This is a guide to the benefits that veterans may be eligible to receive as students at WSU Vancouver.
Frequently asked questions and answers
- I have question/concerns about specific payments made to me by the VA. Who should I contact?
- How can I find out how many months of education benefits I have remaining?
- When will I be paid my monthly stipend from the VA?
- Why haven’t I received my stipend yet?
- What happens after I submit an Enrollment Certification Request?
- How does COVID-19 impact my GI Bill® benefits?
- I am a new student. What do I need to do to establish my VA benefits at WSU Vancouver?
- If my GI Bill® exhausts during the semester, will the VA pay the entire semester?
- What is the STEM Edith Nourse Rogers Scholarship?
- Will my VA education benefits pay for every class that I want to take?
- How does tuition payment work if I receive financial aid and VA benefits?
- Am I eligible for any tuition waivers?
- What is the deal with Tuition Assistance?
- How do I apply for Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) benefits?
- Do I need to tell anyone if I make changes to my enrollment?
- Will the GI Bill® pay for me to study abroad?
- Can I use my GI Bill® to prepare for a required licensing or certification test?
- I am a non-resident student and want to attend WSU Vancouver. Will the Post 9/11 GI Bill® cover all of my tuition?
- How many credits must I be enrolled in to be eligible for MHA under the Post 9/11 GI Bill®?
- Can I take online classes and classes on campus if I am using the Post 9/11 GI Bill®?
- I recently came off active duty. Why haven’t I received any MHA payments yet?
- When do I have to declare a major?
- Do I really have to go to class?
- When I filed the FAFSA, it was based on my income while I was in the military. Now that I’m a student, my income situation has changed. Is there anything I can do about this?
- Can I use financial aid and VA benefits?
I have question/concerns about specific payments made to me by the VA. Who should I contact?
If you are receiving CH 1606, CH 33, CH 30 or CH 35 benefits, please contact the VA directly through their Education Benefits hotline for assistance: 1-888-442-4551. If you are receiving CH 31 benefits, please contact your VR&E counselor directly for payment questions or concerns.
How can I find out how many months of education benefits I have remaining?
You can view this information if you have an eBenefits account. You can also call the VA Education Benefits hotline at 1-888-442-4551 to receive an update on the status of your remaining eligibility.
When will I be paid my monthly stipend from the VA?
The VA typically pays on the first of every month for the previous month. For example, on October 1st you’ll get a check for the month of September. Payments are prorated, meaning checks will be less during months we aren’t in school from beginning to end (August, December, January and May).
Why haven’t I received my stipend yet?
Have you properly established your benefits at WSU Vancouver?
- Have you submitted an Enrollment Certification Request to the Veterans Coordinator, thereby notifying us of your intentions to use your benefit?
- Has enough time passed since the Veterans Coordinator certified your enrollment? You will receive an email from the VA system when your claim is submitted. Two to eight weeks into the semester is the typical time-frame. Longer processing times occur at the beginning of semesters because of increased workloads.
- If you are a dependent, has your sponsor formerly transferred the benefit to you (Post 9/11 GI Bill®)?
- Have you applied for the benefit (i.e. filled out a form 22-1990 or 22-5490, this applies to everyone, including dependents) and received a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA?
- For Chapters 30, 1606 and 1607: has your monthly enrollment certification been accomplished through WAVE or through the verification hotline at 1-877-823-2378?
- For Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation, please contact your VR&E Counselor with all payment questions.
- For STEM Scholarship Recipients, have you verified your enrollment for the previous month using email or the STEMText App?
What happens after I submit an Enrollment Certification Request?
An Enrollment Certification Request form should be submitted before the start of each semester that you plan on using benefits. After you submit the form, it will be routed to your academic advisor for review and approval. Your advisor will approve that you are enrolled in the proper coursework. This is your way of alerting our office that you want to use VA benefits so we can certify your enrollment and you can receive VA monthly stipends. It is really important that you do this as soon as you are registered so you don’t experience payment delays. We ask that you have the form in at least four weeks before the start of the semester.
