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Frequently Asked Questions

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Where is the Santiago Canyon College Veteran Services Office located?

The Veteran Service Office (VSO) is located in building A, room 210.

  

What are the hours of the Veteran Services Office?

Our office is usually open Monday through Thursday, and half-day on Friday, but check here on the home page of veterans services for specific hours which can be subject to change with Holidays, etc.

 

What is the difference between the VSO and the Veterans Affairs Department (VA)?

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is a federal institution that provides and regulates veteran benefits, including educational benefits. The VA determines a student's eligibility for educational benefits. The GI Bill Regional Processing Center is responsible for processing your education benefits. Questions regarding benefits or payments must be directed to the VA. The VSO is not involved in the processing of VA benefit payment.

 

The VSO is a student services office that acts as a liaison between the student and the VA. In addition to assisting veteran students with the application for educational benefits, the VSO can connect students with on and off campus resources to assist with the transition into the college life. The VSO's Certifying Official certifies your courses with the VA for processing. If you have any questions regarding the courses you are certified for or any resources to assist you with your education, please contact the VSO.

 

What Chapter am I?

Please visit the GI Bill website to determine which educational benefit is best for you before you apply.

 

I'm new, what should I bring to the Veterans Services Office?

Bring a copy of your DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), confirmation of your submitted VonApp, Educational Plan, Certification of Eligibility (COE), and if applicable Notice of Basic Eligibility (NOBE).

 

When will my benefits be effective?

Benefits will be effective the first day of the term being certified and you will receive benefits from the VA once that office has processed your certification.

 

Why haven't I been certified yet?

The certification process will depend on when all required documentation was submitted. It could take up to 4 weeks to get a student certified during peak periods. Continuing students must always turn in the Certification Request Form after registering for classes. If this form is not turned in, then the VSO will assume you no longer wish to continue utilizing your VA educational benefits. There may be other issues regarding your specific certification, so please be sure to check with the VSO to see if there are pending documents that is causing delays on your certification.

 

Can I apply for Financial Aid in addition to using by G.I. Benefits?

Yes, veteran students can apply for financial aid even if G.I. Benefits are being utilized. The VSO strongly recommends that students file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every academic year. By filling out the FAFSA, you will be applying for federal and state student aid such as grants, federal work-study, loans, and the Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGW) for the next academic year. We encourage our veterans to complete the FAFSA for possible grant and loan opportunities.

 

My classes got dropped for non-payment.  Why did this happen when the VA's supposed to pay for my tuition and fees?

Students are responsible for paying all student fees within the three-day period as outlined in the Admissions and Records Drop for Non-Payment Policy. This policy applies to all students, including veterans using their educational benefits. The VA sends payment for tuition and fees to SCC for eligible students 4-8 weeks after certification. This means your classes will be dropped if you don't pay your fees within the three-day period (even if the VA is expected to pay for your unit fees for Chapter 33). 

 

A few simple solutions to prevent your classes from being dropped include paying your fees out of pocket and get a refund later, or apply for a BOGW which covers the unit fee for eligible California residents. You can apply for just the BOGW or you can submit a FAFSA every academic year. Please visit the Financial Aid website for more information.

 

Where do I go for Academic Counseling at SCC?

Please visit the Counseling Center in room D-106 to receive academic counseling. An Academic Counselor will help you create an Educational Plan to map out all the classes you need to meet your educational goal. When you schedule an appointment, please let the counseling staff know that you are a veteran student.

 

Before meeting with a counselor, it is advised that students complete the Math & English Placement tests and have official academic transcripts from all previously attended colleges in hand.  Make sure your counselor forwards official transcripts to Admissions for evaluation.  If opened by a counselor, the transcripts remain official.   

 

How long will it take before I receive my monthly benefit?

Once you file your initial application for education benefits and the VA establishes a file on your behalf, subsequent processing usually takes 30 to 45 days. Peak periods, such as the start of the semester may cause a longer processing time.

 

Why do I need to declare a goal? 

The Department of Veterans Affairs requires the declaration of an educational objective.  An undecided major is accepted for Transfer programs, but only general education courses will be certified for payment. Please visit the GI Bill website to search for approved programs.

 

Can I change my goal?

Yes, you can change your goal. You will need to inform the VSO of this change by submitting a new educational plan matching the new major. If the change is not effective until the next term, please turn in your new educational plan with your Certification Request Form after you have completely registered for that term.

 

I dropped or added a class this term.  Is there anything I need to do?

Yes.  Fill out the add/drop form at the VSO so your certification can be adjusted. Adjustment to classes may lead to an overpayment with the VA. If an overpayment occurs, the student may be responsible for repayment to the VA.

 

I have been certified and still haven't received my G.I. Bill payment.  Who do I speak to?

Any concerns regarding payment should be directed to the Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-888-442-4551. The VSO has no information on the amount or disbursement of your payments. Payments are typically made during the first week of each month for the training pursued during the previous month. For example, if you attend classes in February, you should expect to receive your payment in the first week of March.  Filling out your initial application for benefits the same time you turn in a certification request can cause delays on processing payment in the VA even if we've already certified you.  Also, you will need to consider when you turn in your certification request in the VSO.  If you turn it in late and it's submitted late, your payment may also be late. 

