This information guide has been created to help you understand how you can best utilize your Veteran Benefits. In addition to general information, there is an FAQ supplement to help guide you through the certification process and your responsibilities as a student using Veteran Benefits.
The school certifying officials for veterans benefits at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus assist veterans and dependents of veterans with the VA application and certification process. School certifying officials are not able to determine benefit eligibility, questions regarding your benefit eligibility may be answered by calling the Department of Veterans Affairs Education Help Line at 888-442-4551, or by visiting their website.
All students applying for VA Benefits for the first time should visit the VA website. Click Education Benefits towards the bottom left and then Apply for Education Benefits. Once applications are approved, the VA issues a Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) to qualified individuals. The certificate will contain basic eligibility information including months of entitlement, period of eligibility and benefit level. Please provide our office with a copy of the CoE.
We also now accept the eBenefits page in lieu of the Certificate of Eligibility. Students can log into the VA website, view and print the “Post-9/11 GI Bill® Statement of Benefits” showing original and used entitlement, benefit percentage, delimiting date and enrollment information.
Students using Veteran Benefits should understand their responsibilities, which include:
- Submitting the Veterans Certification Request Form
- Understanding Course Applicability
- Notifying the School Certifying Official of any schedule changes
- Declaring a major once they reach junior standing (undergraduate students)
Veterans Certification Request Form
This form must be filled out and submitted to the Veterans Certification Department each term benefits are requested. You will not receive benefits for the term until the form is submitted. The form can be completed and turned in (as early as after registration).
To access Veteran Benefits while attending U-M, students must be enrolled in a degree program. Only courses that satisfy current degree requirements can be certified for VA purposes. Excessive free electives, for example, cannot be certified (documentation may be required from advising explaining what degree requirements courses fulfill).
Chapter 33 and 31 students must report all enrollment drops or increases to their academic load. A change in your registration and/or attendance may result in payment changes.
Chapter 35, 30, 1606 and 1607 students must report a drop in credit hours only when it results in a change in their enrollment status (e.g., a drop from full-time to part-time).
The Department of Veteran Affairs requires that students receiving benefits declare a major once they reach junior academic standing. A student cannot be certified beyond his or her sophomore year unless a major has been declared.
In-State Tuition on Basis of Service
Effective January 2014, the University of Michigan offers in-state tuition to veterans, reservists and active duty service members. An application can be completed online at the bottom of the Residency webpage.
In-State Tuition for Select VA Educational Benefits (Choice Act)
The University of Michigan will charge in-state tuition to any individual using educational assistance under either Chapter 30 (Montgomery GI Bill® – Active Duty Program), Chapter 31 (Vocational Rehabilitation), Chapter 33 (Post-9/11 GI Bill®) of title 38, United States Code, and/or the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship while attending the University of Michigan (regardless of his/her formal state of residence).
If an individual exhausts their benefits under Chapter 30, Chapter 33 of title 38 of United States Code and/or the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship, they may be eligible for an extension of in-state tuition eligibility if the following conditions are met:
- The individual has, within the prior 24-month period, used at least 12 months of the above benefits at the University of Michigan before the benefits were exhausted.
- The individual is in an undergraduate degree program and is making progress toward degree completion at the time the benefits are exhausted.
If approved, in-state tuition at the University of Michigan will be extended for either a) a period of up to 24 months, or b) until the individual attains their first undergraduate degree, whichever occurs first. Students must be continually enrolled for the duration of the extension of in-state tuition eligibility; a lapse in enrollment may result in termination of the extension.
The Veterans Certification Department requires a completed application for the in-state extension.
Non-degree students and students enrolled in graduate, professional, or postgraduate programs who have exhausted their benefits under either Chapter 30 (Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty Program), Chapter 33 (Post-9/11 GI Bill) of title 38, United States Code, and/or the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship are NOT eligible for extension of in-state tuition eligibility under this policy.
Important note: If a student has not exhausted benefits and chooses not to access VA Benefits for a term, the in-state tuition rate does not apply.
Change of Program or Place of Training
A request for change of program/place of training (VA Form 22-1995) should be completed if you are changing schools and have previously used benefits at another institution. It can be completed online by clicking Manage Benefits on the VA website. Alternatively, the paper form can be completed and turned into the Veterans Certification Department.
The VA requires our school to report the actual beginning and ending dates of each course. Your VA monthly housing allowance may vary throughout the semester according to the start and end dates of your courses. Enrolling in non-standard length courses may affect the rate of pursuit determined by the VA.
