Veteran's AffairsVeteran FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
What Type of Discharges and Separations make a Veteran Eligible for Benefits?
A discharge must be "honorable." Discharges "under honorable conditions" and "general" discharges do not establish eligibility for Chapter 30.
How Many Months of Benefits can Veterans Receive?
Veterans may be entitled to receive up to 36 months of education benefits under this program after completing the full period of enlistment. This applies if veterans were discharged for the convenience of the government after completing 20 months of an enlistment of less than three years, or 30 months of an enlistment of three years or more.
However, veterans who were discharged for other specific reasons before completing their enlistment period (for example a discharge based on a service-connected disability, a medical condition pre-existing service, hardship, or a reduction of force), will earn only one month of entitlement for each month of duty after June 30, 1985, and also earn one month of entitlement for each four months in the Selected Reserve after June 30, 1985.
Veterans may receive a maximum of 48 months of benefits under more than one VA education program. For example, a veteran who used 30 months of Dependents' Educational assistance (chapter 35 of title38, U. S. Code) and who is eligible under chapter 30, could have a maximum of 18 months of entitlement remaining. A veteran who used 27 months under chapter 34 before December 31, 1989, and who is eligible for chapter 30, could have a maximum of 21 months of entitlement remaining.
How is Entitlement Charged?
Veterans are charged one full day of entitlement for each day of full-time benefits paid. VA can extend entitlement to the end of a term, quarter, or semester if the ending date of an entitlement falls within a term, quarter, or semester.
May Veterans Attend Part-time?
Veterans who are unable to attend full-time are encouraged to consider going part-time. Benefit rates for part-time training are less than the full-time rates. Likewise, the entitlement charge for part-time training is less than the charge for full-time training. For example, if a veteran receives full-time benefits for 12 months, the charge is 12 months. If a veteran received one-half time benefits for 12 months, the charge is six months.
How Long Does Eligibility Last?
Benefits end 10 years from the date of a veteran's last discharge or release from active duty. VA can extend that 10-year period by the amount of time a veteran were prevented from training during the period due to a disability or being held by a foreign government or power.
If a discharge is upgraded by the military, the 10-year period begins on the date of the upgrade.
Veterans who are eligible based upon two years of active duty and four years in the Selected Reserve have 10 years from release from active duty, or 10 years from the completion of the four-year Selected Reserves obligation to use benefits, whichever is later.
What Training may Veterans Take?
Veterans may receive benefits for a wide variety of training, including:
- Undergraduate Degree
- Independent study program leading to a standard college degree
- Courses leading to a certificate in Law Enforcement or Corrections
- Refresher, remedial and deficiency training
Veterans who have questions about receiving benefits for a program should contact the Tallahassee community College Veterans Affairs Specialist at (850) 201-8406.
How can Veterans Determine What Classes to Take?
The TCC catalog outlines all majors available at TCC and what courses are required for graduation in each. All courses must be drawn directly from the outline as it appears in the catalog in effect at the time of enrollment into the college. Students will be certified only for those courses required for the degree chosen.
Are Veterans Eligible for Tutorial Assistance?
Veterans may receive a special allowance for individual tutoring if the enter school at one-half time or greater basis. To qualify, the veteran must have a deficiency in a subject, making the tutoring necessary. The school must certify a tutor's qualifications and the hours of tutoring. If eligible, veterans may receive a maximum monthly payment of $100. The maximum total benefit is $1,200. A total of $600 in tutorial assistance may be paid to a student without charge to the student's entitlement. All money paid after that limit is reached will be charged against that student's entitlement. The student is responsible for paying the tutor.
Are Veterans Eligible for Work-Study?
Veterans may be eligible for an additional allowance under a work-study program. The work-study program allows a VA student to earn the Federal or state minimum wage (whichever is higher) for up to 1,300 hours per year (25 hours per week). VA work study students may be utilized only for "VA related work".
Must Veterans Maintain Satisfactory Attendance, Conduct and Progress?
Once a veteran starts receiving benefits, he or she must maintain satisfactory attendance, conduct and progress. If a veteran does not meet the standards set by TCC, the certifying official must notify VA, which will stop benefits if the school reports unsatisfactory attendance, conduct or progress.
What Happens if Enrollment is Changed?