 

I received payments lower than what I'm expecting.  Who do I need to speak to?

You can check with the VSO staff on your certification. There are a number factors that may affect the payment, including but not limited to the rate of pursuit, online courses, or short term courses. If the payments are still not matching up to your eligibility, you must call the VA at 1-888-442-4551.  Payment questions are usually not answered at the VSO, as the VSO has no information on the amount or disbursement of your payments.

 

For Post 9/11 Bill students, why didn't I get my full BAH this month?

Please contact the VSO directly to discuss your particular certification. A number of factors may affect BAH, including but not limited to:

    1. Depending on the training pursued the previous month and when benefits are effective, you could only be eligible for a week or two for that particular payment. Check the effective dates of your certification.
    2. Your eligibility for the benefit could be less than 100%. Eligibility for BAH under the Post 9/11 Bill could range from 40% to 100%. Check your Certificate of Eligibility for your percentage. 
    3. Check the units certified. This could affect your BAH eligibility.
    4. Check the period your classes are in session. Your eligibility will be affected if one or more classes you are taking are short-term classes that do not take place during a regular full semester. 
    5. If you didn't receive any BAH at all, your certified rate of pursuit must be more than 50% to be eligible for any BAH.

Do I have to pay taxes on my G.I Bill?  Do I wait for a 1098 form?

No.  All VA educational benefits are non-taxable. This includes money earned through the VA Educational Work-Study program.

 

Why were some courses on my educational plan not certified?

For specific reasons, please see a VSO staff member on why they were not certified.  Some of the common reasons are found in the General Information Sheet

 

Why can't I pursue two majors or two degrees?

The RSCCD catalog does not offer dual degrees, although you can pursue dual educational objectives simultaneously.  Since it is not specifically on the RSCCD catalog, the VA will not approve two majors for payment purposes. You can pursue two goals, but the Certifying Official at SCC will only certify courses for one goal that you declare on your Certification Request Form and Educational plan.  We would advise that you pursue one goal at a time.  However, the State Approving Agency has allowed certification of additional certificate programs as long as it falls under the same A.A. or A.S. degree a student is pursuing. That would be the only exception.

 

What do I do if I owe the VA money?

Please go to: http://www.va.gov/debtman/ for more information.

  

Can I lose my VA Benefits and/or Priority Registration?

Yes, you can lose your VA Benefits and/or Priority Registration. To be in accordance with VA regulations, a veteran or eligible dependent must maintain satisfactory progress toward graduation requirements. This means that you must maintain a positive grade point average (GPA) of at least a 2.00 or a "C" average, and after attempting 12 units, you must have a completion rate of at least 50%.

 

At SCC, a student's Academic Standing is coded as one of the following:

    1. Blank – A new student has not completed their first semester's coursework
    2. Good – A student has maintained a 2.0 GPA and has a completion rate of 50%
    3. A/P1 – A student has not maintained a 2.0 GPA and/or has completed less than 50% of coursework for one semester
    4. A/P2 – A student has not maintained a 2.0 GPA and/or has completed less than 50% of coursework for two consecutive semesters
    5. Dismissed – A student has not maintained a 2.0 GPA and/or has completed less than 50% of coursework for three consecutive semesters
    6. Reinstated- Admissions and Records has reinstated the student.

These codes are a reflection of the student's Academic Standing with SCC Admissions and Records.

 

If you do not maintain this Satisfactory Progress requirement as defined in the current RSCCD catalog, you will be placed on academic probation for one semester. If the same pattern of unsatisfactory progress is repeated during the probation semester, your unsatisfactory progress status of A/P2. If you become A/P2 the following will occur:

    • You will lose your priority registration status at SCC
    • If you were awarded a Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGW), the BOGW may be removed
    • You must see your college academic counselor for an approved program indicating what course of action must be completed to maintain satisfactory progress toward graduation requirements.
    • After your counseling session and upon review of your counselor's suggested program AND satisfactory semester progress, VSO will then certify you for VA educational benefits.

An appeal process is available through Admissions & Records for A/P2 students

If you become Dismissed, your status will be reported to the Veterans Administration and the following will occur:

    • You will not be entitled to receive VA educational benefits until you are reinstated by Admissions & Records.

Can I use my educational benefits at more than one school?

You may take courses offered at other colleges/universities while enrolled at SCC in order to satisfy your educational objective. SCC becomes the "parent school," where you will be receiving your degree or certificate, and the other institution becomes the secondary school where the student is a "guest student."

 

You must notify the VSO prior to your registration date with other school(s) to make sure the course(s) can be certified for benefits according to your educational plan. Students must fill out a "Parent/Primary School Certification Request." This form must be signed by a SCC academic counselor. Once the form is returned to the VSO along with the Certification Request Form, it will be processed and it will be sent to the secondary institution.

 

If a student is taking courses at our sister campus Santa Ana College (SAC), a parent letter will be sent on your behalf to the SAC Certifying Official. Only the Certification Request Form is required from SCC students taking classes at SAC.