Veterans Education Assistance Guide

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1 Coastal Carolina Community College Veterans Education Assistance Guide A Reference Guide for Using Your VA Educational Benefits 2015

2 Foreword Coastal is committed to helping you achieve a successful educational experience. The staff of our Veterans Affairs Office are here to communicate with you, provide veterans educational benefit assistance, and streamline the administrative process. We look forward to serving you while attending Coastal Carolina Community College on your educational journey. As a veteran or dependent beneficiary, you are entitled to select benefits and to participate in certain educational programs. Our goals are to enroll veterans, participants, military, and other eligible persons under the provisions of Title 38, United States Code, and Section 3675; and to certify veteran students for their educational benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs on enrollment. Veteran students are accorded the same rights; must meet all admittance, academic, and attendance requirements; and maintain the same academic standards as any student attending Coastal Carolina Community College. The information contained in this publication serves as an overview and guide of these programs and benefits. The veterans benefits certified for educational programs offered at Coastal are approved through the North Carolina State Approving Agency. Veterans and beneficiaries are encouraged to contact the VA certifying official for detailed information. Sincerely, Christopher Sabin Director of Veterans Services 1

3 Please read this guide thoroughly. Sign and return the back page, Student Contract. Communication between the student and the Office of Veterans Programs minimizes misinformation and expedites the administrative process. This information will assist you in using your veterans educational benefits, reducing confusion and misunderstanding. We encourage you to keep this guide so you can refer to it often. We recommend you begin and maintain an organized filing system used as a tool for keeping paperwork and letters you receive from us and the VA. A sample filing system may contain folders labeled as follows. 1. Admissions Place a copy of your admissions application, your acceptance letter, and a copy of the academic curriculum outline. 2. Coastal s Office of Veterans Programs File copies of enrollment certifications, this guide, and other correspondence you receive from Coastal. 3. Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) Education Letters Place your Certificate of Eligibility (COE), your award letter, and all correspondence you receive regarding your educational benefits. 4. Disability Compensation and Pension (DC&P) Here you would find letters regarding your Disability Compensation and Pension (DC&P) benefits and any changes made to your DC&P benefits. We ask that you maintain all documentation you receive from the DVA. This documentation will assist us in determining actions needed in the event of a problem such as an overpayment or termination of benefits. 2

4 Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations Cash Collection Voucher a receipt of money paid by you into your Montgomery GI Bill. COE Certificate of Eligibility DC&P Disability Compensation and Pension DD214 Discharge paper of a Veteran Dependent Spouse or child of a Veteran DEA Dependent Educational Assistance DVA Department of Veterans Affairs Enrollment Certification Form is submitted electronically to the DVA reporting credit hours enrolled. LES Leave and Earnings Statement NOBE Notice of Basic Eligibility (Chapter 1606) Notice of Change in Student Status Form b is submitted electronically to the DVA when enrollment changes, either at the beginning of a semester or during the semester. Payment Rates The rates at which a student is paid, based on hours enrolled and the benefit chapter. REAP Reserve Education Assistance Program (Chapter 1607) REPS Restored Entitlement Program for Survivors (Chapter 35) SAA State Approving Agency, North Carolina TA Tuition Assistance Program (not VA) TOE Transfer of Entitlement Voc Rehab Vocational Rehabilitation or Chapter 31 3

5 Introduction Veterans Affairs (VA) Educational Benefits are designed to provide eligible individuals with an opportunity for educational and career growth. It is one of the most valuable benefits afforded to veterans and qualifying dependents when used appropriately. Veterans have earned the right to use their educational benefits for the purpose intended, and Coastal Carolina Community College is both pleased and honored to support you in using your VA educational benefits in accordance with the regulations. We welcome you to our campus and hope your educational experience is enjoyable. The purpose of this guide is to assist students using VA Educational Benefits at Coastal. A student must understand how to use their benefits in accordance with the local community college, state and federal VA policies, and administrative procedures. The Office of Veterans Programs is not attached to the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA); we serve as state employees of Coastal. Our responsibility is to interpret, explain, and administer VA regulations as they apply to you while attending Coastal. The Office of Veterans Programs is open 8:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The office will be closed on weekends and on all holidays observed by the College. The agency that processes your enrollment and compensation is the Department of Veterans Affairs, Atlanta Regional Processing Office. The physical address is VA Regional Processing Office 1700 Clairmont Road Decatur, GA The mailing address is VA Regional Processing Office PO Box Decatur, GA GIBill1 ( ) 4

