Education Allowance for FS families

The Supplementary Instruction Allowance, Tell Me More!

What is it?

The Supplementary Instruction Allowance provides up to $4,100 annually, per child to help foreign service and military families cover gaps in their child’s education while living overseas. Full details are in the DSSR 276.9, but here’s a quick summary of what’s covered:

  • U.S. History, Literature and Civics courses: Applicable when the child’s school at post does not offer academic subjects generally offered by public schools in the U.S., such as U.S. history, civics, American Literature, computers, English grammar, AP or IB Courses.
  • Foreign Language Learning: Applicable 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.
  • Remedial Tutoring: Applicable when the child’s school at post requires additional instruction to enable the child to (1) enter a grade, remain in the same grade, or complete a grade in the school; or (2) successfully complete an academic course in order to progress to the next level in the sequence of courses. Also, when the child’s school at post documents that a child returning to post following authorized/ordered departure/evacuation requires additional instruction to successfully complete the current school year.
  • Gifted and Talented Programs: Applicable when the child’s school at post does not offer a Gifted and Talented (GT), or equivalent, program. Funds can be used for a GT academics-only. A letter from the school or results from a standardized GT test must be provided.

Who Qualifies?

Foreign Service Families posted overseas with DoS, USAID, and other agencies that qualify under the DSSR. Military Families posted overseas with children attending non-DoD schools qualify through the Non-DoD Schools Program (NDSP). Double-check with your Embassy FMO, USAID EXO or DoD NDSP liaison to ensure eligibility and pre-approval of expenditures.

Need More Info?

We’ve written this article as a baseline of information to use when approaching the proper stewards of the allowances. Check out this great FAQ page from DoS or talk with your FMO, EXO or NDSP liaison at post. You can also contact the Office of Allowances or NDSP Administration directly. They are all wonderful resources for figuring out how the allowances apply to your unique situation!


Leah Evans is an EFM on her fifth post abroad in Mexico City, Mexico. She is certified in elementary education and in middle school science and social studies. She offers American-History-in-a-Box courses for expat families at

Christianna Pangalos is an EFM with a background in International Development. She has nearly eight years of experience in Education and has taught early readers in low-resourced schools and middle and high school students in History and English. She created Twiga Tutors and you can find out more at She currently lives in Africa.


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