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Frequently Asked Questions
Supplementary Instruction

1.  Q:  What is the purpose of supplementary instruction and what can it be used for?

A: The purpose of supplementary instruction is to provide dependent children the opportunity to take courses not offered at the school at post but customarily offered in U.S. public schools or to provide additional instruction that may be required by a school for a child to (1) remain in the same grade; (2) progress to the next grade in that school's curriculum; or (3) successfully complete an academic course in order to progress to the next level in the sequence of courses.  See DSSR 276.9 for specific uses of the allowance.

2. Q: How much is the supplementary instruction allowance? Does it count against the "school at post" education allowance maximums?

A: In addition to the allowance authorized for "school at post" (DSSR 274.11), an additional amount up to $4,100 (as of February 2022) may be granted for supplementary instruction (DSSR 274.12a). Supplementary instruction is considered an allowable expense for those attending "school at post” but is not used to calculate the "school at post" education allowance rates listed in DSSR 920 or DSSR 274.12c for children eligible for the special needs education allowance at post.

3. Q: Can I use the supplementary instruction allowance for a U.S. government course for my child at boarding school?

A: No, supplementary instruction benefits are considered an allowable expense for those attending "school at post" (DSSR 271d). A child attending boarding school is at a "school away from post" (DSSR 271e) and is ineligible for the supplementary instruction allowance.

4. Q: What is a "school at post"?

A: DSSR 271.d defines "school at post" as an elementary or secondary school within daily commuting distance of the employee's post of assignment.

5. Q: I've heard that I do not qualify for the supplementary instruction allowance if my child doesn't attend the base school. Is that true and what is a base school?

A:  That is no longer the case.  Prior to the May 2014 amendments to the DSSR, the supplementary instruction allowance was more restrictive and available in addition to the school at post education allowance only if the base school did not provide the required instruction in courses normally offered by U.S. public schools. The changes to the DSSR removed the base school requirement and the need for supplementary instruction is now based on the school the child attends.

The "base school" is the school on which the "school at post" education allowance is based. The base school is usually the least expensive, adequate school available to USG students at the foreign post/location. 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.

6. Q: Can I use the supplementary instruction allowance to pay for Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) Courses?

A: Yes, DSSR 276.9a states that supplementary instruction may be used to pay for courses normally offered by public schools in the United States. Because AP and IB courses are generally offered in U.S public schools, these courses are an allowable supplementary expense.

7. Q: My child's school does not offer physical education. Can I use the supplementary instruction allowance to pay for P.E. classes?

A: Yes. Because P.E. is a normal part of the curriculum at U.S public schools, the allowance may be used to pay for a P.E. course if the child's school does not offer any physical education courses. (See DSSR 276.9a).

8. Q: My child is one of several American high school juniors at post, none of whom have taken U.S history. None of the local schools offer any American history courses. Can we pool our supplementary instruction resources and pay a local teacher to teach an American history class? Can we pay one of the children's parents to teach the class? If not, can we use the allowance to pay for course materials when a parent is teaching the course?

A: Because U.S history is a course customarily offered in U.S public schools and because it isn't offered by schools at post (DSSR 276.9a), the allowance may be used to pay for such a course. There is no prohibition on families pooling their resources to set up a formal course. A local teacher may be hired to teach the children U.S history. The parent of a child receiving the supplementary instruction allowance may not be reimbursed for teaching his or her own child. However, the regulations do not prohibit an employee or his or her spouse, or his or her domestic partner from being compensated for teaching the children of other employees. Also, a parent teaching his or her own child may be reimbursed for course materials used to teach the child.

For example, if five parents at post want to pool their supplementary instruction resources to establish an American history class and they want to pay one of the parents to teach it, we suggest that the per student cost be divided into two parts. One cost would be for course materials and renting classroom space, while the other would be to pay the teacher's salary. All employees could be reimbursed for the course materials and classroom space.  In addition, all employees except the employee whose spouse or domestic partner was the teacher, could be reimbursed for salary-related costs. The teacher/parent would deduct the cost of educating his/her own child from his/her salary. For example, if the teacher/parent was charging $1000 to teach the course and one of the five students was his/her child, he/she would only be reimbursed $800 from the supplementary instruction allowance.

Please note, however, that an individual teacher cannot confer high school credit. We recommend that the instructor use a standardized distance learning course that is accepted in the United States for high school students, so that the students may receive credit upon fulfilling course requirements.  Also note, per DSSR 040m(2), "Any child or children of a domestic partner of an employee shall be deemed a stepchild of the employee."

9. Q: Help! My child's school requires that a child have completed Algebra I to enter the 9th grade. My son has only completed Pre-Algebra courses. Can I use supplementary instruction to get him caught up in math?

A: Yes, supplementary instruction may be used to pay for additional instruction to enable a child to successfully complete an academic course to progress to the next level in the sequence of courses. (See DSSR 276.9c.)

10. Q: My daughter has not taken chemistry and is entering the 10th grade. Students in the school at post's honors program take chemistry in the 9th grade, while others take it in the 10th grade. Without chemistry, my daughter will not be allowed in the honors program. Can I pay for it using the supplementary instruction allowance?

A: No. You cannot use the supplementary instruction allowance to get your child into an honors program. The allowance is intended to help a student enter a grade, remain in the same grade, or complete a grade in a school at post, but not to ensure them a place in the honors program. (See DSSR 276.9.)

11. Q: My 8th grader attends an international school with an integrated math curriculum, which means algebra and geometry are taught together in the junior high and high school years. This system is very different from that in U.S. public schools where a child would take the first year of algebra in one grade, geometry in the next, and the second year of algebra in the third year. We plan to transfer back to the States next year when my son will be entering high school, but he will not have had enough algebra to have finished Algebra I and enter 9th grade Geometry. Can I use the supplementary instruction allowance to pay for algebra tutoring during the school year so that my child finishes the Algebra I coursework?