6 Important Information Regarding Tuition, Fees and Books Expenses Before Admittance to Coastal Carolina Community College Tuition, Fees, Books for Post 9/11 GI Bill participants For students using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA will pay the College a percentage of the in-state tuition and fees. The percentage is relevant to the number of months of active duty service after September 10, See page 18 for more information regarding the percentage calculations. If a student is receiving 100% of the benefit, then the VA would pay 100% of the in-state tuition and fees. If a student is receiving a lower percentage of benefits, then the VA would pay only that percentage and the student would be responsible to pay the difference. For example, a student certified for 13 credit hours at the in-state rate would be charged $ If the student was receiving the benefits at the 80% rate, the VA would pay the school as follows: $ x 80% = and the student would have to pay the difference of $ The VA will also send the student a book allowance. However, the book allowance may not come until after the start of the semester. In that case, the student would have to buy the books up front with either their personal funds or, if they qualify, their financial aid award. The book allowance would then act as a partial or full reimbursement. The book allowance is determined using the following formula: $41.67 x percentage x credit hours certified. For example, a student who was approved for 100% of the benefit and who has been certified for 13 credits would receive a book allowance as follows: $41.67 x 100% x 13 credit hours = $ This amount may be more or less than what the student actually spent on books. The student does not have to send a receipt to the VA to show their actual book expenses. The VA will pay up to $1000 per academic year for books or a percentage thereof. The academic year is typically the fall and spring semesters. However, if a student has not used all of their yearly allowance, they can get some of it for the summer semester if they enroll. If a student starts school in the spring semester, their academic year would consist of the spring and summer semesters. For example, a student enrolled in fall semester for 13 credits at 100% benefit would receive $ as illustrated above. Same student enrolls for spring with 12 credits. While they would otherwise be eligible to receive a book allowance of $500.04, the student would only receive $ for books because he would reach the $1000 maximum for the year. The student would not then receive any book allowance for the summer semester. The $1000 yearly book allowance is also subject to the percentage. A student who is eligible for 100% of the benefit would also be eligible to receive the $1000 yearly maximum. However, if a student is only receiving 80% of the benefit, their yearly maximum would only be $800. 5

7 Tuition, Fees and Books for Vocational Rehabilitation Participants The VA Vocational Rehabilitation benefit pays the school for tuition and fees for courses certified and students can charge their books and supplies to Voc Rehab. Veterans must apply for and be approved for Voc Rehab before they can charge any books or supplies. Tuition, Fees and Books for all other benefit programs For all other benefit programs including Montgomery GI Bill, Dependents Educational Assistance, or Selected Reserves, the student is responsible for all school expenses such as tuition, fees and books. The VA simply provides compensation to the student for their attendance. The student enrolls, pays tuition and fees, buy books, starts classes and attends for the first month of the semester, earning their VA payment. The student should then get paid by the VA in the second month of the semester for the first. For example, a student registers in July for the fall semester which begins in August. The student will pay the tuition when they register and will buy the books before the classes start using their personal funds or their financial aid. They will attend classes in August, earning the VA payment, and then receive payment in September for attendance in August. Annual Certification Cycle VA regulations require enrollment certifications not to exceed a period of 12 months. Generally, all VA certifications at Coastal are planned for termination at the end of the spring semester. You can expect a decreased payment in June and a delay in the receipt of the next payment as a result of the annual certification cycle. Your summer semester enrollment certification is usually not prepared or submitted to the VA until after the first week of class. In most cases, the VA will not have processed your enrollment certification by the time you complete your verification of enrollment for the month of May. You should receive a decreased benefit payment for the last few days of the spring semester. This period is approximately days. Once the VA processes the enrollment certification for the summer and beyond, you will be asked to verify your attendance for the rest of the month or the VA will automatically make a payment to you. It will take some time for the VA to process this information. You can expect to wait at least 30 days to receive payment for the rest of May. If you have not received payment for this period within 30 days from the submission date of the enrollment certification, we can assist you in receipt of your payment. Please make financial plans to prepare for the end of the annual certification cycle. If you do not register for the summer semester but plan on returning in the fall, you may be eligible for an advance payment of your educational benefits. See Advance Payment on page 14 of this guide. 6

8 VA Educational Benefit Programs What is Required to Apply? You may apply for VA GI Bill Educational Benefits before, during, or after being admitted or attending classes. The VA application package can be submitted to the DVA at any time. However, you must be fully admitted to the school before we can submit your enrollment certification to the VA for processing and payment of your benefit. The requirements for full admission are described on page 12 of this guide. All forms necessary for application for educational benefits are available through the Office of Veterans Programs. Once you have all of the forms and documents necessary for application, you can meet with the staff. The staff will answer any questions concerning the application process and review your application package. This step is critical to ensure your application is complete, accurate, and all required documentation is provided for initiating your educational benefits. Application requirements for educational benefits may vary between chapters. Your application package must be complete. Partial application packages will not be accepted. An authorized VA Coastal staff member will accept the completed application package from you. Listed below are the forms and documents you will need to submit to make application for VA educational benefits. Chapter 30 Montgomery GI Bill There are three categories of Chapter 30 Montgomery GI Bill students. Their application packages vary only slightly. Category I This is for those veterans who started on active duty after June 30, Category II This is for those veterans who have remaining entitlement under the Vietnam Era GI Bill. Category III This is for those veterans who initially bought into VEAP and converted to Montgomery GI Bill before being involuntarily separated after February 2, Category I students need to provide the following. 1. Form Application for Educational Benefits 2. Original DD214 Personnel in the Office of Veterans Programs will make copies of your original DD214 and return the original to you. 3. Additional $600 Contribution (aka The Buy-Up or Kicker ): If you made an additional $600 contribution in a lump-sum payment, you may need a copy of your Cash Collection Voucher. If you made the additional $600 contribution by allotments, you may need copies of each LES from which the money was taken. 7

