Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA)

Regular Air Force: Retired

Benefit Fact Sheet


The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) is responsible for planning, directing, coordinating, and managing prekindergarten through 12th grade educational programs on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD). 


kids walking in the hallway at school  DoDEA determines the enrollment and eligibility policy. Dependents of Air Force retirees are not eligible to participate in DoDEA schools, but may be eligible to participate in some on a tuition paying, space available basis.

If Air Force Retirees are full time employees of the Department of Defense, they may be eligible to participate in DoDEA schools based on civilian eligibility. For more information on civilian eligibility for DoDEA schools, visit DoDEA's website:

Benefit Highlights

DoDEA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, headquartered in Alexandria, VA, that serves as an umbrella agency to monitor DoDEA Europe, DoDEA Pacific, and the DoDEA Americas. Each area is managed by an area director. Within each area, the schools are organized into districts headed by superintendents. DoDEA currently operates 160 schools in 8 districts located in 11 foreign countries, 7 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. There are 996,069 military connected Children of all ages worldwide, of which more than 69,688 (6.9%) are enrolled in DoDEA schools and served by approximately 8,700 educators.

Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Americas Within the United States, DoDEA schools provide tuition-free education for the dependent Children of military members occupying (or within 90 days of being provided) permanent living quarters on any military installations with a DoDEA school program. For DoDEA schools on US territories, base housing is not a requirement for enrollment. DoDEA Americas provides comprehensive educational programs on military installations located in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Puerto Rico, and Cuba that are competitive within that of any school system in the United States. DoDEA Americas provide K-12 education, but not all levels are available at every location. Where the grade level program is not offered, dependent students living on the military installations attend schools operated by the Local Education Agency in the civilian community. DoDEA Americas operates 50 schools at 17 locations, in 7 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam, serving approximately 21,458 students.

Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Overseas: Offers comprehensive educational programs for military Family members, grades K-12, in overseas locations. DoDEA-Europe operates 64 schools at 26 locations throughout Europe. Their footprint consists of the following countries: Germany, Belgium, Netherland, United Kingdom, Bahrain, Italy, Spain and Turkey. DoDEA-Pacific operates45 schools at 17 locations across Guam, Japan (including Okinawa), and South Korea. Enrollment is guaranteed for "command-sponsored" Children, those officially approved to relocate overseas at government expense. Children without command sponsorship may enroll on a space-available basis. DoDEA determines the enrollment policy, which will fall in one of four categories:

  • Category 1

    • Space-Required, Tuition-Free

    • Space-Required, Tuition-Paying

    • Space-Created, Tuition-Paying

  • Category 2

    • Space-Available, Tuition-Paying (Federally Connected)

  • Category 3

    • Space-Available, Tuition-Free

  • Category 4

    • Space-Available, Tuition-Paying (Non-Federally Connected)

Authorized command-sponsored Family members of Airmen assigned to overseas areas where no DoDEA schools are available, the Non-DoD Schools Program has the responsibility to support educational services at government expense. Prior approval must be gained from DoDEA before.

Additional Information

For more information about the schools, employment, and other topics, please visit the website maintained by the Department of Defense Education Activity:

Document Review Date: 30 November 2020