Military Affairs

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Veterans Affairs (VA) Educational and Vocational Benefits

Select a topic from the sidebar to the right to learn more about using VA benefits at UNCW.

*Update: The COVID-19 special rules concerning online classes and the Post-9/11 GI Bill MHA have been extended through Dec. 21, 2021. 


Contact Information

*How to reach the VA School Certifying Officials at UNCW:

*Need to submit a Certificate of Eligibility? Email it to finaid@uncw.edu. Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid support staff will upload your document to your account.  

*New students, students who are using their VA Benefits for the first time at UNCW, and students who are returning to UNCW after a leave of absence must submit the New Military Student VA Benefits Form to be added to the list for certification. 


Types of VA Benefits

Many military-affiliated students use some form of VA benefits to help pay their costs of attendance. The use of VA benefits is the same for both undergraduate and graduate students. 

Here are the educational benefits programs available through the VA: 

  • Chapter 30 (Montgomery GI Bill)
  • Chapter 33 (Post-9/11 GI Bill, Fry Scholarship, and STEM Extension Scholarship)
  • Chapter 35 (Dependents' Educational Assistance Program)
  • Chapter 1066 (Montgomery GI Selective Reserves)
  • Chapter 1607 (Reserve Educational Assistance Program)

Here is the vocational benefit program available through the VA: 

  • Chapter 31 (Veteran Readiness & Employment/VR&E; associated with VA disability rating)


Eligibility for VA Benefits 

To learn about your eligibility for any of the above benefits, visit the VA website, try the VA Welcome Toolkit, or contact the VA.

You may also work with the education office or transition coordinators at your/your sponsor's command for assistance with understanding your options. 

Please note that the Office of Military Affairs does not represent the VA, nor are we able to assess eligibility for VA benefits. 


How to Transfer or Apply for VA Educational Benefits

All students who plan to use VA educational/vocational benefits at UNCW must apply for those benefits through the VA. This includes students who have successfully used their VA benefits at other schools. We recommend completing the application or transfer process before orientation.

  1. Apply/transfer VA benefits online at eBenefits. Click on the green button that says "Find your education benefits form" under the heading "How do I apply?" Then select and submit the appropriate application:
    1. Applying for a new benefit (students who have not used VA benefits before at any school OR who are changing the chapter of benefits)
    2. Updating my program of study or my place of training (students who used VA benefits at their previous school OR who are changing degree programs/starting a graduate degree or certificate program at UNCW after using VA benefits at UNCW as an undergraduate)
    3.  
  2. Submit the New Military Student VA Benefits Form. This form acts as a placeholder while you wait for your Certificate of Eligibility to arrive. All new students must submit this form even if you have submitted your COE. 
  3. Submit Certificate of Eligibility to Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. You will receive a Certificate of Eligibility letter in the mail from the VA, approximately 4-6 weeks after submitting the application for VA Benefits online. If you do not receive your letter within this timeframe, contact the VA to confirm your application. Scan and email your COE to finaid@uncw.edu.   
  4. Check that your Certificate of Eligibility was received. Within 3-5 business days after submitting your COE to finaid@uncw.edu, you may check that it was uploaded to your account by going to the “Student Services & Financial Aid” tab in Seanet and clicking “My Eligibility”. Next, select the appropriate program year and view the status of the requirement and the date it was satisfied under the “Student Requirements” tab.

Once you complete the steps listed above, you will not need to do them again for the remainder of your time at UNCW, unless you change the chapter of benefits you will be using. 

Keep in mind that your "certifying your enrollment" means verifying that you are enrolled in classes for that term (not that you are enrolled as a student at UNCW). Your benefits will be processed after the end of the add/drop period of the first term in which you are enrolled.

The first time you use your VA benefits at UNCW, you may expect a delay of several weeks for the first payment due to processing times with the VA. 


Enrollment Certification for the VA

Once you have submitted your New Military Student VA Benefits Form and after you have registered for classes, the VA-Military Financial Aid Counselors will pull your course registration information and submit your enrollment certification to the VA. 

  • Shortly before the start of a class registration period, you will receive an email reminding you that the VA certification process is about to begin for the following term.
  • You will be asked to respond to that email ONLY if you DO NOT want to use your benefits for the upcoming term; if you are changing your chapter of benefits (requires a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA for that chapter); or you no longer qualify for benefits.
  • Once you have registered for classes, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid will begin the certification process by pulling your course registration information. 
  • You will receive an email from the VA once your class enrollment has been certified. 

Changing Your Course Schedule 

Students have up to the end of the registration period each term to make changes to their course schedules. 

  • Fall or spring: First week of classes
  • Summer I or Summer II: First day of classes

If you make a change to your course schedule after your enrollment has been certified, email veterans@uncw.edu with your name, 850-# (student identification number) and the course name and number that you have added or dropped from your schedule.  


Enrollment Rates

Full-time enrollment for regular undergraduate programs is as follows:

  • Fall semester: 12 credits minimum
  • Spring semester: 12 credits minimum
  • Summer I: 4 credits minimum
  • Summer II: 4 credits minimum 

Enrollment rates for online accelerated programs and graduate programs may vary. 

Contact the VA-Military Financial Aid Counselors for assistance with determining your rate of enrollment and months of benefits usage. 


Post-9/11 GI Bill 

Here are some general guidelines to help you plan to use your Post-9/11 GI Bill effectively. If you have specific questions regarding your Post-9/11 GI Bill, contact the VA-Military Financial Aid Counselors.

The Certificate of Eligibility provided by the VA shares two important numbers: The percentage of entitlement and the number of months of benefits. The percentage does not change, but the number of months of benefits goes down each time your class enrollment is certified.