Change in Chapter
Students are responsible for notifying the VA and the Veterans Certification Department of intent to switch chapters for benefit coverage. A change from Chapter 33 to Chapter 31 cannot take place until the following semester if a payment under Chapter 33 has already been disbursed by the VA. Students should verify that necessary documentation is on file and request that their vocational rehabilitation counselors communicate intent to switch chapters to the VA when applicable.
If a student changes majors, the academic advisor must determine the number of credits previously completed that are applicable to the student’s new program. If the change results in excessive credits that cannot be used toward the completion of the student’s current program, then the student must report this to the Veterans Certification Department.
Standards of Progress
Students receiving VA Benefits must make satisfactory progress toward their degree.
Unsatisfactory Progress (Academic Suspensions) will be reported to the VA.
Minimum Credits for Graduation
After reaching the minimum number of credits required for graduation, further coursework cannot be certified for benefits without documentation from the student’s school or college indicating that the remaining courses and credits are required for graduation.
Students receiving VA Benefits must receive punitive grades in their courses. If the student receives a non-punitive grade, they may be charged with an overpayment.
A punitive grade is a grade that is used in determining the student’s progress toward completion of graduation requirements and it is a factor in computing the student’s grade point average. Punitive grades include A, B, C, D, E, and S.
A non-punitive grade is a grade that excludes the course from any consideration in determining progress toward fulfillment of graduation requirements. Students may be charged with an overpayment for courses in which a non-punitive grade is received. The following are examples of non-punitive grades: I, ED, NR, W, VI, U, NC or F (when grading basis is pass/fail). Courses with a grading basis of NFC or NDC may not be certified for benefits.
Courses that are failed and courses with a final grade that does not meet minimum requirements for graduation will be approved and paid for. Courses that were successfully completed may not be certified for VA purposes if they are repeated.
Change of Address and Direct Deposit
Students are responsible for keeping addresses updated with the VA Regional Office. Failure to update your address with the VA will delay payment. The fastest way to change an address or direct deposit status is to call the VA at 800-827-1000. You can also complete the form online by clicking Manage Benefits on the VA website.
Tutorial assistance can be paid to students under chapters 30, 33, 35, 1606 and 1607. It helps pay for necessary tutoring and is supplemental to regular education benefits. The student must be in a post-secondary program training at a rate of ½ time or more, and must have a deficiency in a course that is part of his or her approved program. A letter from the instructor must be provided. The student must be enrolled in the course during the same semester in which tutoring is received for that course. Tutoring may not occur between semesters. The monthly rate may not exceed $100 and the maximum amount payable is $1,200. Students should contact the Veterans Certification Department for the necessary forms.
Students called to active duty during a term in which they are receiving VA Educational Benefits must notify the Veterans Certification Department and provide a copy of orders. The Veterans Certification Department will report the date of withdrawal from school to the VA Regional Office and indicate the reason as “Called to Active Duty”. For more information and a checklist to assist with the transition of your deployment, go to the U-M VMS page on deployment. To resume benefits upon return, students must complete a new Veterans Certification Request Form.
Courses that apply to degree programs may be taken at more than one school. The school that will grant the degree is the student’s “primary” school. All other schools are “secondary” schools. The VA may pay benefits for courses taken at secondary schools as long as they will transfer back to the primary school and apply towards the student’s degree program. A student must obtain a letter from their advisor listing the following and submit it to the Veterans Certification Department:
- Student’s name, name of guest institution and term of enrollment
- Course name, number and credit hours taken at guest institution
- Statement that the course(s) will transfer back at full value and apply towards the student’s degree program at U-M
An approval letter will then be sent to the secondary school requesting that they certify the student for the course(s) listed in the letter. Once the course or semester is over, the student must arrange to have a transcript from the secondary school sent to the appropriate admissions office here at the U-M. When the VA conducts a compliance survey, our records will be reviewed to see if the course was applied toward the student’s program.
Tuition and Housing Payments
Students receiving a Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) should be aware VA MHA payments are made at the beginning of each month to pay for the previous month of training. For example, the September payment will be sent to the student the first week of October.
Once certified, students receiving benefits under Chapters 31 and 33 will have a VA credit applied to their account for the tuition/fee amount our school expects to receive directly from the VA. This process enables the student to access any financial aid awards and avoid penalties due to delayed tuition and fee disbursement from the VA. When the actual payment from the VA is received, your account will be reconciled and you will be notified of any payment discrepancies.
Students using Chapter 31 or 33 benefits will have any tuition-related late fees waived provided they have paid any other student obligations by the established due dates.
