Military children living in the United States generally attend a local public school and have a portion of their education expenses paid by the federal government through the Department of Education's Impact Aid program. Currently, Impact Aid provides $900 million per year in subsidies to approximately 1,400 local education agencies (LEAs), which enroll 1.2 million eligible children. Children of military parents constitute 416,000 enrollments and account for 36 percent of program funding.
This report focuses on the workings of the Impact Aid program with a special emphasis on the implications of the statute for military children. The main purpose of the Impact Aid statute is to defray the local share of expenses for educating federally connected students. The assertion is that military and other federal activities bring additional students into an area without proportionately expanding the local tax base.
The analysis examines the sensitivity of program funding to various features of military installations. The funding formula for Impact Aid is complex, and this report provides a detailed examination of how well the formula conforms with the purposes of the statute. Educational resources at military-related LEAs are compared with those for similar districts to assess whether military children have educational opportunities equivalent to children in districts with few or no military children. The study also examines several factors (e.g., student mobility and special education requirements) that may increase or decrease the educational costs of military children compared with those of similar children with parents employed in the civilian sector.