The information below applies only to students who have 100% of the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit per their Certificate of Eligibility. If the percentage of your entitlement is less than 100%, you will need to pay the remaining percentage. 

The Post-9/11 GI Bill encompasses 3 benefits: Tuition and fees, the monthly housing allowance, and the book stipend

Tuition and Fees

The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays the following line items directly to the bill listed in the student's account:
  • Tuition up to the in-state rate
  • Mandatory fees
  • Campus security fee
  • Student health insurance fee (if not waived)

As long as your Certificate of Eligibility is on file (and, if you are a new student, you have completed the New Military Student VA Benefits Form), you do not need to pre-pay tuition and the fees listed above (unless your eligibility is less than 100%). 

Residency/In-state tuition/Veteran's Choice Act/Yellow Ribbon Program

The Post-9/11 GI Bill covers UNCW tuition only up to the in-state rate.

If you are not considered a resident of North Carolina for tuition purposes (according to the North Carolina Residency Determination Service), you will not be eligible for the in-state tuition rate.

However, you may be eligible to apply for the Veteran's Choice Act, which would waive the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition.

If you are not eligible for the Veteran's Choice Act, you may be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program, which offers some additional funding for a limited number of qualified students (veterans and children of military members or veterans only) on a first come, first served basis.

If you have any questions, contact the VA-Military Financial Aid Counselors for assistance

Monthly Housing Allowance

The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) at the end of a month in which you were enrolled in classes. 

The MHA payment will be prorated for the number of days you were in classes that month. 

Students must be enrolled at the full-time rate for their academic program to receive the full MHA to which they are entitled. Less than full-time enrollment will lead to a reduced MHA rate. Students must be enrolled at more than half-time to receive any MHA. 

Taking only online courses means the student will receive 50% of the national MHA rate (up to the percentage to which they are entitled). 

The MHA payment is deposited directly to the personal bank account listed in eBenefits (you may update your direct deposit information by signing in to eBenefits)

If you plan to live on campus while using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you will need to pay any on-campus housing fees and meal plan fees by the billing date, because the MHA is not paid directly to the school.  

Find current monthly housing allowance rates for UNCW. 

Find on-campus housing fees.

Find meal plan fees.

Review the cost of attendance worksheet.

Contact the VA-Military Financial Aid Counselors with questions about your enrollment and MHA. 

Book Stipend

The Book Stipend pays up to $1,000 per year. The amount per payment is pro-rated per the amount of enrolled hours, so you may receive different amounts in different terms.

The Book Stipend is paid directly to the personal bank account listed in eBenefits. 

Additional Information

Please note that the following costs are not covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill

  • UNCW application fee
  • Enrollment fee
  • Orientation fee
  • UNCW ID card fee (OneCard)
  • Parking permit fee

Students are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and scholarship applications to assist with the cost of attendance. 

Students may also enroll in the Military Student Payment Plan, which divides the bill into 3 payments over the course of the semester; students may enroll in this plan through their eBill once it is available for the coming term. 

Additional student aid or scholarships beyond the Post-9/11 GI Bill will not be paid toward the items that are covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

STEM Extension Scholarship 

For students in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math programs who are going to exhaust their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits prior to completing the degree, you may be eligible to apply for the VA's STEM extension scholarship

Can I Use My Sponsor's Post-9/11 GI Bill?

If your parent or spouse is still serving on active duty, they may apply through milConnect to have the benefit transferred to you. It is a one-time process and after the transfer is completed, you must complete the steps above to apply for the benefit and receive the Certificate of Eligibility. Please note that the Montgomery GI Bill cannot be transferred to military dependents, and the Post-9/11 GI Bill must be transferred while the service member is still on active duty. 


Veteran Readiness & Employment (VR&E)

Students who are using VR&E begin with their VR&E counselor, who is responsible for sharing eligibility paperwork with the VA Certifying Officials (who work in the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid). After you apply to use VR&E, your VR&E counselor will submit your eligibility paperwork to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. 

You must submit the New Military Student VA Benefits Form

Students using VR&E are not eligible for student health insurance, as your program is tied to your healthcare through the VA, so you must waive the student health insurance each semester. 

The portal for VR&E has openings in three offices at UNCW:

  • The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid handles the housing allowance
  • Student Accounts handles the tuition payments
  • The UNCW Bookstore handles books/school supplies payments

Sometimes, students decide that they want to change their major. Given that changing your degree plan essentially constitutes changing your vocation, you would need to work through your VR&E counselor to be approved for the change. 

Students using VR&E are eligible for the Veteran's Choice Act, which provides a waiver for the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition. Once your VR&E eligibility information has been received by the VA Certifying Officials, they will notify the Office of the Registrar (for undergraduate students) or the Graduate School to have the waiver for the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition applied to your account. 

Contact the VA-Military Financial Aid Counselors with questions about how your VR&E program will work at UNCW.   


Dependents' Educational Assistance and Fry Scholarship

This benefit offers a monthly stipend. Find payment rates for Chapter 35 and the Fry scholarship

Students who wish to use one of these benefits must complete the steps to apply or transfer the benefit

Contact the VA-Military Financial Aid Counselors with questions about how your DEA benefit will work at UNCW.


Montgomery GI Bill

Students who wish to use the Montgomery GI BIll must complete the steps to apply or transfer the benefit

Verify your enrollment online. 

The Montgomery GI Bill is not transferable to military dependents. 

Contact the VA-Military Financial Aid Counselors with questions about how your Montgomery GI Bill benefit will work at UNCW.


Questions?

If you have questions regarding your VA benefits at UNCW, contact the VA-Military Financial Aid Counselors

If you have questions pertaining to your payments or payment history, contact the Department of Veterans Affairs Education Office at 1-888-442-4551 between 7am – 6pm Central Time, Monday through Friday.