9 Category II students need to provide the following. 1. Form Application for Educational Benefits 2. Original DD214 Personnel in the Office of Veterans Programs will make copies of your original DD214 and return the original to you. 3. Form C Declaration of Status of Dependents. This is used by the DVA to determine the number of dependents for which you can be paid. 4. If you signed a Delayed Entry Contract before January 1, 1977 and began active duty prior to January 2, 1978, you must provide a copy of your DD 4C Delayed Entry Contract. 5. If you have children between the ages of 18 and 23 who are still in high school or college, submit a to claim children as dependents. Category III students need to provide the following. 1. Form Application for Educational Benefits 2. Original DD214 Personnel in the Office of Veterans Programs will make copies of your original DD214 and return the original to you. Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill This benefit is for veterans with active duty service after September 10, The VA pays a percentage of the benefit relevant to the number of months of active duty service after 09/10/01. Please see page 18 for a chart showing percentages and for more information on the Post 9/11 GI Bill. 1. Form application for educational benefits 2. Original DD214 s Personnel in the Office of Veterans Programs will make copies of your original DD214 and return the original to you. It is crucial that you talk with the Office of Veterans Programs about the differences between Montgomery GI Bill and the Post 9/11 GI Bill before applying for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill Transfer of Entitlement This benefit allows some active duty servicemembers to transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to their dependents, meaning spouse and/or children. The servicemember must have completed at least 6 years of service and be obligated for another 4 years of active duty service. The servicemember must first apply to transfer benefits through the DOD website: The servicemember does not have to transfer all 36 months of benefits. They can divide their 36 months between their dependents and even keep some of the benefit for their own education. Once their request is approved, they print the approval and provide a copy to the dependent to whom benefits have been transferred to accompany their application for the benefit. The dependent student would then complete the E and submit it along with the servicemember s approval to transfer benefits. Please see page 20 for more information on the Transfer of Entitlement program. 8

10 Fry Scholarship Effective August 1, The Fry Scholarship added a new eligibility criterion to Chapter 33. It provides benefit eligibility for children of active duty members of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty after September 10, An information sheet about the Fry Scholarship is available at factsheets/fry_scholarship.pdf Eligible children: May be married or over 23 and still be eligible Are entitled to 36 months of benefits at the 100% level Have 15 years to use the benefit beginning on their 18th birthday May use the benefit until their 33rd birthday Effective for terms beginning on or after January 1, Section 701 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountablility act of 2014 (Public Law ) expanded the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship to also provide benefits for surviving spouse. Eligible spouses: Are entitled to 36 months of benefits at the 100% level Have 15 years to use the benefit beginning on the date of the Servicemember s death Lose eligibility if they remary Must make an irrevocable election of which benefit he or she wishes to receive for any and all enrollments beginning after January 1, 2014, if eligible for both Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA) and Fry Scholarship benefits. Identify Fry students as Chapter 33 and use their social security number as their file number. Certify Fry students like any other Chapter 33 student, except for Yellow Ribbon. Students who are not eligible will be mailed a disallowance letter that explains the reason for their disallowance and that explains the appeal process. 9

11 Chapter 31 VA Vocational Rehabilitation This benefit is designed to assist veterans who have a service-connected disability to obtain and maintain suitable employment. This may be done through education, job placement, adaptive equipment, or substance abuse counseling. If approved for an education program under Vocational Rehab, the VA will pay your tuition and fees and allow you to charge the cost of your books and required materials to the VA as well. A service-connected disability rating is required as part of the eligibility requirements. Students can be eligible for both GI Bill and Vocational Rehab; however, they must choose which benefit to use. Interested veterans should contact the County Veterans Service Office. Students will receive guidance from the Vocational Rehabilitation and Counseling Division of the DVA regarding when to apply for admission and meet acceptance requirements. Vocational Rehab plans must be approved. Chapter 32 Post-Vietnam Era Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) This benefit is for those veterans who served between the Vietnam Era GI Bill period and the Montgomery GI Bill. Generally, this period covers anyone who served between January 1, 1977 and June VA eligibility is for up to 36 months of entitlement. Chapter 32 students must provide the following. 1. Form Application for Educational Benefits 2. Original DD214 Personnel in the Office of Veterans Programs will make copies of your original DD214 and return the original to you. Chapter 35 Survivor s and Dependent s Educational Assistance (DEA) This benefit is for surviving spouses and children of veterans who died of a service-connected death, surviving spouses and children of veterans who died as a result of a service-connected disability, or for spouses and children of a veteran who has a 100% total and permanent service-connected disability. Chapter 35 students must provide the following. 1. Form Application for Survivor s and Dependent s Educational Assistance 2. A DVA letter which indicates that the veteran is totally and permanently disabled (also referred to as a Rating Decision) or a copy of the veteran s death certificate. Your application package can be sent without this letter; however, it may delay the processing of your application and the determination of your eligibility. 3. If you are the child of the veteran, you must provide a copy of your birth certificate. 10

