Starting your Benefits
- Determine the Best GI Bill® for you based on your status, requirements and educational goals:
- Active duty and veterans of active duty (Chapter 30 Active Duty)
- Veterans using the VA Vocational Rehabilitation Program (Chapter 31)
- Individuals using the Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) (Chapter 32)
- Veterans who served at least 90 days of active duty after Sept. 10, 2001 (Chapter 33: Post 9-11 GI Bill®)
- Individuals eligible to receive benefits under the Survivors and Dependents Assistance Program (DEA) (Chapter 35)
- Current National Guard and Reserve Personnel (Chapter 1606)
- Current National Guard and Reserve Personnel called to duty for 90 days or more (REAP) (Chapter 1607)
- Apply for your GI Bill® (Applications can take 2-3 months for approval)
- After you have applied, submit the GI Bill® Student Information Sheet to USD Veterans Services.
This form must be completed before USD can submit your information to the VA.
- Once the VA approves your benefits, you will need to provide USD with the Certificate of Eligibility. If you already have this form, you do not need to re-apply for benefits unless you are changing chapters.
- If you are changing schools, you will need to fill out the Change of School or Program Form.
For all chapters except Chapter 35 (DEA) you will need to out VA Form 22-1995. Chapter 35 students will need to fill out VA Form 22-5495. Complete and submit the paper version via mail or fax to the VA Office in St. Louis, or login to VONAPP and complete the online form.
NOTE: Inform the USD Office of Veterans Services once the form has been sent to the VA. The form must be sent to the VA before processing your benefits.
- If you have changed your major (or starting a new program after graduation (or you are starting a new program after graduation), you will need to submit VA Form 22-1995 (VA Form 22-5495 for Chapter 35 students), but you will fill out a paper form and return it to the USD Office of Veteran Services (not to the VA).
- After you have applied for benefits through the VA, the USD GI Bill® Student Information Sheet is the most important form you need to start your benefits. This form informs USD Veterans Services of your educational goals and provides the information needed to properly certify your benefits. This form is updated annually and expires each May.
- The VA School Certifying Official (SCO) at USD will submit your enrollment information to the VA (VA Form 22-1999). Once the VA approves your application, payments will begin. After processing your form, the VA will send you an award letter explaining your benefits, payment rates and remaining entitlements after the end of the semester.
- IMPORTANT: USD's SCO will only submit the 22-1999 if there is a current USD GI Bill® Student Information sheet on file.
- Courses taken must count towards degree requirements. The only exception is during your last semester before graduation; the VA will allow you to pick up non-degree courses in order to keep your full time payment status.
- Student registrations are constantly monitored to ensure adds/drops are properly reported. If credit hour changes will change your payment rates, the VA will generally use the effective date of registration changes to prorate your payments.
- After each semester, probation, suspension, and graduation are reported to VA, if applicable. If a course receives a failing grade with a last date of attendance that precedes the last week of class, this reduction will also be reported to the VA. These "walk-away F's" will lead to overpayment of benefits and you will incur a VA debt. If you fail a course, you must continue to attend class.
Listed below are the course credits used to determine student status for VA educational benefits certification. Please note that these classifications are set by the VA and may differ from those used for university enrollment status or those used to determine financial aid. Only those courses counting toward your degree program will be included for certification.
Training Time Schedule
Training time during summer for GI Bill® purposes will depend on the number of credit hours taken and the number of weeks of the class. If you are taking multiple term dates over the summer, the VA will treat each class as a different term, and your payment rates may fluctuate over the summer. Please contact the VA at 888-442-4551 for further clarification of training time over summer dates.
Post 9/11 (Chapter 33) GI Bill® measures attendance as "Rate of Pursuit"
Rate of Pursuit is measured to the nearest 10% and is similar to the chart for other GI Bill® chapters listed above. Also, 75% will be rounded up to 80% rate of pursuit, but 74% would be rounded down to 70% rate of pursuit. The rate of pursuit will be multiplied against your benefit percentage (based on the number of months on active duty after 9/11).
Undergraduate and Graduate Training Time/Rate of Pursuit
An undergraduate student's training time/rate of pursuit is determined by the VA. For graduate students, training time/rate of pursuit is determined by the USD Graduate School (as noted in the USD Course Catalog). If your program has a unique determination of full time status, you will need to provide a letter to USD Veterans Services from your academic department stating such. In some cases, less than 9 credits can be considered full-time, but will need to have supporting documentation.
All changes in enrollment status must be reported to the USD Veterans Services office to ensure your payments are correct and on time.
For updated benefit rates, please visit the Department of Veterans' Affairs web site.
- Chapter 33 Only: Many rules govern the amount of tuition paid to the school. At USD, the VA will only pay for the amount of in-state resident tuition rates (even if you are a non-resident). Internet and University Center courses are counted as "resident tuition rate" courses for VA purposes; regardless of your residency status.
- Chapter 33 Only: You may not get BAH monthly stipends if you or your spouse is on active duty.
- Chapter 33 Only: For online-only students, the maximum amount of monthly housing allowance a student may receive is ½ of the national average for BAH. Visit the GI Bill® website for current rates for Chapter 33 online-exclusive students.
Months of Entitlement
- For each month of full-time benefit payments you receive, you will be charged one full month of benefits. If you are less than full-time, your entitlement will be charged less. The amount of entitlement used will be shown on your VA award letter.
- For VA purposes, every month is a 30-day month.
- Every chapter (except 35) receives a maximum initial award of 36 months. Chapter 35 receives 45 months of entitlement.
- If you use two or more chapters, you can receive a maximum of 48 months of benefits.
- If your benefits run out in the middle of the semester, the VA may pay you for the entire semester, unless you have reached your delimiting date, or have reached 48 months. Call the VA for clarification if applicable.
- If you are using transferred Post 9/11 benefits, you can only use the amount of months that have been transferred to you. To receive additional months transferred to you, the veteran must request a transfer through the VA at www.gibill.va.gov. If the veteran is currently serving, they should contact their Education Office to make the transfer.
On the last day of each month, the VA requires all students receiving the Montgomery GI Bill® Active Duty or Selected Reserve (Chapter 30, 1606 and 1607) to verify their enrollments in order to receive payments. This verification can be done either online using the Web Automated Verification of Enrollment (WAVE) application or by calling 1-877-823-2378.
Chapters 31, 33, and 35 do not need to verify their monthly enrollment status.