Frequently Asked Questions
Are there certain classes I can't take while using the GI Bill?
The VA will only pay for courses within the student's degree plan. If a student takes a course outside of their degree plan they may be asked to pay the VA back the charges for the class, the book stipend, and the BAH allotted to them during that period of enrollment. To ensure that you are taking courses within your degree plan please talk to your advisor and refer to the academic catalog found online. The only exception for this rule is if it is the students last term of attendance. As long as the student is taking one course required for their degree plan, they are able to choose any other elective credits to remain full time.
What is The Yellow Ribbon Program?
The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program (Yellow Ribbon Program) is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. This program allows institutions of higher learning (degree granting institutions) in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with VA to fund tuition expenses that exceed the maximum cap of $19,198.31 and ensure the students tuition and fees are covered at the 100% rate
How do I qualify for The Yellow Ribbon Program?
As long as you are entitled to 100% you automatically qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program, there is no additional paperwork to participate. Saint Martin's does not cap for Yellow Ribbon participants, and when certified for 100% you will automatically be certified for Yellow Ribbon
How does the $19,198.31 cap for private institutions work?
Starting August 1, 2011 the VA caps an annual $19,198.31 for private institutions which is the maximum amount the VA will pay for tuition in an academic year. A majority of the $19,198.31 is used during the first semester or generally fall semester. This does not mean that your funding is up and you'll have to pay out of pocket, this just means during the spring and summer semesters you will use the remaining VA funds as well as Yellow Ribbon funds and will continue to covered tuition and fees at 100%.
I didn’t use Yellow Ribbon funding in fall semester, do I need to reapply for Yellow Ribbon?
No, you did not have to utilize Yellow Ribbon because the $19,198.31 was enough to cover all of fall semester. Once you register for spring or summer you will use the remaining VA funds and Yellow Ribbon to make up the difference. A 100% eligible VA student receiving chapter 33 benefits should not have to pay out of pocket for tuition and fees as long as the classes are required for the degree program, you are in good academic standing, you complete the courses your register for and you have enough benefits to cover the semester
How do you certify and calculate my remaining benefits?
Students are only certified for the semesters they have registered for, and by the specific dates in the term. For example if you are a extension campus student taking 8 week terms you are only certified for the term not the breaks in between the terms. The VA is responsible for keeping track of how much benefit a student has remaining and notifying them of any changes
How do I get my books paid for?
If you are Chapter 33 Yellow Ribbon student entitled to 100%, typically the student pay’s out of pocket for books and is later reimbursed by the VA up to a $1000 per academic year. Book vouchers are not available through the Student Financial Service Center unless you have other title IV financial aid such as, loans, pell grants, or SEOG grants. This does not apply to Chapter 33 less than 100% or Voc Rehab
How do I get my BAH?
The VA will direct deposit housing allowance upon certification. This is typically done the first week of the month and is based on your enrollment, for example full time enrollment equals full time housing
I’m covered at 100% why am I still getting a bill?
You will receive a statement until your balance is paid in full, either by the VA or by the student depending on the charges
Why did my financial aid award letter indicate I was getting scholarships but now I'm not?
Generally award letters may be indicating anticipated awards depending on how you were admitted to the university. As long as you qualify for 100% VA benefits you are not eligible for Saint Martin's scholarships. However if you use up all your benefits or your eligibility rates change you can request that your scholarships be reinstated
What does Yellow Ribbon cover at Saint Martin’s?
Tuition and fees, not including room and board if living in the dorms, or health insurance. To avoid health insurance charges you need to waive by deadline which will be sighted in emails/mailings
I’m a Voc Rehab student how much funding am I allowed for supplies?
For 8 week term classes it is $35 a term, for 16 week classes its $35 per semester, unless you request extra funding through your Voc Rehab counselor
I haven’t received payment what should I do?
First check that a Request for Certification was completed and turned into the VA Rep, if all proper paperwork has been turned in and you still haven’t received payment you should contact the VA about any questions referring to payments, processing of paperwork, and debt letters at 1-888-442-4551
What happens if I have tuition assistance and VA benefits?
Students may combine VA benefits and tuition assistance as long as the combined benefits do not total more than 100% of the actual cost of tuition and fees. Both benefits cannot give a refund or pay 100% for the same class
Do I get break pay?
As of August 1, 2011 break pay or interval pay is no longer payable under any VA education benefit program. For example, the semester ends December 15th, housing allowance is paid for the first 15 days of December only. Your next semester begins January 10th, your payment for January (which will be received the beginning of February) will be for January 10th to the end of January
I haven’t used my entire benefits can I transfer the remainder to my dependent?
The Department of Defense offers members of the Armed Forces the opportunity to transfer Chapter 33 benefits to their spouse or dependent children. If a member of the Armed Forces (active duty or Selected Reserve) serves six years and reenlists for 4 more years or has at least 10 years of service, then transfer of entitlement is possible.
Effective October 1, 2011
Individuals eligible for transfer of entitlement from multiple transferors may not receive benefits from multiple sources concurrently.
Members of the Public Health Service (PHS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) can be eligible to transfer unused ch33 entitlement.
The rules for basic eligibility for Transfer of Entitlement remain unchanged.
I’ve completed my undergraduate program and still have benefits remaining; can I use them for my master’s or other post graduate certification at Saint Martin’s?
Yes, you may use the remainder of your benefits on a graduate or post graduate program. If entitled to Voc Rehab your benefits generally end upon graduation of your undergraduate degree. If you have any questions about your Voc Rehab benefits please contact your counselor
I’ve ran out of benefits in the middle of the semester what do I do?
If you exceed your benefits during a current semester you must contact Financial Aid to file your FAFSA and determine what aid may be available to cover the remaining tuition and fees. This is done on a case by case basis
What happens if I change my enrollment?
If you make any changes to your schedule you should contact the VA rep as soon as possible so the changes can be reported to the VA. If you add or drop within the 100% period (generally the first 14 calendar days of a regular semester, not including extension campus or summer sessions) you will not be responsible for changes in your tuition in fees. If you choose to withdraw from a class the VA will cover the first withdrawal (up to six credits). Any withdrawals after that may be the responsibility of the student unless the student can prove the withdrawal occurred due to mitigating circumstances. For example, dislike of the teacher or failing the class is not a mitigating circumstance. All mitigating circumstances are to be determined by the VA. The student may be asked to repay the book stipend after an adjustment is made because the amount of the book stipend is based on the number of credit hours the student is taking. If the student drops below fulltime they may also be responsible for repaying the housing stipend.
Does the VA pay for study abroad?
The VA will only approve classes studied abroad if it is a requirement for the veteran’s degree program. The VA will only cover tuition and fees which cannot include transportation, lodging or meals. If you have any questions about what studied abroad classes are acceptable please contact the VA Regional Office