12 Chapter 1606 Montgomery GI Bill National Guard/Selected Reserve This benefit is for those who are currently serving in the Selected Reserves or National Guard. These servicemembers drill one weekend a month and 2 weeks during the summer. Chapter 1606 students must provide the following. 1. Form Application for Educational Assistance 2. DOD Form 2384 Notice of Basic Eligibility (NOBE). This form is issued through the Reserve Unit or National Guard. Chapter 1607 Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) Chapter 1607 is a Department of Defense (DOD) or Department of Homeland Security (Coast Guard) educational benefit developed to provide educational assistance to members of the Selected Reserves or National Guard who were called or ordered to active duty after September 11, 2001 or other authorized contingency. Eligibility requires servicemembers to have deployed for 90 consecutive days or more. However, service-disabled members released before completing the 90 consecutive days are eligible. Although it is a DOD benefit, the DVA has agreed to administer payment of the benefit. Members may not use the same period of service to qualify for benefits under CH 1607 and CH 30. Member must make an irrevocable decision as to which program service will be credited toward. Military services will obtain these elections. Chapter 1607 students must provide the following. 1. Form Application for Educational Assistance 2. Form Request for Change of Program or Training Claimant should annotate Chapter 1607 in block 1 of the application and on all correspondence and documents, and a statement I request payment of REAP benefits. If available, submit DOD issued Notice of Basic Eligibility (NOBE) and kicker contract with original application, but if not available, application can still be submitted. 3. Copy of DD214 showing period of service. National Guard members may be eligible after serving 90 consecutive days on active duty if the service is under U.S. Code Title 32 section 502(f), is supported by federal funds, and authorized by the President or Secretary of Defense for a national emergency. 11

13 The Office of Veterans Programs has more information that can be provided to you, or you can visit the VA website, for more information. NOTE: Although you can apply online by yourself for most of these benefits, we do not endorse it. The benefit process is much more efficient by involving the local certifying official before starting the VA educational benefit process. Applying online may result in delays in your benefit payment rather than expediting the process. If you do apply online, it is important that you print a copy of the application. Coastal will need a copy for its files. Returning Students If you have previously used your VA education entitlement and received education or training elsewhere, we will simply need a Request for Change of Program or Place of Training Form. This form is mailed to the VA instead of the above listed new student requirements. 12

14 What Happens to Your VA Application Package? Your VA application package will be forwarded to the DVA for processing as soon as possible. You should receive correspondence from the DVA. The first will be a notice of receipt of your application package. The letter should state, We have received your application for educational benefits. We are in the process of reviewing your claim and trying to determine if we need anything further from you. If you applied online, you should also receive this letter. The average time for VA to process an Original Claim for benefits is weeks. If after 45 days you have not heard anything, contact the DVA to inquire on the status of your application. If the DVA determines that you are eligible for benefits, you will receive two copies of a Certificate of Eligibility. Bring one copy to Coastal and keep the other for yourself. If, however, the DVA determines that you are not eligible for benefits, they will usually tell you why in the letter of denial. You can always appeal a decision and there will be instructions for doing so in the letter. It may be that they did not have enough information or are missing some document, which proves eligibility. When Will My Enrollment Information be Submitted to the DVA? The North Carolina State Approving Agency policy requires that students applying for VA Educational Benefits be fully accepted into an approved college catalog curriculum (program of study) before a certification of enrollment can be sent to the DVA. Coastal requires the following admission enrollment steps before a student can be fully accepted. 1. Student completes and submits an application for admission. This is done before any other steps toward admission are taken. 2. Student requests official transcripts from high school, college or applicable training to be sent to the Registrar s Office. If a student did not graduate from high school, but received a GED or Adult High School Diploma, submit certificate and official scores. 3. Student ensures official transcripts from any/all other colleges attended are sent to the Admissions Office. 4. Student must take a placement test. This requirement can be waived if the student has previous college credit. Your placement test scores will be available within two working days after taking the placement test. 5. Student must meet with an academic counselor. 13

