first be submitted to my personal medical insurance?

A:    Per DSSR 277.1d and DSSR 277.2a, testing required by the local school is an allowable expense and may be claimed subject to the applicable “At Post” or “Away from Post” Education Allowance maximum shown in either DSSR 920 or DSSR 274.12c.   Check with your agency to see if it requires you to first submit the claim to your medical insurance and if denied reimbursement then request reimbursement for the expense under the Education Allowance maximum.

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The following is included in case reference is necessary.  It pertained only to school year 2020-2021 and not for subsequent school years.

Education FAQs - 2020-21 school year advance payment.pdf

 

 Last updated 6/16/2022