How does COVID-19 impact my GI Bill® benefits?
From the beginning of COVID-19, VA has been working with Congress to preserve GI Bill® benefits for those impacted by COVID-19. In the Spring of 2020, the President signed Public Law 116-128, then Public Law 116-140 (Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020). These laws give VA temporary authority to pay education benefits and Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) payments to GI Bill® students at the resident rate when their programs are converted from in-person to online learning solely due to COVID-19 until December 21, 2021.
Originally, these special COVID-19 laws were only in effect from March 1 to December 21, 2020. However, in the fall of 2020, these laws were extended by PL 116-159, section 5202, applying special COVID-19 rules until December 21, 2021. These laws cover situations where 1) your school is offering hybrid training (combining online with resident training) or 2) where your school is offering you the option to choose online training in lieu of resident (physically in person) training. Additionally, VA will afford these same protections if you are a new student. While there is no requirement that you must have a previous history of taking resident courses, you must at least be enrolled in an officially “converted course” (a course which your school previously offered as resident training prior to COVID-19, but now offers online due to COVID-19).
What does that mean? In summary, Post-9/11 GI Bill® students enrolled in approved resident (physically in-person) courses at a rate of pursuit of more than 50%, which have been converted to online learning solely due to COVID-19, will continue to receive benefits, including Monthly Housing Allowance, at the resident rate until December 21, 2021, or until the school resumes normal operations of resident training, whichever comes first.
I am a new student. What do I need to do to establish my VA benefits at WSU Vancouver?
In order to establish your VA benefits at WSU Vancouver, you need to complete an Information Sheet and send it to the Veterans Coordinator. If you are using the Post 9/11 GI Bill®, we will need a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility and a copy of your DD214 in addition to the information sheet. The Veterans Coordinator can walk you through the required documentation you will need to provide for other benefits.
If my GI Bill® exhausts during the semester, will the VA pay the entire semester?
It depends. On June 11, 2020, Federal Circuit Court overturned VA rules regarding end-of-term benefit extensions in Carr vs Wilkie. In accordance with the Carr decision, VA will begin paying more benefits because we will now extend end-of-term benefits beyond 48 months. This ruling only applies to cases which have not been finally decided by VA; therefore, it will only apply to cases currently on appeal with the Board of Veterans Appeals or still appealable to VA (those decided within one year of date of decision: June 11, 2020).
Prior to Carr, VA viewed the 48-month rule as a hard stop and would never extend end-of-term benefits beyond 48 months. The court ruled that VA’s interpretation is incorrect and instead, VA should apply the 48-month rule to limit the initial award which will determine when benefits are exhausted and the point at which we should then apply the end-of-term extension (i.e., an end-of-term extension should not be stopped at the 48th month).
Example: Student has used 26 months under CH 1606. He or she now applies for CH 33 benefits. Entitlement to CH 33 benefits is generally limited to 36 months of entitlement. However, application of the 48-month rule limits the award to 22 months of CH 33 benefits. Therefore:
- 26 months of CH 1606 benefits used
- 36 months of CH 33 benefits entitled
- 48-26 = 22 months of CH 33 will be awarded
If the student then uses 21 months of CH 33 benefits (leaving only one month of entitlement remaining), and then starts a 4-month standard semester program, VA will pay benefits for the entire 4 months extending benefits by 3 months beyond the student’s actual award. This student will ultimately receive a combined total of 51 months of VA educational assistance.
For quarter or semester based program, VA will extend benefits to the end of the term. This means if a student has at least one day of benefits to start the academic term but does not have enough days of benefits to pay for the entire term, VA will nonetheless pay benefits for the entire term. Benefits can also be extended under the same statute for non-quarter or semester based programs but the rules for calculating the length of the extension are slightly different. For these non-standard term program, benefits can only be extended to the end of the term if the student has enough benefits to make it to at least the halfway point in the period. However, end-of-term benefits can only be extended for a maximum of 12 weeks. If the student does not have enough benefits to make it to the halfway point, then benefits cannot be extended. Benefits will stop on the day the student exhaust his or her remaining entitlement.
