Q. Who determines what I am eligible for? Can I talk to someone for more in-depth information regarding my VA status?
A. The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg falls under the VA Regional Processing Office in Buffalo, NY. Call 888-442-4551 for answers to your questions or submit a question through the GI Bill website.
Q. Do I have to attend full-time to receive my educational benefits?
A. No, but the amount of benefits you receive is proportional to the number of credits you take – with the exception of chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill.
Q. I am the spouse of an active duty service member. Am I entitled to Education benefits?
A. Yes, possibly. Check the MyCAA program.
Q. What is certification? When should I turn in my paperwork?
A. Certification (VA Form 22-1999 – electronically through VAONCE) is the information your school's certifying official sends to the VA regional processing office. The student's enrollment dates, training status, and class standing are all part of the certification. The earlier you submit your paperwork; the earlier you will start receiving your monthly benefits. Rule of thumb: Turn in your forms as soon as possible after class registration to ensure a timely certification. You have one year from the start of a semester to file for benefits.
Q. What is an Enrollment Certification (EC) Form?
A. For each semester, you need to submit a completed Enrollment Certification Form. Semester enrollment forms are available on this website under Forms. They are also available at the Pitt-Greensburg Veterans Services office, Millstein Library, Room 120.
Q. What should I do if I change my enrollment?
A. If you change your enrollment, immediately fill out and submit a Change of Enrollment form (available on this website under Forms) or send an e-mail to the School Certifying Official. Withdrawing from a course may reduce your benefits. You may have to repay benefits unless you can show the change was due to mitigating circumstances. (If you have mitigating circumstances, let the School Certifying Official know so the information can be added to the updated certification). Indicate on the change of enrollment form which classes were dropped and/or added and the effective date of the change.
Q. What if I change my major?
A. You need to submit the VA Form 22-1995 and a copy of your new academic requirements or Program Plan. Dependents using Chapters 33 or 35 should submit a VA Form 22-5495 along with their new Program Plan. Your certification cannot be done until this paperwork is received by the school certifying official (SCO). You have 30 days to report the change to the VA.
Grades and the GI Bill
Q. If I fail, will the GI Bill still pay? May I retake a class to improve my grades?
A. If you fail a class, the professor will record your grade and last date of attendance. This can be determined by the last time homework was received, last test, etc. If this date is earlier than the end of the semester, the failing grade needs to be reported to the VA. For example, if the last date the professor received any class work from you is one month before the class ends and awards you a failing grade, your grade is reported to the VA and is treated as if you dropped the class on that date. When processed by the VA, under the Post-9/11 chapter, a debt will be created for the cost of tuition and fees, BAH and possibly book money paid for that class. Other chapters would have a debt established for the monthly stipend payment you had received for that class.
Q. Are there any academic standards I must maintain to keep my VA educational benefits?
A. Students must adhere to the Academic Standards Policy of the University. Academically Suspended students will not be able to use VA Education Benefits while suspended. Pitt-Greensburg notifies the VA within thirty days of any change in status or failure to meet satisfactory progress. Typically, a student only has to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 to remain in good academic standing, but a sudden, dramatic drop in GPA may cause Academic Probation.
Q. Can I receive tutorial assistance?
A. You should first contact the Learning Resources Center in Millstein Library, Room 250 to see if there is tutoring for the subject needed. Individual tutorial assistance can be reimbursed by the GI Bill for chapters 30, 33, 35 and 1606. Tutorial assistance is not available for chapter 1607 at this time. You must provide a letter from the course instructor stating you are deficient in the course and that individual tutoring would help correct the deficiency. The monthly amount reimbursed cannot exceed $100. To apply, complete VA Form 22-1990t, Application and Enrollment Certification for Individualized Tutorial Assistance. Forms are available on the GI Bill website, or, from Pitt-Greensburg Veterans Services office. You will be required to pay the tutor up front and the VA will reimburse you.
What the GI Bill Pays For
Q. Can I take any courses I want?
A. The VA will pay only for classes that are degree-applicable. This means only classes within your course of study or major. Anything outside the degree program will not be eligible for benefits.
Q. Will the VA pay for classes toward a minor?
A. If your degree has elective credits, you can use these electives to take classes for a minor. Otherwise, classes for a minor cannot be counted for certification. When you have filled your open electives, no future elective credits can be certified.
