OCONUS travel entitlements for college-bound students

OCONUS travel entitlements for college-bound students

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

The last semester of a high school senior year is full of excitement — colleges and universities send out admissions offers; students graduate and head off into the great unknown of their future. However, being stationed overseas can present its own set of unique challenges. You can’t exactly pack up the car and drive it to your destination in the States. Thankfully, there are some provisions offered for college-bound students whose parents are living overseas.

Before you head to the traffic management office (TMO) to book your tickets, you need to start by getting student travel orders established. To do this, you’ll need a copy of your child’s college acceptance letter and a copy of the most recent permanent change of station (PCS) orders for the sponsor. Take those documents to your local personnel office for processing. In light of the current situation and reduced manning, be sure to give a few extra days for the orders to be cut.

Dependent Student Travel. The Dependent Student Travel program applies to command-sponsored dependents of a service member permanently assigned OCONUS. Unmarried students under age 23 are authorized round-trip government-funded travel once per fiscal year (Oct. 1 to Sept. 30) to and from the sponsor’s duty station and the student’s school. This provision is not carried over, so if you don’t use it during one fiscal year, you won’t get two the next year. The program isn’t applicable for students attending service academies, as they have separate authorizations.

Unaccompanied Baggage. The good news is your student is authorized one unaccompanied baggage shipment of up to 350 pounds per approved trip. Books, clothes, linens and other items (except furniture) can be shipped. However, if the shipment is overweight, the sponsor is responsible for excess charges. If you’d rather store your student’s goods at the end of the school year, you can opt to store them near the college and get reimbursed for storage costs. Just know that the storage fees will only be reimbursed up to the cost of shipping the goods; anything more will be at your expense.

Figuring out the travel and shipping logistics for your college-bound student can feel a bit overwhelming. With a little advanced planning, you can ease some of the stress. For more information, contact your local TMO office and visit defensetravel.dod.mil (section 050816 for student travel) for the most up-to-date guidance.

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