DOD Dependents Schools

Enrollment Categories, Numbers, and Locations Gao ID: HEHS-95-149 September 18, 1995

For school year 1994-95, the Defense Department's (DOD) dependents schools system enrolled more than 88,000 students in 191 schools worldwide and had a budget of $860 million. Most students were DOD command-sponsored, military or civilian dependents for whom DOD must provide a free public education overseas. About 5,500 students were enrolled as space-available students--that is, dependents who were not command sponsored and thus not eligible for space-required enrollment, but were allowed to enroll if space was available. About 3,000 of these space-available children paid tuition, while the other 2,500 attended tuition free. This report (1) reviews legislation that establishes eligibility and authorizes funding for student to enroll in DOD's dependents schools system as space-available, (2) identifies the number of students enrolled as space-available and their locations, and (3) explains the circumstances surrounding high space-available enrollments in some schools.

GAO found that: (1) the Secretary of Defense is authorized to establish enrollment eligibility for space-available students and has categorized space-available students as either tuition-paying or tuition-free; (2) tuition-paying students can be either dependents of U.S. government agency sponsors or retired military and foreign national sponsors; (3) tuition-free, space-available students are the dependents of DOD sponsors who are not authorized government transportation and housing overseas for their dependents; (4) DOD is required to only include the cost of educating space-required and tuition-paying students in its budget request, but DODDS has not followed these instructions; (5) although tuition-free, space-available students only represent about 3 percent of the DODDS student population, the percentage is much higher in Korea; (6) in school year 1994-1995, space-available enrollments represented about 6 percent of total DODDS enrollment, almost half of which were tuition-free; and (7) although 75 percent of DODDS schools had space-available enrollments of 5 percent or less, four schools had enrollments of over 65 percent.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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