Veterans’ Benefits and Standards of Progress
The College makes every effort to assist active-duty military personnel and veterans in their academic pursuits. Most of RCC’s programs of study are approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the payment of veterans’ educational benefits. Assistance with benefits is available in the Financial Aid office at either RCC campus. Questions regarding eligibility for education benefits or VA policies and procedures may also be directed to: The Department of Veterans Affairs, P.O. Box 4616, Buffalo, NY 14240-4616. Telephone: 1-888-442-4551. Web site: www.gibill.va.gov. Veterans are encouraged to go to www.gibill.va.gov and apply and complete the Online VA Application through VONAPP. Students using their benefits for the first time must complete the Application for Education Benefits (VA Form 22-1990) and provide an original or court-certified copy of their discharge papers (DD-214). Students who believe they are eligible for Chapter 35 dependents’ educational benefits (for spouse or child(ren) should complete an Application for Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (VA Form 22-5490). Veterans who have used their benefits at another school must complete a Request for Change of Program or Place of Training (VA Form 22-1995) and, if a spouse or dependent, they must complete a Request for Change of Program or Place of Training (VA Form 22-5495).
Montgomery G.I. Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) Benefits: A veteran may be eligible to receive MGIB benefits while on active duty or after they have separated from active duty. To find out if you are eligible for education benefits you must apply for benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) www.gibill.va.gov. . (The period of active military service must have terminated under conditions other than dishonorable.) Generally, benefits are payable for 10 years following the veterans release from active duty. This program is commonly known as Chapter 30.
NOTE: In order for the college to certify enrollment, a veteran must be officially accepted into a curriculum/program and should provide a receipted copy of the registration form to the Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs Officer each term of enrollment. The processing of enrollment certifications usually occurs after the add/drop period each semester. The student is responsible for advising the college and Veterans Administration of any change in enrollment status or curriculum/program. This is an important responsibility and one which has direct bearing on the level of payment.
Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI BILL: Go to www.gibill.va.gov for instructions and guidance. If you are a veteran, make sure to complete the VA Form 22-1990 application online at www.gibill.va.gov if you are applying for benefits for yourself, your spouse, and/or your child(ren). Once the VA Form 22-1990 is completed those veterans wishing to “transfer” their “entitlement” to spouse or child will then be directed to complete the VA FORM 22-1990E (transfer of entitlement) for the spouse and/or child(ren). Once the veteran, spouse, and/or child receive a “Certificate of Eligibility” letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs Office that letter should be submitted immediately to the RCC Veterans Affairs Office.
Chapter 31- Vocational Rehabilitation Program: Those students who participate in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program (Chapter 31) will be allowed to charge registration with receipt of VA FORM 28-1905 submitted to the Veterans Affairs Office, Business Office and Bookstore. Additional information may be obtained through the RCC Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs office or the student’s Vocational Rehabilitation Veterans Benefits counselor.
Other Programs - Veterans are advised to review other veteran education benefit programs at www.gibill.va.gov. Other VA programs include: Reserve Educational Assistance (REAP), Survivors & Dependents Assistance (DEA/Chapter 35), Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP), Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP).
Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program (formally known as the Virginia War Orphans Education Program): The Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program (MSDEP) provides education benefits to spouses and children of military service members who were killed, missing in action, or taken prisoner, or who become at least 90 percent disabled as a result of military service in an armed conflict. The purpose of this program is to provide undergraduate or other postsecondary education free of tuition and fees. Students may verify eligibility and request applications by contacting the RCC Financial Aid/Veterans Affairs Office. If possible, applications should be submitted at least four months before the expected date of admission. The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) will determine eligibility.
Veterans Tuition Assistance Program: In addition to regular monthly benefits, the VA will also pay for tuition assistance for qualified students. Contact the RCC Cashier located in the College Business Office to inquire regarding Tuition Assistance.
Veterans Benefits and Standards of Progress
Students using veterans’ educational benefits must enroll only in Veterans Administration approved curricula and may only take required prerequisites and courses for the curriculum in which they are officially enrolled. All courses must be taken for credit. Audited courses cannot be taken using VA benefits. Remedial and deficiency/developmental courses offered as distance learning/independent study (online) cannot be approved and cannot be certified to VA. Students who take courses which are not required by the curriculum in which they are enrolled must reimburse the Veterans Administration for benefits received for those courses. Students inquiring about using Veterans Benefits should contact the Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs Officer at RCC to ensure appropriate paperwork has been received.
A curriculum change can be made so long as no significant loss of credit occurs. However, the student should contact the RCC Financial Aid/Veterans Affairs Office to determine if a “change of program” VA form would have to be completed and submitted.
To remain eligible for VA educational benefits, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress. A student who is placed on academic suspension or dismissal will be reported to the VA as making unsatisfactory progress. RCC grading policies will be used to determine whether veterans are maintaining satisfactory progress. The Veterans Affairs Office will also report to the Veterans Administration as soon as possible any change in the status of veterans, whether that is a change of curriculum, reduction or increase in course load, or withdrawal.
Enrollment changes: When receiving veterans’ benefits, a student must report any enrollment changes promptly to the Veterans Affairs Office located in the Financial Aid office at RCC. Status changes include change of curriculum, reduction/increase in course load, withdrawal, suspension, dismissal, etc.
Note: Enrollment changes may adjust a student’s entitlement to benefits.
Educational benefits will not be given for audited courses or courses from which the eligible student withdraws, is administratively withdrawn, or receives a final grade of “W,” unless the VA finds mitigating circumstances involved in the withdrawal. Also, educational benefits are only available for courses required in the eligible students’ curriculum or those developmental courses required in preparation for meeting curricular requirements.