15 New VA Student Guidance 1. An academic counselor may admit you to the school as a provisional student. This allows you to register and attend classes while waiting for a transcript to arrive. This does not constitute full admission to the College, and we cannot certify or submit your enrollment information to the DVA. 2. If you are applying for admission to one of Coastal s allied health programs, there may be additional admission requirements that you must complete. 3. If you have attended college in the past, we must wait until the Registrar s Office evaluates your transcripts for prior credit. Once you are fully admitted to the College, an academic transcript evaluation is completed (if necessary), and you have registered for classes, then your enrollment certification will be submitted to the DVA. A copy of the enrollment certification will be sent to you so please ensure that your address is correct. The VA Form Enrollment Certification contains important information. It tells you that your certification has been submitted to the DVA with a date printed on the left hand side of the signature area. What comments were submitted to the VA. Review the information carefully (name, social security number, address) and report any changes or updates needed. You should see the term dates and the credit hours reported. R/D equals Remedial or Deficiency hours. If you are taking MAT 070, for example, there should be a 4 under this column to report the number of credit hours of R/D hours you are enrolled in. If any of the information is incorrect or appears incorrect, please contact Coastal s Office of Veterans Programs immediately. Failure to do so can result in reduced payments, overpayments, and zero payments. Once the DVA processes your application package and the enrollment certification (this could take weeks), you should receive your award letter. The correspondence will state, You have been awarded educational benefits under the Chapter 30 program. Your monthly allowance is as follows. The award letter discusses Verification of Attendance. You must verify your enrollment on the last day of each month. When you receive this letter, you should contact Coastal s Office of Veterans Programs for further guidance on completing your monthly verification of enrollment. Again, there are some exceptions to verification of attendance. Students using Chapter 31 (Vocational Rehab) can expect to receive their money automatically without verification of attendance. However, if you have reduced your training time, be aware that you may have to pay back some of it. Students using Chapter 35 (Dependent s Educational Assistance) can also expect to receive their payments without having to verify attendance unless you are enrolled in a diploma or certificate program. If you have reduced your training time, you may have to pay back some of it. If you are unsure whether or not you have to verify your enrollment, please ask the staff for clarification. Chapter 33 and Transfer of Entitlement students should receive payments automatically. However, if you have reduced your enrollment, you may owe money back to the DVA. 14

16 Your First VA Payment Once you have completed verification of attendance, you should expect to see your payment in 3 5 business days if you have set up direct deposit. If you have not, you can expect to wait 7 10 business days to receive your check in the mail. There are three ways to set up direct deposit. The first and easiest way is to provide the information on your application for educational benefits. If you did not include direct deposit information on your application, after you have received your award letter, you can call and provide the name and address of your bank, your routing number, and account number. You may also go to log in to the Web Automated Verification of Enrollment (WAVE), and set up direct deposit using the link provided. You will not be able to log in to WAVE until you have received your award letter. Your first payment may be less than what you expected. The VA pays for days attended; therefore, the payment will be prorated for the part of the month that you attended. For example, if you are enrolled fulltime, your monthly rate is $900, and the term starts on August 18, you can expect your first payment to be $ days = (daily rate) x 13 days = 390. The VA does not pay for breaks between semesters, so these periods will also be prorated. For example, if you are enrolled for the summer semester which ends on August 6, and you are enrolled for the fall semester which starts on August 16, you will be paid for two periods: August 1 August 6 and August 16 August 31 for a total of 21 days for the month. You will not receive VA benefit payment for the first month until the second month of the semester, after you have earned it. In the example above, the payment for August will be issued in September. Advance Payment The VA makes special provisions for students requesting advance payment of educational benefits. In order to be eligible for advance payment, students must meet all admission requirements and have a complete educational benefit package on file in the Office of Veterans Programs. Advance payment requests are made between 30 and 120 days prior to the start of the term. The process requires the student to request advance pay, sign, and date Section 16 of VA Form available in the Office of Veterans Programs. Unlike other checks, the advance payment is sent directly to the school before the first day of the term, not necessarily before your registration. In most cases, the student must pay tuition before receiving advance payment. The Office of Veterans Programs can release the payment to the student no earlier than 30 days prior to the first day of the term. The Office of Veterans Programs will not release the payment to the student unless the student can provide proof that he/she has registered for appropriate coursework. The advance payment must be signed by the student before release. The advance payment will pay for the initial month or partial month and the following month. You will not be due a payment again until the end of the third month. Since payment is made at the end of the month, payment for the third month will arrive during the fourth month of enrollment. For example, if the term runs from January to May, the advance payment will pay for January and February. At the end of March, you submit your verification of enrollment and receive your next payment in April. 15