Any housing-related charges must be paid by the established due dates. If you are unable to meet housing payment deadlines as specified by Student Financial Services and University Housing, please contact them directly for payment plan options. If plans are available, you generally have to enroll by a certain date. Please plan to contact these departments early if needed.
Q: I have my CoE, what happens next?
A: Understanding the Student Responsibilities: please review the policies and procedures and be sure you understand your student responsibilities.
Veterans Certification Request Form
Q: How do I submit my Veterans Certification Request Form?
A: You may submit your form in person (our office is located on the 5th floor of the LS&A Building (500 S. State Street), or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What happens if I don’t submit my form?
A: We will not certify you for any term without the request form (it must be submitted for each term you would like to use your veteran benefits).
Q: When should I submit my form?
A: You can submit your form as early as once you have registered for classes. If you know your schedule will be changing, it is good to wait until you believe your schedule is set for the term. You may also submit your form once the term has started, understanding that it will still take the VA up to 30 days to process your certification, once the school has certified your coursework.
Q: What if I am unsure of my current amount of entitlement?
A: You can check your entitlement by contacting the VA at 1-888-442-4551.
Q: What if I only have a partial amount of entitlement left?
A: You do not need to have a full 4 months of entitlement for the term, the VA will allow us to certify you for the term, however, they may only pay a portion of the benefits, the VA can explain to you what would be covered based on your eligibility and entitlement.
Q: How do I know what courses apply?
A: It’s important to understand your program’s requirements. Meet with your advisor regularly. You are also able to check your Degree Audit at any time (Student Business area of Wolverine Access, you can click on your “Academic Requirements” and download a pdf of your Degree plan). The audit may not be available for some graduate programs.
Q: What are “Excessive” Electives?
A: Many programs have a limited number of “elective” courses a student can take towards program completion. If your program rules indicate a limited number of general electives, anything beyond that number under “General Electives” in the Audit, would not be eligible for certification. (Example: B.S.E/Aerospace Engineering allows a student up to 9 credit hours of “General Electives”. A student whose major is Aerospace, would not be able to have more than 9 credit hours of general electives certified and covered by their VA benefits).
Q: Who do I notify if my schedule changes?
A: As soon as you have added or dropped the course, please contact the school certifying official and notify them so they can review your certification and determine what should be reported to the VA.
Q: What happens to my certification when I drop a class and I’m Chapter 35, 30, 1606, or 1607?
A: Chapters 35, 30, 1606, & 1607: As long as you are not changing your enrollment status (full time to part time for example), there is no issue with dropping/adding required courses. If you are reducing your academic load below full time, we will need to report the change to the VA and this will likely affect your benefit payment.
Q: What happens to my certification when I drop a class and I am Chapter 31 or 33? A: All changes to classes you are certified for must be reported to the VA. If you withdrawal from a course that the VA has already paid tuition for, you may incur a debt and be responsible to cover the tuition for that course. It is important to notify your school certifying official of any changes and receive advice about how those changes can affect your certification status with the VA.
Q: Declaring a major before I reach junior standing, does this mean I have 3 years to declare my major?
A: No, junior academic standing refers to the number of credits you have towards your program and not how long you have been a student at the University.
Q: What happens if I don’t declare and I reach junior standing?
A: We review the standing of undeclared students each time a certification request is submitted, if they are at junior standing, the student is notified that we are unable to certify them until they are declared.
Q: What if I have not yet met program requirements allowing me to declare?
A: We recommend you meet with an advisor and discuss possibly declaring a major in an area you can declare in. Once you have met requirements for the major you want to declare, you can then change your major.
Q: What if I am eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program?
A: The Yellow Ribbon award was used to pay the difference between non-resident and resident tuition for Post 9/11 GI Bill® recipients. It was a 50/50 split between the University and the VA. The Yellow Ribbon program is no longer needed, it has been replaced by our Choice Act Policy (dependents only)* which is described in our Certification Policies and Procedures.
*Veterans, Reservists, and Active Duty members receive In-State tuition under our residency policy. Dependents using the Post 9/11 GI Bill® are granted in-state tuition under our Choice Act policy.
In-State Tuition for GI Bill® and/or Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Choice Act)
Q: What happens if I exhaust my VA education benefits as a covered dependent receiving in-state tuition under the Choice Act?
A: If a student exhausts benefits or chooses not to access VA benefits for a term, the in- state tuition rate does not apply. However, undergraduate students who have used 12 months of benefits may apply for an extension of the in-state tuition rate.
Q: What if I do not have 12 months of benefits transferred to me?
A: Any term you are using benefits, you will receive the In-State rate. If you use less than 12 months of benefits, you are not eligible to apply for the extension under our Choice Act policy.