If you are a dependent, there is no exceeding the 36th month of the Post 9/11 GI Bill®, and payments will stop mid semester if your eligibility is exhausted. Similarly, Chapter 35 Dependent Education Assistance students may not exceed the 45-month limit of their benefit, except under rare circumstances which must be approved by the VA. A dependent student may combine his or her Post 9/11 GI Bill® and their CH 35 benefit. This could yield a maximum of 81 months of combined eligibility (up to 36 from the GI Bill® and 45 from CH 35 DEA).
What is the STEM Edith Nourse Rogers Scholarship?
Through the STEM Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship, Post-9/11 GI Bill® students who have exhausted or are about to exhaust their entitlement may be eligible for nine months (up to $30,000) of additional benefits. Review this approved degree list for a complete list of eligible STEM fields. Priority for the Rogers STEM Scholarship will be given to individuals who are entitled to 100% of Post-9/11 GI Bill® Benefits and who require the most credit hours.
You may be eligible if you are a Veteran or Fry Scholar currently enrolled in a STEM undergraduate degree program and:
- Your current STEM undergraduate degree program requires at least 120 semester (or 180 quarter) credit hours for completion.
- You have completed at least 60 semester (or 90 quarter) credit hours toward your degree.
- You have or will soon (within 180 days of application) exhaust your Post-9/11 GI Bill® entitlement
Apply on VA.gov/education. Scholarships are awarded on a quarterly basis in January, March, July and October.
Will my VA education benefits pay for every class that I want to take?
No. Only classes that will fulfill a requirement for your degree program, minor, dual degree, or dual major, can be reported to the VA for the purpose of determining your rate of pursuit.
Rounding Out will be phased out for terms beginning on or after August 1, 2021. Rounding out refers to when A VA student could round out a schedule with non-required courses to bring his/her course load up to a full-time schedule in his/her last term only. Previously this process allowed students to continue to receive benefits at the full-time rate in their last term of enrollment, even though fewer credits are required to complete the program.
How does tuition payment work if I receive financial aid and VA benefits?
Chapter 30 (Montgomery GI Bill®), Chapter 35 (Dependents), Chapter 1606 (Montgomery GI Bill® Reserves):
If you are receiving a tuition waiver in addition to VA education benefits, the waiver is included in your financial aid package. Financial aid will first be used to pay your student account balance and any excess funds will be refunded back to you.
Chapter 31 (Veteran Readiness and Employment, formerly known as Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment):
Financial aid will be applied to the tuition balance on the student account automatically on the first day of the term. Pullman staff places a “Veterans Admin Guarantee” on the student account during the first two weeks of the term. Once the guarantee is on the account, financial aid will be refunded to the student. If it is a financial hardship to wait for your financial aid refund in this timeframe, please contact the Veterans Coordinator as soon as possible.
Chapter 33 (Post 9/11 GI Bill®):
If you are receiving a tuition waiver, it is included in your financial aid package. Your financial aid money is applied to your tuition balance automatically on the first day of the term (this includes grants, student loans, scholarships, etc.). The Veterans Coordinator typically reports tuition to the VA after the tenth day of classes at the start of each term. It can take up to 8-10 weeks into the semester for the VA to pay WSU, and for those funds to be applied to your account by the Bursar’s Office and Cashier staff. Students will not be charged any late fees while waiting for VA funding to come through. If it is a financial hardship to wait for your financial aid refund in this timeframe, please contact the Veterans Coordinator as soon as possible.
Am I eligible for any tuition waivers?