17 Please make financial plans accordingly. Requesting an advance payment does not relieve the student of his/her obligation to pay tuition and student fees if the advance payment does not arrive prior to registration or prior to the first date of the term. Students using Vocational Rehabilitation, Post 911 GI Bill or Transfer of Entitlement are not eligible for advanced payment. Supplemental Educational Benefits There are two forms of supplemental educational benefits that the DVA provides for students using VA Educational Assistance. These are Tutorial Assistance and the VA Work-Study Program. Tutorial Assistance Tutorial assistance may be arranged for eligible persons training under Chapter 30, 31, 32, 33 and Chapter 35 to offset the cost incurred by their need for tutoring. This allowance is considered a supplement to the claimant s monthly educational assistance check and it is paid without any charge to entitlements for those training under Chapters 31 and 35. However, for those persons utilizing Chapter 30 or Chapter 32 benefits, an individual s period of entitlement will be charged with respect to the amount of tutorial assistance paid in excess of $600. The DVA will reimburse up to $10 per hour and a maximum of $100 per month for tutorial assistance. If expenses total more than $100, the student must pay the additional cost. The maximum assistance to which a claimant will be eligible throughout the duration of his/her entitlement is $1200. Tutorial payment for Chapters 30, 32, and 35 The student is responsible for paying the tutor. The VA will reimburse the student for what he/she has paid the tutor up to $10 per hour. If the tutor charges more than $10 per hour, the student must pay the difference without reimbursement from the DVA. Tutorial Payment for Chapter 31 Coastal s Accounting Office bills the DVA for tutorial services. The DVA sends payment to the College. The College then issues payment directly to the tutor. If you are interested in obtaining a tutor, please contact the Office of Veterans Programs. 16

18 VA Work-Study The DVA Work-Study program permits eligible veterans to perform specific part-time work/services in return for a monthly monetary allowance equal to the prevailing federal minimum wage. Work-study payments are non-taxable. Eligible veterans may be hired, sign a contract for a minimum of 25 hours per week, and a total of 1300 hours per fiscal year. Veteran students are employed in the Office of Veterans Programs and in various places in the Jacksonville local area, aboard Camp Lejeune, and MCAS New River. If you are interested, you should complete an Application for Work-Study Allowance in the Office of Veterans Programs. Other Financial Assistance There are several other sources of financial aid that you may want to pursue. These include Federal Pell Grants, and other federal, state, and local programs. Pell Grant 1. Visit 2. There are other federal grants and aid available. You should contact the Office of Financial Aid for more details. Scholarships 1. Coastal s College Foundation Office can be reached by telephone at (910) or visit the office in the Henderson Administration Building for further information. 2. Contact Amelia Grissett in the Onslow County Veterans Services Office at (910) , located at 521 Mill Avenue. 3. Search online at for other scholarships. 4. Visit a Coastal financial aid counselor. SPECIAL NOTE: It is permissible to use select scholarships and financial aid in conjunction with your DVA educational assistance. You should not rely on receiving your first VA educational benefit check to make the payment due upon registration or prior to the first class attendance. Expecting VA educational benefits does not relieve your obligation to pay tuition. Failure to pay may result in being administratively dropped from classes. visit the VA website 17

19 Hour Requirements It is important that all students utilizing VA educational assistance be aware of credit and semester hour requirements for each pay status. For Post 9/11 and Transfer of Entitlement students, hour requirements vary. Please see page 19 for information on credit hour requirements. Hour Requirements for Technical, College Transfer, and Vocational Programs For training attendance below ½ time, the VA will pay you for your tuition and student fee only. In some cases, students may receive a lump sum payment. Students may receive a portion of your tuition and fees for the month. The cost of your books is not included in the payment. Registered classes must be in your approved curriculum program. You cannot receive payment for classes not required for graduation. For example, if you are enrolled in Business Administration and register for a biology course, you cannot be certified for the biology course. You will be certified and paid for only those courses in your curriculum. Exceptions include substitutions and any remedial courses required based on placement test scores. Automatic substitutions are listed in the College Catalog. However, if you wish to substitute one class for another, you should speak with the Registrar s Office and submit appropriate application. If your placement test scores suggest that you start with Math 070 and you register for Math 050, you will not be paid for that course. You cannot be certified for any course that is considered a repeat. These are courses that were transferred to Coastal from a college previously attended or a course you have already successfully completed at Coastal. A D is considered successful completion. If you retake a course in which you received a D, you will not be certified for that course. Furthermore, if you challenge a course and are successful, you will not be certified for that course. Guidelines for challenging a course are listed in the College Catalog. If you audit a course, be aware that you cannot be certified for that course. You do not get credits for courses audited; therefore, the VA will not pay for those courses. Guidelines for auditing courses are listed in the College Catalog. To ensure classes you registered for are appropriate, refer to the College Catalog or see an academic counselor. 18

