Impact Aid and the Education of Military Children

Impact Aid and the Education of Military Children

Impact Aid and the Education of Military Children

Impact Aid and the Education of Military Children

Synopsis

Children of military parents in the United States generally attend public school and have a portion of their education expenses paid for by the federal government through the Department of Education's Impact Aid program. Impact Aid provides $900 million a year to approximately 1,400 local education agencies, which enroll 1.2 million eligible children, 36 percent of whom are military children. RAND studied this program, emphasizing the implications for military children. The authors contend that the funding formula is flawed because of inconsistent district boundary definitions, leading to wide variances in Impact Aid

Excerpt

The federal government provides funding to local school districts to offset a portion of the public school educational expenses of 416,000 children of military parents. This funding is awarded as part of the 50-year-old Impact Aid statute. Historically, lawmakers have been concerned that the presence of military facilities in an area might generate larger enrollments in a community without a corresponding increase in the local tax base. This report examines the workings of the Impact Aid law, especially as it relates to military children. We analyze whether Impact Aid funding is distributed equitably across districts, whether military-related children have comparable educational opportunities to other children, and whether a typical military-related student is more costly to educate than an average student.

This research was sponsored by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Communities and Family Policy. This research should interest those concerned with military families, the wellbeing of service members and the attendant implications for recruiting and retention, and the relationship between military and civilian communities.

The research was conducted in the Forces and Resources Policy Center, which is part of RAND's National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the unified commands, and the defense agencies.

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