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Veterans Education Q & AVeterans Education Q & A

Veterans Benefits - Q & A

A veteran stands tall outside of Cal U's Old Main.Applying for VA Educatation Benefits? If you are applying online using the VA Form 22-1990, click HERE to download the Cal U Tutorial Guide on applying for VA Education benefits.

Q: What does the Post-9/11 GI Bill cover?

A: The Post-9/11 GI Bill was effective August 1, 2009 and with an update known as the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2010. Approved training under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational/technical training, on-the-job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing programs, entrepreneurship training, and tutorial assistance. All training programs must be approved for GI Bill benefits.

Q: How much money will I get under the new GI Bill?

A: At California University of Pennsylvania, you will receive full tuition & fees directly to the school for all public school in-state students.

  • Monthly housing allowance equal to the basic allowance for housing (BAH) amount payable to E-5 with dependents, in same ZIP code as school (California University of Pennsylvania - 15419). (Main campus / Southpointe students only) $1,356.00 per month, based on 100% eligibility of Post-9/11 benefit and full-time rate of pursuit (12 or more credits per semester).
  • For California University of Pennsylvania Global Online students, the housing allowance payable is equal to 1/2 the national average BAH for an E-5 with dependents ($714.50 for the 2014-2015 academic year). For more information, please visit: http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/pdcgi/bah/bahsrch.cgi 
  • Annual books and supplies stipend of up to $1,000.* (paid proportionately based on enrollment)
  • A one-time rural benefit payment for eligible individuals
  • *Housing allowance and the books and supplies stipend are not payable to individuals on active duty. Housing allowance is not payable for those pursuing training at half-time or less.

        Active Duty Completed

Percentage of Maximum Benefit Payable

         At least 36 months

       100%

         At least 30 continuous days on active duty and must be discharged due to service-connected disability

       100%

         30 months to 36 months

       90%

         24 months to 30 months

       80%

         18 months to 24 months

       70%

         12 months to 18 months

       60%

          6 months to 12 months

       50%

         90 days to 6 months

       40%

Q: I have tried to log in the WAVE system, but it says I don't have a record on file. Why does this happen?

A:  There are a number of reasons that you may not have a record in WAVE, and many of them do not require action on your part. WAVE contains information on veterans and service members who are actively receiving benefits under the Montgomery GI BILL - Active Duty and Selected Reserve ONLY.  The following are the most common reasons for not having a WAVE record:

  • If your application for benefits has not yet been processed by the VA, you will not have a record in WAVE.
  • If you are receiving Tuition Assistance Top-Up, you will not have a record in WAVE.
    If you do not need a monthly verification of enrollment for any reason, you will not have a record in WAVE.
  • If you are receiving benefits under REAP, you do not need to verify and may not have a WAVE record.
  • WAVE records will generally be removed about six months after your award.

Q: Can I transfer my education benefits to my spouse or dependent?

A: Yes.

For more information on Transfer of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to Dependents (TEB), click HERE

Other Frequently Asked Questions

a)  What types of active duty service count toward Chapter 33 (the new, post-9/11 GI Bill)?

Active duty service must be completed after September 10, 2001, to count towards Chapter 33.  In addition, for Guard members and Reservists only federal activations count toward total active duty service. National Guard and reserve training and state call-ups do not qualify. Title 32 Active Guard Reserve (AGR) or duty under section 502(f) for the purpose of responding to a national emergency, now qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill under the 2010 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act.

Boot camp and other initial entry training programs only qualify toward Post 9/11 active duty service once a service member has completed 2 years of other active duty service including Boot Camp. For example, a National Guard soldier who has been activated for 18 months cannot count their basic training and advance skills training toward Post 9/11 service unless the combined service would be 24 months or more.

b) Is the Chapter 33 (the new, post-9/11 GI Bill) benefit retroactive?

This benefit is not retroactive. A veteran will NOT receive a check for education benefits he or she has already used. However, veterans with the qualifying service can switch into

c) What happens to the $1,200 buy-in for Chapter 30 (MGIB)?

