Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

The Idea

States can adopt the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children to resolve education transition issues faced by children of military families.

The Issue

Military children encounter challenges regarding enrollment, eligibility, placement, and graduation due to frequent relocations.  Military families move between postings on a regular basis, and while reassignments can benefit parents’ careers, moves can be difficult for their children. The average military student faces transitions more than twice during high school, and most military children attend six to nine different school systems from kindergarten to 12th grade.  

The Interstate Compact provides for the uniform treatment of military children transferring between school districts and states. It was developed by The Council of State Governments’ National Center for Interstate Compacts; the Department of Defense; federal and state officials; state departments of education; school administrators; and military families.

Families eligible for assistance under the Interstate Compact include children of: active duty members of the uniformed services; National Guard and Reserve members on active duty orders; members or veterans who are medically discharged or retired for one year; and members killed in action.

Some of the specific educational issues that the Interstate Compact covers include: transfer of educational records; immunization requirements; Kindergarten and first grade entrance age; placement and attendance; special education services; absence related to deployment activities; and eligibility for extracurricular participation.

The Interstate Compact also addresses graduation-related issues. Participating states allow schools to waive courses required for graduation if students have completed similar courses in other states; to be flexible in accepting other states’ exit or end-of-course exams, national achievement tests, or alternative tests in lieu of graduation requirements; and to allow students to receive diplomas from their former schools instead of their new schools.

What States are Doing

The Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3)

States adopt the Compact through the legislative process; participation is voluntary.  As of mid-2011, 39 states had adopted the Interstate Compact, accounting for nearly 90 percent of military children.

As part of the Compact, the Interstate Commission on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, also referred to as the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission or MIC3, was established. The commissioners serve as the primary points of contact for their respective states to address and resolve education transitional issues under the Compact.  


  • Richard Pryor & John Matthews
    Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission
    859-244-8133 or 859-244-8157

What the Federal Government is Doing 

  • In 2011, the Department of Defense commissioned a 270-day educational review. Part of the study focuses on the impact of transitions, deployments, and varying curricula on military children.
  • The Department of Education has prioritized military families in grant opportunities for local school systems and public schools on military bases.