NDSP: Eligibility

Minimum Age Requirements

DoD dependents under the NDSP follow the same criteria as the Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR) for entrance into kindergarten.

In a location where a school follows a Northern Hemisphere/U.S. school calendar (school begins in Jul/Aug/Sep), the child must turn five years old on or before December 31st of that school year. In a location where a school follows a Southern Hemisphere School calendar, (school begins in Jan/Feb/Mar), the child must be at least four years and eight months by the beginning of the school year.

When a school entry date cutoff is earlier than December 31st, the school's kindergarten age policy prevails. The NDSP policy may not override a school's policy (e.g. a schools cutoff date of September 30th).

If the child turns five after September 1st (for Northern Hemisphere calendar schools) or February 1st (for Southern Hemisphere calendar schools), the NDSP requires an official memorandum from the school indicating that the school has accepted the child into the equivalent of U.S. kindergarten. In this situation, parents should carefully consider their child's social, emotional and academic readiness for kindergarten and the possible impacts when transitioning back to the United States public schools after the overseas tour.

NDSP will fund only one year prior to the equivalent of U.S. first grade (kindergarten). In schools utilizing a British curriculum, the equivalent of U.S. kindergarten is Year 1. The Comparison School Systems Grade Equivalents document provides information regarding the equivalent to U.S. grade levels.

No exceptions to policy requests are considered for entrance age waivers.

NOTE: NDSP cannot reimburse families for any educational expenses incurred prior to one year before the U.S. equivalent of first grade (U.S. kindergarten). If a host nation has a compulsory age requirement for students but the NDSP student will not be enrolled in the equivalent of U.S. kindergarten, the family will need to enroll the child in the host nation public school or they may choose to send the child to a private school at their own expense.

Eligibility for Non-DoD Schools Program (NDSP)

The following conditions must exist to be eligible for Non-DoD Schools Program support:

  1. Sponsor must be a military service member serving on active duty and stationed overseas on Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders, or
    A civilian employee of the Department of Defense who is employed on a permanent full time basis, assigned overseas, and is either a citizen or a national of the United States;
  2. Sponsors must be authorized to transport dependents* to or from an overseas area at government expense, and
  3. Sponsors must be provided an allowance for living quarters in that area.
  4. Sponsors must be assigned to and reside in a location outside the commuting area of a DoD school.

*School-aged dependents are defined as an individual:

  1. Who is the child, stepchild, adopted child, or ward of a DoD sponsor, residing with the sponsor, and is eligible for other command sponsorship services, postal services privileges, and
    Who meets the host nation age requirement for kindergarten, and
  2. Has not completed secondary school and will not reach his or her 21st birthday by September 1 of the current school year (or February 1 in the southern hemisphere); or
  3. Between 3 and 5 years of age with developmental delays and disabilities may be eligible for services if they meet the DoDEA special education criteria.

For more information please submit any requests to