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.