Q. What if I want to take degree applicable classes at another school?
A. Attending classes at two different schools at the same time is called concurrent enrollment. An example would be taking classes during the same semester at Pitt-Greensburg and WCCC. Use the Cross-Registration Enrollment Form for the classes being taken at the other school. The form is available from the Registrar’s Office and the Veterans Services Office. Complete the form and return it to the Registrar’s Office for processing. Once the form is approved, the Registrar’s Office will provide a copy to the SCO. The form is then signed by Pitt-Greensburg’s certifying official and faxed with a parent letter to the concurrent school for certification.
Q. Will the GI Bill pay for courses I audit?
A. No. The VA views an audited course the same as a dropped course.
Q. Will the GI Bill pay for honors courses?
A. Yes, but only when those courses count toward your major/degree. If a course is not degree-applicable, you cannot receive benefits.
Q. What if I am a non-admit student?
A. The GI Bill will pay benefits for two semesters as a non-admit student. After two semesters, benefits will stop until you are formally admitted. Courses taken while a non-admit student should be limited to classes that would be acceptable to any program on campus (i.e., core requirements).
Q. Can I receive benefits for a test for a license or certification?
A. Tests approved by the State Approving Agency may be reimbursed. Information about license and certification test reimbursement is at the GI Bill website.
Q. Am I still eligible to receive financial aid if I am receiving VA educational benefits?
A. Yes! It is a common misconception that students receiving educational benefits are not eligible for financial aid. This is not true. You are eligible to apply for financial aid as any other student would. Even if you receive additional VA Vocational Rehabilitation (CH. 31) assistance, you may be eligible for financial aid. Be sure to complete a FAFSA whether or not you expect to use benefits. Check out the Financial Aid page for more information about applying for aid.
Q. Who do I contact if I have questions concerning my veteran benefit payments, such as direct deposit, payment amounts, etc.?
A. Contact the Department of Veteran Affairs at 1-888-GIBILL (1-888-442-4551)
Chapter 30 MGIB and Chapters 1606 and 1607 will also have access to their Wave Account
Q. How do I update my direct deposit information or my address?
A. Call the VA at 877-838-2778 to update your direct deposit information. Chapter 30, 1606 and 1607 students who verify their attendance online can change their address and direct deposit information at that site. Other chapter students should call the VA hotline number at 1-888-442-4551 to update their address.
Q. Are VA education benefits taxable?
A. No. Any veterans benefits paid under any law administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs should not be reported as income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Q. What is enrollment verification and do I have to do one?
A. Everyone receiving MGIB-Active Duty (Chapter 30) benefits, as well as those in the Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606) and REAP (Chapter 1607), must verify their enrollment each month to receive payment for that month. Your enrollment can be verified on the last calendar day of the month. There are two ways to verify; both are available 24 hours a day.
- Go to the Web Automated Verification of Enrollment (WAVE).
- Telephone the toll free Interactive Voice Response (IVR) telephone line at 1-877-823-2378.
Q. Who pays my tuition and fees?
- A. Chapters 30, 35, 1606 and 1607 - It is your responsibility to see that tuition and fees are paid on time. Tuition and fees are due prior to the start of each semester. Your benefits are paid at the end of each month for that month. Contact Student Accounts for information regarding payment plans.
- A. Chapter 33 - Students should supply their Certificate of Eligibility to the Pitt-Greensburg school certifying official. A completed and signed EC form must also be supplied prior to the start of the semester. The school certifying official and student billing office will then determine the amount due from the VA. If this anticipated payment will not pay the student's bill completely (i.e., your eligibility level is not 100% or you have housing & meal plans), the student will be required to pay the balance. Students who do not pay the remaining balance will accrue late fees and could have all classes dropped for non-payment. VA cannot be charged for late fees or reinstatement fees.
- A. Chapter 31 - When paperwork is received from the VR&E case-manager; Pitt-Greensburg’s Veterans Services Office will present the Student Billing Office with a voucher to cover degree applicable classes. Book vouchers can be obtained from the Business Office.
Q. How do I find out if I have exhausted my benefits?
A. You will need to contact the Department of Veteran Affairs at 1-888-GIBILL (1-888-442-4551).