A: Yes, DSSR 276.9a allows for instruction in academic subjects generally offered by U.S. public schools.  The supplementary instruction allowance may be used for additional math instruction so that a child receives an adequate education at post.

12. Q: The Department of State convinced us to take an assignment in a Francophone country. There are no adequate English-language schools at post. We don't want to send our children away to boarding school, but they have no knowledge of the French language. Can we use the allowance so that they can learn French?

A: Yes, foreign language instruction is an allowable supplementary instruction expense if competency in the language is necessary for the child to attend the school at post or progress in the curriculum. (See DSSR 276.9b.)

13. Q: Throughout our careers, my spouse or domestic partner and I have been assigned to countries where French is widely spoken, and our daughter, a 5th grader, would benefit greatly by attending a French-language school. There is an adequate English-language school at post, but we would like our daughter to go to the French school. Her French is not proficient enough for her to enter the 5th grade at this school. Can we use the supplementary instruction allowance so that she can enter school at the proper grade?

A: DSSR 276.9 b. permits reimbursement for supplementary instruction when the child's school at post offers its curriculum in a foreign language which the child does not know well enough for progress in the curriculum.

14. Q: My family left post three months ago on authorized departure ("evacuation"). While we were in the United States , my son attended a public high school that did not offer all the courses that his high school at post offers. When we returned, the school told us that he would require additional class time to complete the school year. Can I use the supplementary instruction allowance for his additional instruction?

A: Yes. If your son's school administrators have determined that he requires additional instruction to successfully complete the school year, supplementary instruction may be authorized. (See DSSR 276.9d.)

15. Q: My daughter was part of the Gifted and Talented (GT) program at her school in the United States. When we arrived at post, we found out that no such program existed at the school she attends at post. Can we use supplementary instruction funds to provide GT program instruction? 

A: You can use supplementary instruction funds for GT instruction if the child's school does not offer GT instruction if you meet the following conditions (See DSSR 276.9e):

(1) The program must be a GT program in an academic subject. Academic subjects include math, science, English, foreign languages, and social studies. Physical education and the arts are not included.

(2) The parent provides documentation that the child is eligible for a Gifted and Talented (GT) or equivalent program.

16. Q: How do I provide documentation that my child belongs in a Gifted and Talented (GT) or equivalent program?  Also, is there an "expiration date" on GT status?

A: You must provide one of the following (See DSSR 276.9e):

(1) a letter from the child's previous school stating that the child qualified for and participated in such a program;

(2) a letter from the child's current school stating that the child is qualified for a GT program which the school cannot provide; or

(3) the child has taken a standardized GT test and the results show the child is eligible to participate in such a program. Costs associated with taking the GT test are the responsibility of the employee. The Office of Overseas Schools (A/OPR/OS) within the Department of State can provide more information about qualifying for Gifted and Talented Programs, including testing alternatives if the employee decides to have testing done.

There is no "expiration date" on GT status.  In most cases the student has been assessed and has qualified and participated in a school's GT program.  A child's assessment results are not going to change significantly from one school year to the next.  That is why there is not a need for additional testing or a renewal of the GT status.  This is the process that public schools in the U.S. follow (no need for annual assessments to remain in the GT program).  However, the employee should maintain a copy of the applicable document to present when applying for supplementary instruction in future years.

 17. Q: I want my Gifted and Talented child to appreciate the arts. Can I use the supplementary instruction allowance to pay for musical appreciation classes?

A: No. The program must be a GT or equivalent program in an academic subject, as academic subjects are generally the focus of GT programs in U.S public schools. Academic subjects include math, science, foreign languages, and social studies. Physical education and the arts are not included.

 18.  Q: Can a child who attends a school at post use the supplementary instruction allowance during the summer while on home leave in the United States?

 A:  No. The supplementary instruction allowance may only be used at a foreign post during the regular school year, to supplement the education received at the school at post.

19.  Q: Can I use funds for Supplementary Instruction (DSSR 274.12a and 276.9) to help offset COVID-19 learning challenges?

A: Yes, you can use the funds for Supplementary Instruction to help offset COVID-19 learning challenges in combination with the At-Post Education Allowance, provided the use meets the criteria and intent of DSSR 276.9 (where applicable a-e).  Following the Global AD due to COVID-19, under DSSR 276.9(d) all at-post students qualify, with a written recommendation from the school (such as the teacher, school counselor, or principal) on school letterhead, to use Supplementary Instruction for a private instructor hired in order to supplement virtual “at-post school” learning.  Supplementary Instruction per DSSR 274.12a (currently up to $4100 per school year) may be authorized in addition to the DSSR 920 or DSSR 274.12c at-post education allowance maximum for the purpose of lessening the burden families are facing when dependent children are enrolled in at-post schools that have moved to temporary virtual or hybrid education environments.  Funds may be used to pay for a child to receive additional instruction to enhance at-post hybrid learning and enable a child to successfully complete an academic course to progress to the next level in the sequence of courses.  See DSSR 276.9 for specific uses of the allowance. For additional details, please see 21 STATE 119332 or email

20.  Q: Can I use funds for Supplementary Instruction (DSSR 274.12a and 276.9) if we are evacuated during the school year and we are at our safehaven location?

A:   Supplementary Instruction may be allowed during the current school year at the safehaven location only if already approved at the foreign post of assignment and conducted with the individual at the foreign post of assignment who was providing the supplementary instruction prior to evacuation.




Last updated 2/2/22