High Quality Overseas Education for My Kids?

Yes, it’s true; when you’re posted overseas the State Department is obligated to ensure your children receive the same level of education they would receive as if they were residing in the United States.

What does this mean? In many cases this means your children can attend some of the top international schools for free. In summary, the policy is:

  • You must be serving overseas. (If you’re assigned to D.C. you’re on your own.)
  • Each overseas post determines which local school (or schools) at post qualifies as meeting the basic requirements of emulating a quality of education comparable to what your children would receive in the U.S.
  • Whatever this school charges for education per year is the amount the State Department will reimburse you for each school-aged child.
  • There is no limit to the number of children the State Department will support. (Again, this is not to encourage you to have lots of children, and each child of course must be in your legal custody.)

Example: You’re assigned to Bangkok and you have a high school-aged child.  If the “Overseas School of Bangkok” is a school approved by post and the school charges $5,000 a year in tuition, then the State Department will reimburse you up to this amount every year for your child, regardless of where your child is.  This means you can send Bobby to boarding school in London if you want, but the State Department would only reimburse up to $5,000; anything more you would pay out of pocket, anything less and the Department only reimburses the lower amount and you don’t get the rest of the balance.

As you can imagine, there are a lot of twists and turns related to this benefit, all of which are covered in the official regulations titeld “Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR) 270 Education Allowances”, located here.


3 Responses to High Quality Overseas Education for My Kids?

  1. Jane says:

    What do you mean by regardless where your child is? They will not pay if the child is in the US, right? Thank you.

    • I’ll have to get back to you for an accurate answer. The government is obligated to ensure your child gets an education to U.S. standards. So if you are posted to Beijing, you have to option of sending your child to the international schools in Beijing or sending them to school in London (or any other overseas school). In this case, the government gives you the money you’d get in Beijing and you would take that amount and pay the school in London. If you opted to send your child to school back in the States, well, like I said, I’ve got to look into that a bit more.

  2. Mike says:

    My four kids had this opportunity. Schools in Guatemala, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Hong Kong. Were all top notch and I think it greatly increased there ability to get into better colleges. My daughter who went to school in all three countries finishing up in Hong Kong could never have asked for a better education and I never could of afforded the education she got.

    As strange as it may seem some parents go to counties where there are not adequate schools so they can send their children to private boarding schools overseas. These kids go to some of the best in the world.

    But the most important thing is it taught them to deal with all types of people from around the world. They see the real starvation in under developed countries of the world, how the super rich live and I must say that all four of my kids have made me proud from how much this has taught them to live with others that are not the same as them.

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