More than one million school-age children in America, most of whom attend public schools, have parents serving in the military. Like too many families, military families are not always best served by their assigned public school and need more options when it comes to their children’s education. Children from military families are often required to move frequently and change schools at rates far exceeding those of their civilian peers.

Today more than 200,000 children enjoy private school choice options across the country, including private school vouchers, tax credits, virtual school, and homeschooling.

A new IWF policy paper recommends that Congress and state lawmakers allow armed forces personnel and military veterans to use their existing GI bill benefits for Military Education Savings Accounts to pay for the associated costs of sending their children to schools they think are best for their children—regardless of where they are stationed.  They should also reform other education savings programs to broaden the options currently available to military families.

Military ESAs would help expand education options for children without adding costs to national and state budgets, and by facilitating the use of private options rather than adding students to public school rosters, they could reduce the burden on the state. 

There are an estimated 880,000 school-age military dependents nationwide. If just 1 percent of those students attended private schools using Military ESA funds, the combined annual savings to states and local school districts nationwide would exceed $92 million.  

Most important, by allowing federal and state Military ESAs, policymakers can ensure that the Americans who have sacrificed so much for their country do not have to sacrifice when it comes to providing a quality education for their children.

Click here to read the full policy paper: Gratitude for Our Armed Forces Should Not Stop at the Schoolhouse Door: Providing Educational Choice through Military Education Savings Accounts