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PCSing & Your Child’s Education: The Military Interstate Compact

military interstate compact

How the Military Interstate Compact Can Help With Your Child’s Education During PCS

Active duty military life means moving, sometimes pretty often. This can be all well and good for the service member and their spouse, but what about the children? According to the DODEA, military families move 3 times as often as the average non military family. Oftentimes children will have to move at not the best time, either after starting kindergarten, right before middle school, or in the middle of their high school year. This can cause a lot of anxiety for the child and for the family.

The good news is that there is the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. This compact was created with the collaboration of the Department of Defense, the National Center for Interstate Compacts, and the Council of State Governments. The compact addresses the educational transition issues of children of military families. The purpose is to ensure that military children are given the same opportunities for educational success as other children and are not penalized or delayed in achieving their educational goals.

Who can use the Military Interstate Compact?

  • Active duty military families
  • National Guard and Reserve members on active duty orders
  • Service members or veterans who are medically discharged or retired for one year
  • Service members who were killed in action

What Does the Military Interstate Compact Cover?

Here is a brief rundown of some of what the compact covers. You can read the full factsheet on the DODEA website.


The compact asks school districts to examine their rules for eligibility and allow military children to be able to have continuity with their education. For example, allowing military children to be able to participate in extracurricular activities, even if the application and tryout deadlines have passed.


Parents can take a set of unofficial records to the new school to enroll the child while waiting for the official records to arrive.


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Parents will have 30 days to get their child immunized.

What Age Your Child Can Start School

If your child is in kindergarten or the 1st grade, and the entrance ages are different at each school, your child can continue in the grade they started in.

Placement for Required Classes, Advanced Placement, and Special Needs Programs

The new school must initially honor the original placement from the old school. The new school can then do a new evaluation but they can’t keep your child in a “holding class” while they wait to do that.


The school district may waive courses that are required for graduation if similar courses have already been completed at the old school. This is, however, not mandatory, but if the schools deny a waiver for a class, they need to be able to show a reasonable justification for it. In addition, a senior can receive a diploma from their previous school if the new school isn’t able to accommodate them for the required courses and exit exams that they need. This will need to be worked out between the two schools.

Special Needs Children

If the Individual With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) covers your child, they have the right to comparable services that are provided by their most current IEP.

Military Interstate Compact Resources

The Military Interstate Compact is here to help as you PCS from one location to another. Here are a couple more resources to help if you are going through this time of transition.


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About the author

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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, and blogger. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.