Page 80 - FSJ June 2012

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F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / J U N E 2 0 1 2
mployees of government agencies assigned overseas are
granted allowances to help defray the cost of education for
their children in kindergarten through 12th grade, one equiva-
lent to that provided by public school sys-
tems in the United States.
The allowances for a specific post are
determined by the fees charged by a school
identified as providing a basic U.S.-type
education. Parents may use this allowance
to send their children to a different school
of their choice, say a parochial or foreign-
language institution, as long as the cost
does not exceed that of the “base” school.
If the alternative school is more expensive
than the “base” model, the difference would
be an out-of-pocket expense for the par-
An allowance covers only expenses for those services usually
available without cost in American public schools, including tuition,
transportation and textbooks. Fees for lunches, trips, computers
and school uniforms are not covered, even if required by the school.
If a foreign post does not have a secular, English-language
school with an American curriculum, or has such a school that goes
only through certain grades, an away-from-post or “boarding
school” allowance is provided.
There are several offices in the
Department of State prepared to help you
understand how the educational allowances
work, and what choices you have for your
children. These include the Office of
Overseas Schools (,
the Office of Allowances
gov) an
d the Family Liaison Office
Although these offices are part of the
Department of State, the same allowances
apply to most civilian federal employees
under chief-of-mission authority overseas.
For information or assistance, e-mail FLOAskEducation@state.
gov or call (202) 647-1076.
This is excerpted from an article by Pamela Ward, a regional edu-
cation officer in the State Department’s Office of Overseas Schools,
that was published in the December 2009 Foreign Service Journal.
The complete article can be accessed online at
Fees for lunches,
trips, computers
and school uniforms
are not covered.
2009 FSJ S
The ABCs of Education Allowances