In 2006, the U.S. Department of Defense (USDoD) Office of Personnel and Readiness, in cooperation with the Council of State Governments (CSG) and National Center for Interstate Compacts, drafted the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children to address some of the educational challenges transitioning children of military families encountered. The Defense State Liaison Office (DSLO) and CSG convened an advisory group comprised of federal, state, and local officials; as well as national stakeholder organizations representing education groups; and military families to create the interstate agreement. In 2007, the advisory group finalized the model statute language which was promoted by the USDoD as one of their key priorities for military families, and through the DSLO advocacy, was adopted by state legislatures within 6 years. Currently, the 50 states and District of Columbia are members of the Compact, and the Department of Defense is an ex-officio, non-voting member on the Commission.

While the Compact is not exhaustive in its coverage, it address key issues encountered by military families: eligibility, enrollment, placement, and graduation. In addition, the Compact provides for a detailed governance structure at both the state and national levels with built-in enforcement and compliance mechanisms. The goal of the Compact is to replace the widely varying policies affecting transitioning military students. The Compact leverages consistency: It uses a comprehensive approach that provides a consistent policy in every school district and in every state that chooses to join. The Compact addresses key educational transition issues encountered by military families including enrollment, placement, attendance, eligibility, and graduation.

Children of active-duty members of the uniformed services, National Guard and Reserve on active-duty orders, commissioned officers of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Unites States Public Health Service (USPHS), and members or veterans who are medically discharged or retired for one year are eligible for assistance under the Compact. The Compact also covers students of members who perish on active duty for a period of one year following their death.

Policy Areas

  • Military family and dependents
  • Military dependent education
  • Interstate compacts


To request information on any related policy issues or for more information, contact 859-244-8000 or email