Military Affairs

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Veterans Affairs (VA) Educational and Vocational Benefits

Submit the VA Class Schedule Form

Many military-affiliated students use some form of VA benefits to help pay their costs of attendance. VA benefits usage is the same whether a student is at the undergraduate or graduate level. 

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; may be transferred to dependents)
  • Chapter 35 (Dependents' Educational Assistance Program)
  • Chapter 1066 (Mongtomery GI Selective Reserves)
  • Chapter 1607 (Reserve Educational Assistance Program)

Here is the vocational benefit program available through the VA: 

  • Chapter 31 (Voc Rehab; associated with VA disability rating)

Eligibility for VA Benefits 

To learn more about VA benefits, you may browse the VA website for information about all the educational and vocational programs available, or try the VA Welcome Toolkit. You may call the VA (1-844-698-2311) to speak with a counselor about which program would be right for you. You may work with the education office or transition coordinators at your/your sponsor's command. Even if you have already separated from the military, you may be able to reach out to the transition program instructors where you were last stationed via phone or email to ask for help with understanding which benefits might work best for you. 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 Apply for VA Benefits

All students who you 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 process before orientation.

The VA communicates via email, so please ensure that you know which email address they have on file for you (it should be one you check often). You can update your email address by submitting a request through the “Ask a Question” link https://gibill.custhelp.va.gov/. You can also contact the Education Call Center at 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) or 001-918-781-5678 from Overseas, Monday – Friday, 7:00 am – 6:00 pm CST to help update your contact information.

  1. Apply for VA benefits online at eBenefits. Click on the blue button that says "Find your education benefits form" under the heading "How do I apply?" Then select the appropriate option--either applying for a new benefit (first-time users) or updating your place of training (transfer students OR new graduate students who have previously used their benefits at another school). Complete the application.
  2. Receive and submit Certificate of Eligibility (COE). You will receive a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) 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, which is the mailbox for the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, where UNCW's VA Certifying Officials work.   

The above steps constitute a one-time process; once you complete the above steps, you will not need to do them again for the remainder of your time at UNCW. 


How to Activate your VA Benefits Each Semester

During orientation, you will be instructed to register for your classes. After registering for your classes, you will need to submit the VA Class Schedule Form to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. You can either complete the form digitally and click “Submit” at the bottom of the form OR you can print, sign, scan, and email it to finaid@uncw.edu. We recommend that you keep a copy for yourself as well.

This will need to be done each time you register for a new semester (April for summer/fall terms and November for spring terms). If you do not submit the VA Class Schedule Form before the start of the term, you will still be responsible for paying your bill when it is due. 

Ensure that you complete all necessary fields on the form. This is particularly important for Post-9/11 GI Bill students. 

Please be aware that it may take several weeks after the start of your first term at UNCW to receive your benefits due to processing times with the VA. This is applicable to students who are transferring from another institution as well as to first-time benefits recipients, so be sure to plan in advance for this gap in payment; when the first payment is received, it will include back pay to the start of the semester. 


Changing Your Course Schedule After You've Submitted the VA Class Schedule Form

Students have up to the end of the registration period each term to make changes to their course schedules (in the fall and spring semesters, the registration period extends through the first week of classes; in the summer sessions, the registration period extends through the first day of classes). If you make a change to your course schedule after you've submitted the VA Class Schedule Form, simply send an email with your name, 850-# (student identification number) and the course name and number that you have added or dropped from your schedule to finaid@uncw.edu


Enrollment Rates

Full-time enrollment for regular undergraduate programs is considered 12 credits for the fall or spring semester and 4 credits for a summer session. Enrollment rates for online accelerated programs and graduate programs may vary; please contact the VA Certifying Officials at finaid@uncw.edu for assistance with determine your rate of enrollment.


How Much Will I Be Paid? 

If you are planning to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill at UNCW, here is the list of current monthly housing allowance rates for UNCW. Those using the Post-9/11 GI Bill will also receive all tuition and fee payments and a book stipend (up to $1,000/academic year). If you are using any other VA Education Benefit, you can find updated rate tables for each benefit here. 

Please understand that each payment will be paid to the bank account you list on the application for the education benefit. You will only receive payments for each month you are in school. Also, for months when you are not in school for the entire monthyour payment will be prorated for the number of days you are in school that month. This does not apply to breaks such as spring break, fall break or Thanksgiving break, but it does apply to the start and end of each semester and summer term. 


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, please contact the VA Certifying Officials at finaid@uncw.edu for clarification. 

Residency

The Post-9/11 GI Bill covers UNCW tuition up to the in-state rate. If you are not considered a resident of North Carolina for tuition purposes (according to North Carolina Residency Determination Service), you may be eligible for the Veteran's Choice Act, which would waive the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition. You must apply for the Veteran's Choice Act; it will not be applied automatically to your account. The Veteran's Choice Act is available to qualified veterans and their dependents, as well as active duty dependents if they are using transferred VA benefits.  

Covered Costs and How Payments Work

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 (students may have more than one kind of health insurance)

You do not need to pay the tuition and covered fees in advance (unless you are certified at less than 100% of the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, in which case, you must pay the remainder when the bill is due). As long as you have submitted your VA Class Schedule Form before the start of the term, your course registration will be held while UNCW awaits payment from the VA. If your course registration is dropped unexpectedly, contact the VA Certifying Officials to discuss the potential for reinstatement (finaid@uncw.edu or 910-962-3177). 

The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) and the Book Stipend directly to the personal bank account listed in 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 by the billing date, as the housing allowance will be send to your personal bank account and will not be paid directly to the school. 

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

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. Additional student aid or scholarships beyond the Post-9/11 GI Bill will not be put toward the items that are covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. If you have questions about your aid package and how it will interact with your VA benefits, please contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (910-962-3177; finaid@uncw.edu). 

Enrollment Requirements

The Post-9/11 GI Bill MHA is affected by the enrollment rate and type of enrollment. 

Students must be enrolled at full-time for their program to receive the full amount of MHA to which they are entitled (12 credits per regular semester and 4 credits per summer term). Less than full-time enrollment will cause a reduced MHA rate. 

With the exception of the summer 2020 and fall 2020 terms, students must take at least one class in person each term to receive the full amount of MHA to which they are entitled; taking only online courses means the student will receive 50% of the national MHA rate (up to the percentage to which they are entitled). 

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

Shift to Vocational Rehabilitation

Many students find that the Chapter 31 (Vocational Rehabilitation) program may be a better fit for them; learn more about how to apply at VA.gov. Students on Voc Rehab work with a VA counselor to administer their benefits, though they must still submit the VA Class Schedule Form each semester. 

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 benefits and receive the Certificate of Eligibility. You must also submit the VA Class Schedule From each semester. 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. 


If you have questions regarding your VA benefits at UNCW, please contact the VA Certifying Officials (910-962-3177; finaid@uncw.edu; or drop by in person at the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid in the Warwick Center when open). 

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