Education Allowance for Long-Term International Assignment Policy

Policy Statement

To provide Duke employees on long-term assignment with an education allowance to assist in defraying those costs necessary for up to two children to obtain adequate educational services in the host country which are ordinarily provided without charge by the public schools in the employees’ home country. "Adequate educational services" means an elementary school (grades kindergarten and 1-8 or equivalent) or secondary school (grades 9-12 or equivalent) not requiring mandatory denominational religious instruction and providing an educational curriculum and services reasonably comparable to those normally provided without charge in public schools in the United States. The major criterion of "adequacy" is whether a child of normal ability, upon completion of a grade, or its equivalent, can enter the next higher grade in a public school in the United States. The Department of State Office of Overseas Schools determines the "adequacy" of the schools at the overseas posts. Educational allowances provided by Duke are reportable income under the provisions of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.

Policy Details

Application to which groups

Long-term assignment (one year or more).
Third country foreign national-only when it satisfies the duration of a long term.


You are eligible for the education allowance if:

  • You meet the established Duke payroll/benefits classifications to be eligible for benefits coverage (staff members scheduled to work at least 30 hours per week, a faculty employee holding a regular rank appointment who is receiving wages for Social Security purposes, or a faculty employee holding other than a regular rank appointment and classified as a full-time member of the faculty, who is receiving wages for Social Security purposes); and
  • Have at least five years of consecutive full-time service as a regular full-time employee during your current term of employment. You must remain in this employment status to maintain eligibility.


Accompanying dependents are eligible for the education allowance when an assignment is one year or more in length at the outset. Assignments under one year in length at the outset are not eligible. Assignments under one year at the outset that are extended during the assignment period are eligible for the education allowance, on a case by case basis, but usually would require an additional 12 months at the moment of revision of the assignment.


Whereas there is an academic/business interest for the university to assign an employee overseas for a period of one year or more for a long-term assignment, the university will provide an education allowance to all child dependents who attend elementary through secondary school. This assistance is provided when parents must pay tuition in order to ensure that children receive an adequate education.


  1. Funding for the Educational Allowance must be provided by the employing school, department, or program. The Educational Allowance for overseas assignments is not covered by the University fringe benefits pool.   
  2. Duke's education allowance is the amount listed in the U.S. State Department Standardized Regulations. The rates are located on the U.S. Department of State website and are set by location.   
  3. Upon submission of an invoice or receipt, eligible employees will receive the education allowance annually at the beginning of the child's school year or earlier if required by the school to insure the placement. Employees are responsible for completing the Education Allowance Long Term International Program form in advance of any tuition deadlines. The Education Allowance is a taxable benefit. Applicable tax rates will be applied at the time of payment.   
  4. If an individual's employment is voluntarily or involuntarily terminated after tuition is paid for that year but before the end of the academic year, Duke reserves the right to require reimbursement for tuition paid on a pro-rated basis.   
  5. On occasion, employees may find it either necessary or desirable to arrange for schooling outside the host country. Under such circumstances, the following education allowance provisions apply:
    1. When there is no local international school that meets the adequate educational services required, Duke will cover the closest out-of-country schooling costs for each dependent child up to the away from post education allowance limit published in the U.S. State Department Standardized Regulations. Duke will pay for one roundtrip economy airline ticket per year by the shortest routing to see a parent in the host country.   
    2. When there is a local international school of adequate standard but the employee elects to send a child away from the host country for schooling, the employee will receive no more than the U.S. State Department education allowance for the host country. Duke will not pay for travel of the child.   
  6. On occasion, employees may choose to home school their children in lieu of enrolling them in a school. Under such circumstances, Duke will cover the costs of curriculum material, online classes, books, testing materials, and supplies, including postage (air freight or air mail as appropriate) for up to $1,500 per child per year.

Policy Number: 11.01

Issued Date

July 1, 2011

Last Revised

October 23, 2013


International Policy