If a veteran withdraws from a course after the end of the drop period, he or she may have to repay all benefits for the course unless it can be shown that the change was due to mitigating circumstances. VA defines "mitigating circumstances" as unavoidable and unexpected events that directly interfere with the pursuit of a course and are beyond personal control.
Special Note: TCC offers sessions referred to as "accelerated sessions" by the DVA. This means the DVA will accelerate pay status in proportion to the rate of the accelerated sessions. For this reason, veterans should check with the TCC Veterans Affairs Office to be sure of the actual rate of acceleration.
If a veteran withdraws from one or more of courses after the end of TCC drop period, VA will reduce or stop benefits on the date of reduction or withdrawal.
Can Veterans Audit a Course and Get Paid for It?
No, the VA will not pay for these courses. Educational benefits are paid only for classes for which a student earns credit. Since credit is not given for audited courses, the VA will not pay for them.
How do Veterans Drop/Withdraw from a Course and How Does it Affect VA Educational Payments?
To drop or withdraw from a course, a student must complete a form in the Enrollment Services Office and obtain the appropriate signatures. There are two types of grades a student can get from dropping a course — punitive and non-punitive.
The school will establish the last date to withdraw. Students who drop a class, withdraw from all classes, or are dropped by the instructor before that date are assigned a non-punitive grade. This means the GPA will not be penalized. However, the DVA treats a non-punitive grade as if the student never attended that class. If the drop changes attendance status, the DVA will require repayment of any amount received for attendance in that class unless their are mitigating circumstances. Veterans who feel they have valid reason for dropping a class or withdrawing from all classes can write to the DVA and ask to be allowed to maintain the prevailing rate of pay up to the last date of attendance in the course(s). The new rate of pay would be effective the day after the last date of attendance. If mitigating circumstances are claimed, the DVA will require in-depth statements and supportive documents before allowing payment for the course.
Students who drop a course, withdraw from all courses, or are dropped by an instructor after the last date to withdraw may be assigned a punitive grade. This grade will be figured into a grade point average as an "F". The DVA will, in this case, allow payment at the prevailing rate of pay up to the last date of attendance as reported by the instructor. The new rate of pay will begin the day after the last date of attendance.
How do Veterans Receive Monthly Payments?
After veterans select a program at TCC, and submit an application for educational benefits, the VA Specialist will submit an enrollment certification form to VA upon enrollment.
What Changes Should be Reported?
All changes made after the initial application or certification are forwarded to the DVA Regional Office and should be brought to the attention of the TCC Veterans Affairs Office so the change can be reported. Failure to report changes is the primary cause for delays in the delivery of educational checks and occurrences of overpayment. Changes may be reported to the Veterans Affairs Office in person or by telephone.
The most common changes include:
- Change in status of dependents
- Change of address
- Change in major
- Changes in credit hours
- Withdrawal from school
- Anticipated change in place of training
Can Someone on Active Duty Receive both VA Education Benefits and Tuition Assistance for the Same Course?
The only time a person on active duty can receive money from VA and the military for the same course is under the "top-up" provisions. These provisions apply only to persons eligible for Montgomery GI Bill® (MGIB) chapter 30, benefits, Most service departments did not have the budget to begin paying 100% tuition assistance, so Congress allowed MGIB eligible individuals to access their MGBI benefits to reach up to 100% tuition reimbursement (top-off their tuition assistance benefit). Thus, if the military provides tuition assistance that equals 50% of the cost of a course a MGIB, eligible veterans may use their MGIB benefits for the remaining 50%. This is the only time someone on active duty can receive money from VA and the military for the same course.
Can a veteran (not on active duty) that receives tuition assistance from a reserve unit be paid tuition assistance and (Chapter 30) benefits for the same course?
Yes. However, due to the limited amount of money the military has for tuition assistance (TA) benefits, the military may choose not to provide TA to individuals who are in receipt of chapter 30 benefits.
Can a Reservist be Paid MGIB-SR (Chapter 1606) and Tuition Assistance for the Same Course?
If a reservist is pursuing his/her education at the 1/2 time or more training rate, the law permits payment of both benefits.
Where to go for Help
All forms necessary for application for VA Educational Benefits are available at the TCC Veterans Affairs Office located in the Student Union Building, Financial Aid Office. The office is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For additional information or assistance, please call the Tallahassee Community College of Veterans Affairs at (850) 201-8406.