Individuals who entered Active Duty after June 30, 1985 OR who served a combination of at least 2 years of Active Duty service and 4 years of Selected Reserve service after June 30, 1985 may qualify to receive a refund of the $1,200 deduction for the MGIB (Chapter 30) under the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33).

Individuals must have made an irrevocable election to use Chapter 33 by relinquishing benefits under Chapter 30 and had entitlement remaining as of the date of relinquishment of Chapter 30.
 
  • Only individuals who actually made the contributions may receive the refund.
  • Individuals must be receiving a housing allowance at the time entitlement exhausts to receive the refund.
  • Individuals receiving transferred benefits are not entitled to the Chapter 30 refund.

The amount of the refund will be equal to the number of months and days the individual had remaining under Chapter 30 divided by 36 months multiplied by $1200.

For example, if an individual has 20 months and 15 days of entitlement remaining under Chapter 30 prior to relinquishing the benefit in lieu of Chapter 33, then the individual would receive $683.33 as a refund. The calculation is (20.5 divided by 36, multiplied by $1200). We converted the days of entitlement remaining into a decimal by dividing the number of days remaining into 30 days

d) What happens if I am less than honorably discharged?

To qualify for these education benefits the veteran must have received an honorable discharge or been discharged due to a service-connected disability.

A veteran who did not receive an honorable or medical discharge, may still qualify for Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits if the veteran can prove that a physical or mental condition, not already characterized as a disability and not a result of the veteran's own misconduct, interfered with the performance of their duty. A veteran can also petition the Secretary of their military branch to approve a hardship waiver. Lastly, veterans can apply to have their discharge upgraded usually after 6 months. Contact your local Veteran Service Organization (VSO) for more information.

e) I am a part time student how do my benefits change?

The Post 9/11 GI Bill pays generous benefits for part time students. For example:

Tuition and Fees
: Tuition payments are based on the number of credits a veteran is enrolled per academic term. Fee payments are the same regardless of the veteran's level of enrollment.

Living allowance
: Paid to students who are enrolled more than half time. A student enrolled one unit above exactly half time will qualify for the full living allowance (e.g., if full time is considered 12 units, half time is considered exactly 6 units. A veteran needs just 7 units to qualify for a living allowance). Current rates for BAH at California University of Pa are $1,431.00 per month, based on 100% eligibility of Post 9/11 benefit and full-time rate of pursuit (12 or more credits per semester).

Book StipendThe payment will be $41.67 for every credit enrolled, but no more than $1,000 per academic year. (e.g., a student enrolled in 12 units will receive $500 for that academic term).

f) How do I maximize my benefits under the new GI Bill?

Under the current VA rules for the Chapter 33 (the new, post-9/11 GI Bill), a veteran can maximize their education benefits by attending school part time, at least one unit over half time (e.g., if full time is considered 12 units, then exactly half time is 6 units).

A veteran enrolled in just over half time will be entitled to the full tuition/fee payment, full living allowance and a majority of the book stipend. Most importantly, a veteran attending in this status will only be charged a half month's worth of entitlement. These rules will likely be modified after the first couple years of the program.

g) What happens if I drop out of a class or all my classes?

If a student drops a course(s) or withdraws from school the VA will immediately stop paying education benefits for those classes and the student may be billed for the education benefits they have already been paid for that term. Students are strongly encouraged to notify the VA immediately of a withdrawal to minimize overpayments.

The VA will bill a student in this situation unless circumstances beyond the student's control prevented the student from continuing in school or caused the student to reduce credits. These mitigating circumstances are presumed to exist the first time a student drops 6 or less credits. After the first drop a veteran must prove to the VA that mitigating circumstances were the cause of the drop/withdrawal.

Examples of mitigating circumstances include:

  • Mental or physical illness or injury afflicting the student during the enrollment period.
  • Illness or death in the student's immediate family.
  • Unavoidable change in the student's conditions of employment.
  • Unavoidable geographical transfer resulting from the student's employment.
  • Immediate family or financial obligations beyond the control of the claimant that require him or her to suspend pursuit of the program of education to obtain employment.
  • Discontinuance of the course by the school.
  • Unanticipated active military service, including active duty for training.
  • Unanticipated difficulties with childcare arrangements the student has made for the period during which he or she is attending classes.