Veterans: If you are a resident of the State of Washington and received an "Honorable" discharge from the military, you may be eligible for a 50% tuition waiver if you have exhausted your benefits or if your benefits do not cover 100%. Please see the tuition waiver applications to view all the requirements or contact with the Veterans Coordinator for more details. Veterans, the Partial Tuition Waiver can only be used for a veteran’s first undergraduate degree or first graduate degree, NOT both. In some instances, it may be in your best interest to save your tuition waiver if you are planning on pursuing a graduate degree at WSU.
An example of how the Veterans waiver works for someone who has 70% GI Bill®, 30% waiver:
- $5,500.00 (Tuition)
- -$1,650.00 (30% tuition waiver)
- $3,850.00 (This is what WSU reports to the VA for your tuition)
- -$2,695.00 (VA pays 70% of what WSU reports)
- $1,155.00 tuition balance you are responsible for paying
Dependents: If you are a child or spouse of a deceased or 100% disabled veteran, firefighter or law enforcement officer, you may be eligible for a 100% tuition waiver. Please see the tuition waiver applications to view all the requirements or get in contact with the Veterans Coordinator for more details. The dependents/spouses tuition waiver can be used for the first undergraduate degree AND first graduate degree. Please note: The tuition waiver programs are provided by the state of Washington and are administered separately from the VA education benefits. Participation in tuition waiver programs will have an effect on your financial aid entitlement.
What is the deal with Tuition Assistance?
Tuition Assistance is administered by the services. Contact your unit or base education office for procedures to establish the benefit, and information on current payment rates and rules. When you receive a Tuition Assistance Authorization form, please provide the Veterans Coordinator with a copy; we will make sure that it is applied to your student account. You are responsible for the portion of tuition that TA does not cover. Excess TA cannot be refunded to students per University policy.
How do I apply for Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) benefits?
If you have a service-connected disability that limits your ability to work or prevents you from working, Veteran Readiness and Employment (formerly called Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment) can help. This program—also known as Chapter 31 or VR&E—helps you explore employment options and address training needs. In some cases, your family members may also qualify for certain benefits. Visit How to apply for Veteran Readiness and Employment to apply.
Do I need to tell anyone if I make changes to my enrollment?
Yes. If you make changes to your schedule by adding and/removing course(s), please submit an updated Enrollment Certification Request or email the Veterans Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org). Even if the total number of credits remain the same, you need to communicate the change because there may be a change in course fees.
If you drop a course or need to withdraw from school after the drop period contact the Veterans Coordinator as soon as possible. The VA may reduce your benefits retroactively unless there are mitigating circumstances. The VA will automatically grant a 6-credit hour exclusion the first time you drop/withdraw from courses while using benefits. Mitigating circumstances are those beyond your control that prevent you from continuing to be enrolled or that cause you to reduce the number of credits. Examples include:
- An illness or injury afflicting you during the enrollment period
- An illness or death in your immediate family
- An unavoidable change in your conditions of employment
- Unanticipated active duty military service, including training
- Immediate family or financial obligations beyond your control that require you to suspend pursuit of your education to gain employment.
Will the GI Bill® pay for me to study abroad?
The VA will not pay for students to study abroad unless study abroad is explicitly required for the degree program (which is rare). WSU instructional costs may be covered depending on your VA education benefit. The VA does not cover fees associated with foreign study, unless it is mandatory for your degree program. The VA will not pay any costs related to travel or third party charges (for example: travel insurance, study abroad application fees, etc.).
Can I use my GI Bill® to prepare for a required licensing or certification test?
Yes, the GI Bill® covers more than just tuition and fees. You can also use your entitlement to cover the cost of certain licensure and certification exams and national tests. VA produced this Test Proration Postcard that explains this process in detail.
I am a non-resident student and want to attend WSU Vancouver. Will the Post 9/11 GI Bill® cover all of my tuition?
