Attention: New Veterans Benefit for Unemployed
Application for Veteran’s Benefits
VA applications determine eligibility for educational assistance. All students must file an application upon starting classes at USC Lancaster. Students who have not previously received VA benefits must file an original application; students who have used their benefits at another school must file a Request for Change of Program or Place of Training form. Students should complete the original application or the Request for Change of Program or Place of Training form through Veterans Online Application (VONAPP) located on the VA website at http://gibill.va.gov/apply-for-benefits/application/.
Types of Education Assistance Programs
Chapter 33 (Post 9/11 G.I.-Bill):
- Students eligible for Chapter 33 must have served on active duty after September 11, 2001 for:
- A minimum of 90 combined days (excluding entry level and skill training);
- At least 30 continuous days if discharged for a service connected disability.
- Tuition and Fees: The tuition and fees payment is prorated by the student’s Chapter 33 eligibility percentage and is paid directly to the school;
- Monthly Housing Allowance: The monthly housing allowance is also prorated by the student’s Chapter 33 eligibility and is paid directly to the student.
***Active Duty personnel are not eligible for the housing allowance
- Books and Supplies: A lump sum stipend is paid directly to the student when the school’s enrollment certification is processed.
- For more information about chapter 33 VA benefits please visit: http://gibill.va.gov/post-911/post-911-gi-bill-summary/
Chapter 30 (G.I. Bill-Active Duty):
Chapter 35 (Dependents Educational Assistance):
- Must be the child or spouse of:
- A veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability
- A veteran who died from any cause while such service-connected disability was in existence.
- A servicemember missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force.
- A servicemember forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
- A servicemember who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability.
- For more information on eligibility and benefit information please visit: http://gibill.va.gov/post-911/other-programs/dea.html
Chapter 1606 (Selected Reserve):
Chapter 1607 (REAP):
Upon receipt of all required documentation, the certifying official will forward an Enrollment Certificate to the Veterans Administration Regional Office. No paperwork will automatically be prepared and forwarded to the Veterans Administration for processing and payment without the student's request. Students must complete the Veterans Certificate Request Form for each term that they wish to receive benefits. Completed forms should be forwarded to the USC Lancaster Financial Aid and Veteran Affairs Office.
**If you are eligible for any of the VA Education programs, please contact Brandi Thompson at 803-313-7068 for required documentation information prior to enrollment certification.
Non-required Courses & Repeating a Course
The VA does not permit payment for any course that is not required for graduation. This includes repeats of a grade 'D' or better (unless a higher grade is required). Additional or excessive electives cannot be certified. This does not apply for courses failed that are needed for graduation. If you are unsure if a class can be certified, please contact our office at 803.313.7068.
Changes in Student Status
All students using education benefits from the VA are required to keep the University Certifying Official informed of all of the following: Withdrawals, change of major, and change of address.
Dropping the enrolled hours below the number of hours certified for may result in a retroactive reduction in benefits and a debt to the VA.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
All students receiving education benefits from the VA are required to maintain academic progress according to the standards established by USC Lancaster. Students who do not maintain satisfactory progress will have their benefits discounted and the Certifying Official will inform the VA of this action. The VA will determine the conditions for reinstatement of benefits.
Important Veteran News:
VOW TO HIRE HEROES ACT OF 2011
CREATES NEW BENEFIT FOR UNEMPLOYED VETERANS
Congress passed, and the President has signed into law, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011. Included in this new law is the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program for unemployed Veterans. The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and the Department of Labor (DoL) are working together to roll out this new program on July 1, 2012. The new program will provide retraining for Veterans hardest hit by current economic conditions.
The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program offers 12 months of training assistance to unemployed Veterans. To qualify, a Veteran must:
- Be between the ages of 35 and 60
- Be unemployed (as determined by DoL) with special consideration given to Veterans who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks
- Have an other than dishonorable discharge
- Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance)
- Not be in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability
- Not be enrolled in a federal or state job training program
The program is limited to 45,000 participants during fiscal year 2012, and to 54,000 participants from October 1, 2012, through March 31, 2014. Participants may receive up to 12 months of assistance at the full-time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill–Active Duty program (currently $1,473 per month). Applications will be submitted through DoL and benefits paid by VA. DoL will provide employment assistance to every Veteran who participates upon completion of their program.
Participants must be enrolled in a VA approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school. The program must lead to an Associate Degree, Non-College Degree, or a Certification, and train the Veteran for a high demand occupation.
On January 4, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Senate Bill (S-3447), “Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvement Act of 2010”. A brief summary of this new law’s impact is outlined below:
POST 9/11 VETERANS EDUCATION ASSISTANCE IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2010
Effective now but not payable until October 1, 2011:
- Expands the Post-9/11 GI Bill to include Active Service performed by National Guard members under title 32 U.S.C. for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing, or training the National Guard; or under section 502(f) for the purpose of responding to a national emergency
Effective August 1, 2011:
- Simplifies the tuition and fee rates for those attending a public school and creates a national rate for those enrolled in a private or foreign school
- No individual state caps
- Private school costs are capped at $17,500 annually
- The Yellow Ribbon Program still exists for costs above the cap
- Allows VA to pay kickers on a monthly basis instead of a lump sum at the beginning of the term and also pay kickers to those who are attending school at half-time or less
- Allows those who are eligible for both Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment benefits and Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to choose the Post-9/11 GI Bill’s monthly housing allowance instead of the Chapter 31 subsistence allowance
- Allows reimbursement for more than one “license and certification” test (previously only one test was allowed)
- Allows reimbursement of fees paid to take national exams used for admission to an institution of higher learning (e.g., SAT, ACT, GMAT, LSAT)
- Break or interval pay is no longer payable under any VA education benefit program unless under an Executive Order of the President or due to an emergency situation such as a natural disaster or strike.
Effective October 1, 2011:
- Allows students to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill for non-college degree programs such as on-the-job training, flight (for other than a private pilot license) at flight schools, apprenticeship training, and correspondence courses
- Flight programs: Pays the lesser of actual net costs for in-state Tuition and Fees assessed by the school or $10,000, which ever is less “per academic year.”
- Housing allowance is now payable to students (other than those on active duty) enrolled solely in distance learning, the housing allowance is ½ the national average BAH for an E-5 with dependents (the full time rate would be $673.50 for 2011)
- Prorates housing allowance by rate of pursuit (rounded to the nearest tenth)
- A ¾ time student would receive 80% of the BAH rate
- Allow students on active duty to receive a books and supplies stipend.