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Advance Enrollment for Military Children

If your child is one of the 185,000 military children changing schools annually due to a permanent change of station move, you may know about bumpy transitions between school systems. The challenge of transferring records, state differences in education and graduation requirements, and enrollment barriers in sports, electives and extracurricular activities, can be daunting. If your child is on an individualized education program, you add another layer of concern.

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The Department of Defense worked with the National Center for Interstate Compacts to establish the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Children in 2008, which covers common policies for records transfer, enrollment, placement and graduation requirements. These common policies cover many of the concerns experienced by military families, but still leave families to deal with issues once they have arrived at the new duty station. The Deparment of Defense State Liaison Office is working with states to make the task of transferring to a new school easier by giving military parents a temporary waiver to residence requirement. This will enable them to pre-enroll their children in a school district before they arrive at the PCS destination. The initiative, called “Advance Enrollment,” is now policy in 19 states and one more state has a bill currently in progress.

Advance enrollment initiative

Advance enrollment lets your military child register in their new school district at the same time as the general student population, which is generally at the end of the previous school year. Military children moving to a participating state will no longer have to prove physical residence within the school district boundaries before they enroll.

Benefits of advance enrollment for your military child include:

  • The opportunity to participate in random lotteries for charter or magnet schools

  • The chance to enroll in specialized academic programs

  • The opportunity to begin coordinating IEP and 504-plan requirements

  • The ability to register for courses and plan their course of study

  • The comfort of knowing which school they will attend before arriving at the new location                                      

Additional details and supporting states

You must provide the following information to take advantage of advance enrollment:

  • Documentation of a pending military relocation to the state

  • Proof of residency provided to the school district within the required number of days after arrival in the new location

Not every state has approved this policy. States who have passed the policy include: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

The following state has a bill in progress to pass the policy: Vermont.

Get more information

Bookmark Temporary Waiver of Residence Requirement for School Enrollment to stay up to date on this policy. If you have questions or need any information regarding your child with special needs, contact your installation EFMP Family Support Staff or an EFMP Resources, Options and Consultations special needs specialty consultant through Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or by live chat.