20 Important Information Regarding Post 9/11 GI Bill and Transfer of Entitlement Post 9/11 GI Bill The VA pays a percentage of the benefit relevant to the number of months of active duty service after September 10, You can use the following chart to determine what percentage of the benefit you should receive. However, the VA may determine differently. 36 months or more 100% At least 30 continuous days and discharged due to service-connected disability 100% At least 30 months but less than 36 90% At least 24 months but less than 30 80% At least 18 months but less than 24 70% At least 12 months but less than 18 60% At least 6 months but less than 12 50% At least 90 days but less than 6 months 40% The percentage applies to your tuition, book allowance, yearly maximum book allowance and the monthly compensation. The monthly compensation is equal to the BAH for an E5 with dependents in the school s zip code. For example, a veteran student who discharged September 15, 2002 would be eligible to receive the benefits at the 60% level. This means that the student would receive 60% of the BAH. If the BAH for the school s zip code was $1200, the student s monthly payments would be $720. If the student is certified for 8 credit hours, the book allowance would be figured as $41.67 x 60% x 8 credit hours = $ If the student s tuition was $457.00, the VA would pay 60% of that to the school ($274.20) and the student would pay the difference ($182.80) 19

21 Be Aware: 1. Once you apply for (switch to) the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you cannot go back to the Montgomery because, as part of the application process, you relinquish any Montgomery GI Bill benefits so there is nothing to switch back to. 2. If you apply for Post 9/11 GI Bill before exhausting your Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), your Post 9/11 will be limited to the number of months you had remaining under MGIB. For example, if you have 36 months of MGIB and switch to Post 9/11, you will get the Post 9/11 for only 36 months. 3. However, if you exhaust your MGIB and then apply for Post 9/11, you can get up to an additional 12 months of benefits for a total of 48 months of benefits. Notes Concerning Monthly Housing Allowance 1. You must be enrolled at greater than 50% of full-time. For the full 16-week semester, full-time is defined as 12 credit hours. If you enroll for only 6 credit hours, you will not get the monthly benefit payments because 6 credit hours is exactly 50% of full time, not greater than 50%. However, if you enroll for 7 credit hours, it is 58% of full time and therefore greater than 50% and you would be eligible for the monthly compensation. Remember, these courses must be in your curriculum and certified. 2. If you are not enrolled at the full-time rate, the VA will also adjust your monthly housing allowance based on rate of pursuit rounded to the nearest whole multiple of 10. Your benefit percentage based on amount of active duty service still applies. If 12 credit hours is full-time and you are only enrolled for 9 hours, you are at 75% which the VA will round to 80% and will apply that percentage to the monthly housing allowance. 3. In order to be eligible for the monthly housing allowance based on the school s zip code, you must have at least one (1) traditional seated on-campus course. If you register for all online courses, you would only be eligible for 1/2 of the national average BAH. 4. If you take online courses for the full 16-week semester and an on-campus course for the irregular 8-week session, you will be eligible for the monthly benefit payment only for the duration of the oncampus irregular 8-week course. After that, you would not be eligible. 5. If you withdraw from a course or the instructor drops you for excessive absences and it reduces your hours to the point at which you are no longer eligible for the monthly benefit payments, the VA may require you to repay some or all of the payments you have already received. 6. If you withdraw from a course or the instructor drops you for excessive absences and it reduces your hours but you are still eligible for the monthly benefit payments, you may still incur an overpayment due to the book allowance. For example, a student receiving benefits at the 100% level enrolls for 12 credit hours and should receive a book allowance of $500. If the student then withdraws from a course and reduces their enrollment to 9 credit hours, they are still eligible for the monthly benefit payment but their book allowance should have only been $375 and the student would have to repay the difference to the VA. 20

22 Transfer of Entitlement The active duty servicemember must first apply to transfer entitlement and, once approved, provide copies of the approval to the dependent wishing to use the benefit. Servicemembers should also talk with their command about any additional requirements they must meet before the Transfer of Entitlement can be approved. The servicemember can go to to apply to transfer benefits. The dependent/student must then apply to use the benefit that has been transferred to them. Applications are available in the Office of Veterans Programs. A copy of the servicemember s approval to transfer entitlement should accompany the student s application for the benefit. The servicemember must have completed 6 years of service and obligate to serve another 4 years unless excluded from doing so by the service. The servicemember generally has 36 months of benefits to divide between their dependents. For example, a servicemember with a spouse and 2 children may elect to give 9 months of benefits to each of the dependents and keep 9 months for their own education. The servicemember might elect to give 18 months of benefits to each of the children, no benefits to their spouse and keep nothing for their own education. There are different benefits available to the children and spouses of servicemembers who use the Transfer of Entitlement (TOE) benefit. Under the Transfer of Entitlement program, children receive tuition and fee payments, monthly housing allowance payments, and the book allowance payment. However, for spouses who use transferred entitlement while the service member remains on active duty, the VA will pay the tuition and fees and provide the books and supplies stipend. The spouse will NOT receive monthly housing allowance payments. If the spouse has entitlement remaining after the service member discharges/retires, the spouse would then receive monthly benefit payments. Hour requirements for those TOE students receiving monthly housing allowance payments are the same as described above under Post 9/11. Adult High School Diploma and General Educational Development (GED) Training VA Benefit payments for the Adult High School Diploma or GED training are not approved for prospective students per the North Carolina State Approving Agency and Coastal Carolina Community College Catalog. A Special Note Concerning Split Sessions for Degree, Diploma, and Certificate Seeking Students Coastal offers classes in split sessions. These special terms are referred to as irregular sessions by the VA. These courses are typically offered at extension sites located at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River. The summer semester at the main community college campus is an irregular term as well. You should check with the Office of Veterans Programs before registering for any irregular term courses. 21