If VA rules that mitigating circumstances do not exist than the student will be charged for any education benefits they received for that academic term (e.g., tuition/fees, living allowance and book stipend). 

h) Does boot camp count toward my active duty service?

Boot camp and other initial entry training programs only qualify toward Post 9/11 active duty service once a service member has completed 2 years of active duty service including the boot camp. For example, a National Guard soldier who has been activated for 18 months cannot count their basic training and advance skills training toward Post 9/11 service unless they have also done 6 months of boot camp and advance skills training (totaling 24 months of combined service).

i) Is my school a VA approved school? If not, how can I get them approved?

The VA keeps an updated list of approved education programs (schools and vocational) called the WEAMS list. When you visit the site broaden the Program Type to "all types" but remember only institutions of higher learning are eligible for Post 9/11 GI Bill type benefits (tuition/fees, living allowance and book stipend).

Schools that have not been approved for GI Bill benefits must be accredited by the VA. Domestic programs must contact their local state approving agencies and international program must the VA site and provide the required information.

As of 4/1/2010, all of California University of Pennsylvania's programs are approved through the SAA & VA. Contact the Office of Veterans Affairs for more information.

j) Do I have to call the VA every month to verify my enrollment like under the old GI Bill?

The VA does not yet have a system for verifying enrollment with the Post 9/11 GI Bill. So there is no need to worry that you missed your WAVE call with the new GI Bill.

k) If I plan on changing schools what do I need to do?

If you change schools after starting to use the GI Bill, complete and submit a "Request for Change of Program or Place of Training," VA Form 22-1995, through the VA's online benefits program, called VONAPP. If you are using the DEA (Chapter 35) benefit, you'll need to submit a VA Form 22-5495.

l) I have already retired from the military can I still transfer my benefits to my spouse or child?

Unfortunately, the Post-9/11 GI Bill does not currently allow retirees before August 2009 to transfer their unused education benefits.

m) My institution has signed on to the Principles of Excellence and I would like to file a complaint. How do I do so?

         You may submit a complaint if your school or employer is failing to follow the Principles of Excellence. VA will review the following type of complaints:

  1. Recruiting/Marketing Practices
  2. Accreditation
  3. Financial Issues
  4. Student Loans
  5. Post-Graduation Job Opportunities
  6. Change in Degree Plan/Requirements
  7. Quality of Education
  8. Grade Policy
  9. Release of transcripts
  10. Transfer of Credits
  11. Refund Issues
  12. Other

          For more information, please visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/feedback.asp

n) Can I receive a living allowance payment over the winter/summer break?

Beginning August 1, 2011, break (or interval pay) will no longer be payable under MGIB-AD except during periods your school is closed as a result of an Executive Order of the President or an emergency (such as a natural disaster or strike). For example, if your Fall term ends on December 15th and your Spring term begins January 10th, your January housing allowance will cover 15 days in December and your February housing allowance will cover 21 days in January.

The criteria to qualify for interval pay are:

  1. The interval does NOT last longer than 8 weeks or 30 days between consecutive summer terms.
  2. The interval period is shorter than the academic terms before and after the interval.
  3. The student had to be enrolled in at least more than half time for the term before the interval begins (e.g., in 7 or more units during the spring semester before the summer began).
  4. The student cannot be on active duty.
  5. The student has remaining GI Bill entitlement.

The most common reason for not having a record in WAVE is that we have not yet processed your application - application processing can take six to eight weeks during busy times (at the start of each term, etc). You will normally have a WAVE record the day after we get your application processed without any action needed on your part. You can then verify your enrollment and receive payment normally.

If the above reasons have not explained why you do not have a WAVE record, or if you are still unable to access WAVE after six weeks, contact VA to determine the problem using the "Ask a Question" tab (in the Questions and Answers section of the website) or by calling 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).

For questions specific to California University of Pennsylvania, please visit www.calu.edu or contact the Office of Veterans Affairs at veterans@calu.edu.