VA Benefit FAQ's
The VA requires a student’s written permission to have their hours certified for every semester they want to use GI Bill benefits. This form is what is used for that written permission. Drury cannot assume that a student wants to use the GI Bill in any given semester as it is possible that a student may have access to other aid, such as scholarships, that they want to use in that semester and conserve their benefit for later use.
Drury has changed the process regarding how we send information to the VA. When we receive your Veterans Certification Request, we send your hours to the VA without the cost of tuition. This way, you will receive your housing allowance and book stipend as soon as they process your certification. After the drop window for the semester has ended, we resubmit your certification with the tuition cost added. You will receive an email from the VA when your hours are originally submitted and again when the certification is amended with the cost added. This change was made in order to reduce the number of VA tuition overpayments or underpayments due to classes being added or dropped during the Add/Drop period. VA guidance is that it is preferred for schools to submit a separate certification in this manner.
The process described in question 2 means that payment from the VA will arrive later in the semester than students may be used to. Drury policy is that all other forms of aid must be held by the school until VA funds are received. Once the VA funds are received by Drury, they will be applied to student accounts and any refunds issued to students.
The VA calculates housing allowance and book stipend funds by how many classes a student is attending at any given time during the semester. If a student drops classes and that changes their rate of pursuit, the student will owe the book stipend for the dropped class and could have to pay back some of the housing allowances if that change resulted in a lowering of the student’s rate of pursuit percentage as determined by the VA.
This is a complicated question. The VA calculates BAH based on what they call “Rate of Pursuit”. To receive your full BAH, you must be considered a full-time student by the VA. In the full 16 week semester, 12 credit hours taken are generally considered full-time. For students who take classes in Full-term, A-block and B-block, it is a little more complicated. The VA will calculate the hours taken in Full-term and determine the rate of pursuit for that time. They will then determine the rate of pursuit for A-block hours and add that percentage to the Full-term percentage in order to determine your total BAH percentage for that time. They will then recalculate your rate of pursuit for B-block. The important thing to know is that Drury University has no say in the rate of pursuit the VA determines for a student. Drury is required BY LAW to report the proper start and end date of all terms. It is possible to be a full-time student during both A-block and B-block along with Full semester classes, but not be eligible for BAH for the days in between those blocks while still being enrolled in Full-term classes. This is a VA regulation and Drury has no control over this policy or how the VA calculates your rate of pursuit. If a student wants to ensure that they receive 100% of their housing allowance in a combination of Full and Block semesters, they can speak to a VA counselor at 1-888-442-4551. Due to VA policy, Drury cannot counsel students on Rate of Pursuit in any official capacity.
The Post 9/11 GI Bill is paid according to the percentage rate granted the student by the VA. Normally, to receive the 100% payment rate on the Post 9/11 GI Bill, a service member must have 3 years on Active Duty. If a service member leaves the service before 3 years, and depending on the reason for the early separation, the VA will base their payment percentage on the number of months served. If the VA grants a student the 70% payment rate of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, that means that the student will get 70% of their book stipend, BAH and tuition paid. In this situation, the student is responsible for the remaining 30% of their tuition. Drury has no role in the percentage rate awarded to a student by the VA, and does not report payment percentage to the VA when certifying hours. All hours are submitted at the 100% rate and the VA pays the percentage granted to the student. The percentage rate is always determined by the VA. The VA informs you of your percentage rate of payment on the Certificate of Eligibility the student is sent when they apply for the GI Bill.
In the computer program used by the VA, it is required that all students provide the SSN of the military sponsor whose service qualified the student for the CH35 benefit. Drury cannot submit certifications without that information as it will be rejected by the VA. The VA requires that information to verify that the student requesting this benefit has met all the criteria. Even though the student has already received a Certificate of Eligibility for this benefit from the VA, this is a double-checking mechanism that the VA has in place to ensure unqualified individuals do not receive this benefit.
It is important to remember that the Post 9/11 has 3 components: book stipend, housing allowance and tuition. The VA sends the tuition funds directly to Drury. The housing allowance and the book stipend are sent to the student. It is the student’s responsibility to use the book stipend from the VA to cover the cost of their books. Although the book charge is on your student account along with your tuition and fees, the VA only pays the tuition and fee amount directly to Drury.
Students using transferred benefits must closely monitor the amount of GI Bill time that they have remaining. If a service member is using their own GI Bill benefit, they will be covered for an entire semester even if they only have one day of benefit remaining when the semester begins. This is NOT the case with dependents. If given 18 months of GI Bill benefit, and those months run out with 6 weeks remaining in the semester, their benefit ends on that day. The student is then responsible for the remaining cost of that semester. Students using transferred benefits are strongly encouraged to monitor their GI Bill amount closely. In order to know exactly how much GI Bill time a student has remaining, they must contact the VA at 1-888-442-4551 or at www.vets.gov. Drury does not have access to how much GI Bill time a student has remaining and cannot answer any student questions on this issue.
In case a student forgets to fill out and send in the form, they must contact the School Certifying Official and submit the Veterans Certification Request form immediately. The School Certifying Official will submit your hours to the VA. All payments will be backdated to the beginning of the term that the student is requesting certification for. It is required by the VA that the School Certifying Official explain why the certification is being submitted late.