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Foreign Service Families Act 2021

The Foreign Service Families Act was signed into law as a part of the Defense Authorization Act. It had bipartisan support and was signed by President Biden on December 27, 2021. This was the first comprehensive reauthorization for the State Department in almost 20 years. AFSA (American Foreign Service Association) had been lobbying for the Act and AAFSW had supported it working with AFSA to gather information. Here are the synopses of some of the changes and links to the full explanations.

It mandates the states to grant in-state tuition at public universities to Foreign Service members, their children and spouses in their state of residence even if they are assigned overseas. While most states have granted this California has been a major holdout in the past. This mandate will begin July 1, 2024.

In-State College Tuition: read more.

Other parts of the Foreign Service Families Act deal with EFM employment and encouraging telecommuting. It also enables FS families to get out of phone, car, house and other leases if assigned overseas. 

Catch-all update on everything in the new FS Families Act.

AFSA, AAFSW and other interested parties have been working for the last several years to make the Special Needs Education Allowance (SNEA) more transparent, easier to access and more standardized. Changes have been included in the new 3 FAM section. An appeals process is being negotiated and is almost completed. The DOS Authorization Act states that the Office of Overseas Schools must maintain a list of the overseas schools which receive DOS assistance and what services they provide for students with disabilities.

Schools and SNEA: read more.


These are all good news for our families.

Ann La Porta