23 For example, a student enrolled in the full fall semester (16 weeks) on campus will need to have 12 hours or more to be considered full-time. A student enrolled in an irregular term (8 weeks) aboard Camp Lejeune must only have 6 hours to be considered full-time. Caution: If you enroll for 9 hours in a 16-week term and 3 hours in one of the irregular terms, you will be full-time only for the duration of the irregular session. After that term, you will have 9 hours only and will be considered ¾ time. The summer term on campus is an irregular term. For this reason, if you register for less than 12 hours in your curriculum, you may still be eligible for full-time payments. Please check with the Office of Veterans Programs to determine the number of credit hours you must register for during the summer semester. NOTE: The number of hours required to be considered full-time for financial aid may differ from the VA requirement. Be sure to check with a financial aid counselor and the Registrar s Office regarding credit hours required for full-time status. Making Changes Any changes made after your initial application or certification is forwarded to the VA must be brought to the attention of the Office of Veterans Programs. Failure to notify the Office of Veterans Programs can result in overpayment, late payment, no payment, no certification, or misdirected mail. The most common changes include 1. Change in status of dependents 2. Change in mailing address 3. Change in program, degree major 4. Anticipated changes in place of training Status of Dependents Students using Chapter 30, Category II (Vietnam Era GI Bill) and Chapter 31 (Federal Vocational Rehabilitation) are paid additional allowances for dependents. If the number of your dependents changes, you must submit a VA Form C, available in the Office of Veterans Programs. Report changes in the number of dependents if a child is born (birth certificate required), a child reaches the age of 18, the student marries (marriage license required) or divorces (divorce decree required). If the number of dependents changes because a child has reached age 18 but the child is still in high school or enrolled in college, you can continue to claim that child as a dependent until age 23 by completing a VA form Request for Approval of School Attendance. Change of Address If you change your address, you must report the change to both the College and the VA. You should submit a Change of Information notice in the Registrar s Office. To report an address change to the VA, you can either call them at or log in to your VA WAVE system record via the Internet and report the change. Change of address notifications are required and notification is critical to the certification and admission process. 22

24 Change of Curriculum If you decide to change your curriculum or program, you should be aware that there are College and VA forms to complete. The College s curriculum change form is available from the Registrar s Office. Anticipated Change in Place of Training If you are moving away from the local area, you should notify Coastal s Office of Veterans Programs as soon as possible before you move. We can provide documentation to assist your future enrollment at the next location. Our staff will also terminate your enrollment certification at Coastal. Failure to notify Coastal can result in an overpayment, which you will have to pay back to the VA. NOTE: We recommend you see a staff member in the Office of Veterans Programs to guide you in completing forms. Failure to submit change of major notices with the College and the Office of Veterans Programs can result in delayed payments or no payments. Drop, Add, or Withdrawal from Courses If you need to drop, add, or withdraw from one or more courses or all courses, you must complete the appropriate form in the Registrar s Office and obtain the appropriate signatures. There are two types of grades you can receive as a result of withdrawing: punitive and non-punitive. A punitive grade of F is calculated into your GPA; non-punitive grades are Withdrawal W, Drop D, and In Progress IP. Failure to be aware of and understand this policy is the most common cause of overpayments and non-payments. You can receive a punitive grade as a result of withdrawing or as a result of being dropped by the instructor for excessive absences. A punitive grade counts toward your GPA (unless it is a remedial course); therefore, the VA will normally pay you through the last date of attendance for that class and reduce your monthly rate accordingly afterwards. If the VA pays more money than you were entitled after the last date of attendance, you will have an overpayment and must repay the VA. You can receive a non-punitive grade as a result of withdrawing or as a result of being dropped by the instructor for excessive absences. Non-punitive grades are not figured into your GPA; they do not count toward graduation. The VA normally treats a non-punitive grade as if you never attended that class. If the withdrawal reduces your training time, the VA will require repayment of any amount you have received for attending that class unless you have mitigating circumstances. If you feel that you have a valid reason for withdrawing from the class, you can write to the VA and submit your reasons. If you claim mitigating circumstances, the VA will require in-depth statements and supporting documentation before allowing payment for a course from which you withdrew or were dropped by the instructor. Mitigating circumstances that the VA may accept include, but are not limited to, the following. 1. Illness of or injury to the student (doctor s note) 2. Death of, illness of, or injury to a family member (doctor s note, death certificate) 3. Relocation due to employment (letter from employer) 4. Work schedule conflict (letter from employer stating change in work hours) 5. Hardship 23

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