No. The Post 9/11 GI Bill® will only pay the costs associated with in-state enrollment. However, the laws concerning veterans and residency for purposes of tuition are evolving. Effective August 1, 2021, GI Bill® beneficiaries will be eligible for in-state tuition rates. Please see the Veterans Coordinator for more information and to provide documentation to ensure you are charged the correct tuition rates. You can also visit the Military Residency Form for a list of military residency exceptions that may apply to you.
How many credits must I be enrolled in to be eligible for MHA under the Post 9/11 GI Bill®?
Students using CH 33 benefits must be enrolled in at least seven credits to be eligible for MHA during fall and spring semesters. If you are enrolled less than fulltime (12 credits) during fall or spring, MHA payments will be prorated in 10% increments. Please note that if you are enrolled in condensed courses (courses not spanning the full 15 week fall and spring terms) your MHA will also be impacted. MHA rates are based on the zip code of the school. Current GI Bill® payment rates can be found on the GI Bill® Comparison tool. WSU Vancouver’s zip code is 98686. Rate of pursuit is calculated differently for summer term, so please contact the Veterans Coordinator for guidance.
Can I take online classes and classes on campus if I am using the Post 9/11 GI Bill®?
Yes, a student can take a combination of resident (on campus) and distance (online) classes. MHA is paid based on the instruction modality of the majority of your courses, meaning a student must be in a majority of in person classes in order to receive the 98686 MHA rate. If a student is enrolled in a majority of online classes, the MHA rate is half the national average, which is significantly less.
I recently came off active duty. Why haven’t I received any MHA payments yet?
You probably need to send the VA an updated DD214. You are not eligible for MHA from the GI Bill® while you are active duty. For example, if the semester starts in August, but you come off active duty in October, you will not be paid MHA for August, September, or October. You will begin earning MHA November 1 and you will receive payment on December 1 for the month of November. The VA needs the most up to date DD214 showing when you came off active duty in order to start paying your MHA. You can fax your updated DD214 to the VA at 1-918-781-7863.
When do I have to declare a major?
The VA requires that you notify them (through the WSU Office of Veterans Affairs) of your major before beginning the next semester after you reached your sixtieth (60) credit hour. If you later wish to change your major you will need to submit a form 22-1995 or 22-5495 (dependents) to the Veterans Coordinator.
Do I really have to go to class?
If you don’t attend class, you are not entitled to benefits. If a student stops attending a class they must drop officially with the college and report the drop to the Veterans Coordinator. This is a student responsibility—not ours. Federal law requires that students report any change in enrollment status, which might affect their VA education benefits to the school and the VA. Your signature on the Supplemental Application form shows acceptance of the responsibility to keep the VA certifying official informed of any change in student status.
When there is an overpayment, the VA will ask for repayment of the overpaid benefits. If you ignore the VA’s request, they can withhold future GI Bill® payments, disability payments, or depending upon the situation, they can take a student to court, charge interest, and they may take future tax return refunds, attach wages, put legal holds on property, or deny home loans.
The Veterans Coordinator monitors student enrollment on a weekly basis via myWSU automated reports and updated enrollment statuses are regularly sent to the VA. When adding or dropping classes, the student must report the drop or add directly to the Veterans Coordinator. Effective August 1, 2021, all GI Bill® beneficiaries will be required to submit monthly enrollment verification to VA. If a student fails to verify their enrollment two months in a row, VA is authorized to stop monthly housing payments.
When I filed the FAFSA, it was based on my income while I was in the military. Now that I’m a student, my income situation has changed. Is there anything I can do about this?
Yes! You can file a Special Circumstance Appeal to have your financial information recalculated. Once the committee reviews your appeal, this could change what you are offered in financial aid.
Can I use financial aid and VA benefits?
Yes! In fact, we encourage that you file your FAFSA to see what financial aid you may be eligible for. VA benefits aren’t always enough to cover the cost associated with being a student (books, living expenses, etc.), so financial aid can be helpful. There are financial aid counselors available to help you determine what would be beneficial for you to accept from the financial aid package you are offered. Grants and scholarships are “free” money, but loans are debt that you do pay back.