How long does it take the VA to process a certification?

The VA can take up to four to six weeks to process a certification. You should receive notification through your eBenefits portal when hours or tuition/fee amounts are submitted to the VA. Estimate four to six weeks beyond that submission.

Each semester Western will certify to the VA in a two-step process. Four to six weeks before the semester begins, the Western VA Certifying Official will submit your accepted hours to the VA. This first submission will generate payments for students utilizing Chapter 30, 31, 35, and 1606 benefits as well as the housing and book stipends for students utilizing Chapter 33 (Post 9/11 GI Bill) benefits.

Please note that although a certification can be submitted 120 days before the start of a semester, the VA typically does not begin processing those until two to four weeks before the semester actually begins.

After the drop deadline, the VA Certifying Official will calculate tuition and mandatory fee amounts for Chapter 33 as well as other qualifying situations and submit those amounts to the VA.

How will I receive my funds?

The VA pays tuition and fees for Chapter 33 and Vocational Rehab directly to Western. For all other chapters, the VA will pay directly to the student.

How do I verify whether I am eligible for benefits?

To know if you are eligible for benefits or to confirm your benefits, contact the VA directly at 1-888-GIBILL-1. Use the VA Comparison Tool to compare benefits for different chapter types.

How do I avoid overpayment by the VA?

To avoid overpayment, do not make registration changes that would change previously reported training time. The reported training time has already been certified by the VA.

Abandoning a course is considered the same as a withdrawal to the VA, whose policy is to not pay for any incomplete course.

Students using the Post 9/11 GI Bill potentially create overpayment with any drop/withdrawal.

Failing a course is not penalized as long as it is an earned grade. Your instructor will provide a last date of attendance for any failing grade. If you stopped attending a course for any reason, you must either provide the School Certifying Official with documentation to support mitigating circumstances or your last date of attendance will be reported and you may end up owing the VA money back for that course. Withdrawing from a course must be reported to the VA and your tuition payment may be pro-rated to reflect the date of withdrawal. If payment has been made in full, you may end up owing the VA money for the course.

The VA verifies your attendance based on the actual dates your courses begin and end. If you are taking a short-term course, the VA will calculate your Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) based on your rate of pursuit on any given day during the semester. Just because you are considered full-time by Western’s standards does not mean that the VA will recognize you as full-time for the entire semester. For example, if you are in nine credit hours that run the full semester and three credit hours that last eight weeks, you will receive your full BAH amount for the eight weeks you are in twelve credit hours and a reduced amount for the remainder of the semester that you are only in nine credit hours.

What are the benefits for my chapter type?

Questions regarding eligibility, chapter type or benefit amounts should be referred to the VA.

Chapter 33 (Post 9/11 GI Bill)

If you have at least 90 days of aggregate active duty service after September 10, 2001, and are still on active duty, or if you are an honorably discharged veteran or were discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days, you may be eligible for this VA-administered program.

Benefits:

  • Percentage of tuition coverage – paid directly to Western
  • BAH – paid directly to the student
  • Book stipend – paid directly to the student
  • Yellow Ribbon option (for non-residents who qualify)
  • Transfer of entitlement
  • For additional information, visit the VA Chapter 33 webpage.

Chapter 35 (Survivor and Dependents Assistance)

This is for dependents of service members who have been determined totally and permanently disabled by the VA, died in service or from service-related causes or were taken as a POW.

Benefits:

Chapter 30 (Montgomery GI Bill)

This is available to those who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces. Active duty members who enroll and pay $100 per month for 12 months are then entitled to receive a monthly education benefit once they have completed a minimum service obligation.

Benefits:

  • Up to 36 months of funds while enrolled as a student
  • Funds are paid directly to the student
  • For additional information, visit the VA Chapter 30 webpage.

Chapter 31 (Vocational Rehabilitation)

Chapter 31 applies to veterans discharged with a service-related disability. The service member must apply and be accepted into the Vocational Rehabilitation program.

Benefits:

  • Tuition and fees covered by VA – funds are paid directly to the student
  • Book stipend
  • Living stipend
  • For additional information, visit the VA Chapter 31 webpage.

Chapter 1606 (Montgomery GI Selected Reserve)

Chapter 1606 applies to Reserve or National Guard members attached to and drilling with a unit.

Benefits:

Active Duty Tuition Assistance

Refer to your duty station’s education office for information.

Contact us:

Carrie Reinecke, VA Certifying Official
Phone: 970.943.2048
va_rep@western.edu
Taylor Hall 300C
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231
Office hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.