Veterans FAQ

 

What will the Montgomery GI Bill do for me?

The Montgomery GI Bill will provide you with a monthly educational allowance to help you pay for your education. The monthly benefit amount depends upon the number of credits you take each term, the length of each course, and the length of your initial enlistment. During a standard 16-week semester, 12 semester hours or more are considered full time. Please access the following website for current pay rates www.gibill.va.gov/GI_Bill_Info/rates.htm.) If you are eligible for the College Fund, you will receive additional monies. You may be eligible for 36 months of full-time educational benefits, provided you completed your initial obligation with an honorable discharge. However, you must use your benefits within a specified time frame or they will expire.

 

How do I start using my Montgomery GI Bill?

Apply for your benefits by completing VA Form 22-1990, Application for VA Education Benefits, or you can apply online at http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/. Veterans should submit a copy of their most recent DD-214 (Member copy 4) with the application. Select a school you would like to attend and make sure it is approved for veterans benefits. Once you have been admitted to the school, talk to a counselor and select a degree program. Register only for courses required under your degree program. Request transcripts from all previous educational institutions and your military transcript and have them evaluated for possible credit toward your degree. This is a DVA (Department of Veterans Affairs) requirement.

 

How does the Department of Veterans Affairs know to pay me?

The campus Veterans' Representative will certify your enrollment to the VA Regional Processing Office, Buffalo, New York. The DVA will process your claim and send a check directly to you or to a direct deposit account designated by you, each month you are enrolled in school.

Students who receive either the MGIB or Selected Reserve MUST verify their enrollment each month to receive payments. This verification can be done either by using the Web Automated Verification of Enrollment (WAVE) system or by using an automated telephone system (877.823.2378).

 

When will I receive my first check? How do I find out the status of my payments?

New applicants should allow 8-12 weeks from the date your application for benefits and your certification of enrollment was processed by the college to receive your first check. You will be paid retroactively from the first day of class. Once you receive your first check, subsequent checks should arrive near the middle of each month. By setting up direct deposit, the monies are deposited the first week of the month.

Students may inquire about the status of a pending claim through the Questions and Answers website https://www.gibill2.va.gov/cgi-bin/vba.cfg/php/enduser/std_alp.php. Students may also contact the Regional Processing Office at 888.442.4551 (888.GI Bill 1).

 

Am I required to pay my tuition up front?

Yes.

 

Must I attend school full-time to receive my benefits?

No. You may take as many or as few courses as you feel you can comfortably manage. Your monthly payment will be determined by the number of semester hours in which you are enrolled and the length of your courses. For instance, if you are a full-time student taking 12 or more semester hours, you will receive full-time benefits for each month you continue with this training time. If you are a part-time student taking less than 12 semester hours, your monthly benefit checks will be reduced accordingly. You must be enrolled half-time or more in order to receive a monthly payment from the DVA. If you are enrolled for less than half-time, or if you are on active duty, you will receive a lump sum payment of tuition cost or the amount of your monthly benefits, whichever is less. Exception: Chapter 32 and Chapter 1606 receive monthly checks for less-than-half time training.

 

Will I automatically receive benefits next semester?

No. Students must submit a Notification of Veterans Student Status form at the start of each semester. Then, the Veterans' Representative will review your program of study and certify the courses you are enrolled in that are required to complete your degree program. Certification of Enrollment will then be sent to the Regional Processing Office in Buffalo, New York.

 

How long will I continue to receive my benefits?

If you completed at least 20 months of a two-year enlistment or 30 months of a three-year enlistment, you are typically entitled up to 36 months of full-time educational benefits. Your training time will be deducted from your 36 months as it is used. For example, if you are taking six credits as a half-time student, the DVA will deduct 1/2 month of entitlement for each month you are paid at the half-time training rate. In this case, you could continue going to school half-time for a total of 72 months. If you increase your training time, your monthly benefits will increase and your 36 months of eligibility will be depleted faster.

 

What happens if I withdraw from a course? What if I fail a course?

If you withdraw from a course the DVA may require you to repay the money for this course retroactive to the first day of class unless you withdrew due to reasons beyond your control. If the DVA accepts your reason for withdrawing as being beyond your control, you will be paid through the last day of attendance. If this is the first instance you withdrew, the DVA may consider that mitigating circumstances exist without explanation from you for withdrawing from a course or courses totaling not more than six semester hours. Note: You must report any changes in your class schedule to your Veterans' Representative to avoid overpayment of your educational benefits.

If you fail a course and the course is required for graduation, the DVA will pay you to repeat it and will not recover the money already paid you for the course you failed. However, you must maintain satisfactory academic progress as measured by your cumulative grade point average and the number of credits you have attempted. If your progress becomes unsatisfactory, your benefits will be suspended until you regain satisfactory progress for your degree program.

 

May I enroll in any course I want?

No. Once you are placed into a program, you may only take classes that are required under that program; DVA will not pay for a course that cannot be used in your degree program. Also, DVA will not pay for a course you have already taken and successfully completed.

 

May I change my degree program?

Yes. The DVA allows you to make a plan change. You will need to select a new program of study, have all your previous credits evaluated and complete VA Form 22-1995 (Request for Change of Program or Place of Training).

 

What about transcript requests?

Submit official transcripts for evaluation to the Office of Admissions and Records, including your DD-214, and transcripts from prior colleges and military service schools. The DVA requires an evaluation of your military training/experience and all prior college credits. All transcripts must be submitted and evaluated by the end of your second semester; otherwise DVA will stop your benefits.

Community College of the Air Force (http://www.au.af.mil/au/ccaf/)
AARTS/Army/ACE Registry Transcript System (aartstranscript.army.mil/)
SMART/Sailor/Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript (smart.navy.mil/request.pdf)
U.S. Coast Guard

 

What information can I obtain by calling 888.442.4551?

This toll free line provides information on DVA educational benefits 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The automated system provides a wide range of information about DVA educational benefits and specific information about individual accounts. Customers may speak to an Education Officer during business hours Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (excluding federal holidays). You may also access the following web site for additional information www.gibill.va.gov/.

 

Does VA ever NOT pay break pay?

VA doesn't pay over the break in the following situations:

  • The break is MORE than 56 days
  • The terms either BEFORE or AFTER are shorter than the break
  • The student changes schools and the break is MORE than 30 days
  • The student changes schools and programs
  • Training time prior to the break is less than 1/2 time (rate of pursuit is less than 50%)
  • The student is on active duty
  • The school does not operate on term, quarter, or semester basis
  • Enrollment in non-standard terms is not consecutive.

VA also doesn't pay break pay if:

  • You specifically state that you don't want payment for the break. You must make the request BEFORE VA actually authorizes payment for the break.
  • Your entitlement will run out during the break.
  • You withdraw from all courses or discontinue training during the term preceding the break.

Learn what education benefit is best for you:

Many veterans and active duty personnel can qualify for more than one education benefits program, including the

Depending on your individual circumstances, one of these programs may give you better benefits than the others. While you are the only person who can choose which program meets your needs, the Department of Veterans Affairs has developed a step-by-step process that may help you compare the different education programs and decide which is best for you.

Follow the link below to the Step-by-Step process developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs:

Step-By-Step