Q. Can I use the Choice Act if I’m using Veteran Benefits from another chapter than those mentioned above?
A. No, currently we are only able to offer the Choice Act for those using benefits under Chapters 30, 31, and 33.
Q: How will my course dates affect my enrollment?
A: The VA requires we separate courses based on the actual dates the courses begin and end. The VA reviews your rate of pursuit based on each day you are enrolled and the number of credits you are enrolled in on that day. If a course runs shorter than the entire term, your rate of pursuit will change throughout the term.
(Example: If an undergraduate student enrolled in 10 credits for the full winter term, and an additional 2 credits for the first 7 weeks only, the student would be enrolled full time (12 hours) for tuition and fees but the Housing Allowance would only be full time for the first 7 weeks. After that, it would be a Rate of Pursuit based on 10 hours.
Minimum Credits for Graduation
Q: Once I have met all my degree requirements, if I still have eligible benefits, can I delay my graduation and stay an extra term to receive benefits?
A: You may not continue to use VA benefits to cover courses that are not required for your current declared degree.
Q: What happens if I receive an Incomplete “I” in my last term?
A: We will need to report this incomplete as any other non-punitive grade; the VA may decide to charge you with a debt for the course.
Q: If I receive a grade of Incomplete, and it is reported to the VA, what happens if I complete the course?
A: If you complete a reported incomplete within one year, you may request your SCO report the update to the VA and possibly waive any debt you may have incurred due to the incomplete.
Q: What happens if I receive a non-punitive grade?
A: If the course was certified, we will need to report that a non-punitive grade was received. You may incur a debt from the VA.
Q: Are “Y” grades considered non-punitive?
A: A grade of “Y” is given to a course that extends more than 1 term. As long as the student is continuing, we are able to wait for completion of the course where grades will be entered and replacing the grade of “Y”. If the student is not continuing enrollment in future terms, we must treat this as though it were a grade of Incomplete and report this to the VA, you may incur a debt from the VA.
Q: What happens if my program requires I receive a higher grade in a course?
A: If your program requires a specific grade (example: a C- or higher in EECS 101 and you receive a “D” in the course), you may repeat the course to achieve the minimum grade requirement. However, if you received the minimum required grade but wish to retake the course for a higher grade, the VA would not allow that course to be certified.
Q: What if I fail the course multiple times?
A: As long as the course is a REQUIRED course for your program, you may repeat it until you meet the minimum passing requirement.
Tuition and Housing Payments
Q: When will I receive my Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA)?
A: Once certified, it takes approximately 30 days for the VA to process payment. However, the payments are made at the beginning of each month to pay for the previous month (example: September MHA would be paid in October). Payments are sent directly to the student.
Q: My MHA seems to be different each month why?
A: MHA is based on ACTUAL dates of enrollment. If the term begins on September 4, you would be paid beginning Sept. 4, you would not receive payment for Sept. 1 – 3. In addition, if classes end on May 2, you would only receive payments for May 1 and 2, not the rest of the month. This can cause payments to be slightly different from month to month.
Q: If I have 100% eligibility under Chapter 33, do I have to pay my tuition charges upfront?
A: No. Once certified, students receiving benefits under Chapters 31 and 33 will have a VA credit applied to their account for the tuition/fee amount our school expects to receive directly from the VA. This process enables the student to access any financial aid awards and avoid penalties due to delayed tuition and fee disbursement from the VA. When the actual payment from the VA is received, your account will be reconciled and you will be notified of any payment discrepancies. Students using Chapter 31 or 33 benefits will have any tuition-related late fees waived provided they have paid any other student obligations by the established due dates.
Q: Do I have to pay housing charges upfront?
A: Any housing-related charges must be paid by the established due dates. If you are unable to meet housing payment deadlines as specified by Student Financial Services and University Housing, please contact them directly for payment plan options. If plans are available, you generally have to enroll by a certain date. Please plan to contact these departments early if needed.
Student Financial Services
School Certifying Official for VA Benefits
Office of the Registrar
Veterans Certification Department
LSA Suite 5000, 500 S. State Street
3rdParty Billing for Chapter 31 Benefits, Federal and State Tuition Assistance & Children of Veterans Tuition Grant
Student Financial Operations
Veteran and Military Services Program
Office of New Student Programs
2011 SAB Building, 515 E. Jefferson Street
Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA)
Department of Veteran Affairs
Health Care: 877-222-8387
Life Insurance: 800-669-8477
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors: 313-471-3800
Other VA Benefits: 800-827-1000
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website.