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Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Santiago Canyon College Veterans Service Office located?

The Veterans Service Office (VSO) is located on campus in building A, room 210. Click here for a map and directions to the campus.

What are the hours of the VSO?

Our office usually is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters. Check our home page for specific hours which can be subject to change during the summer or holidays.

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 VA 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 disbursement of VA benefit payments.

The VSO is a student services office on campus that acts as a liaison between the student and the VA. In addition to assisting veteran and dependent students with the application for VA 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 to the VA for processing. If you have any questions regarding the courses that were submitted to the VA for processing or any additional resources to assist you with your education, please contact the VSO.

What are the different types of VA educational benefits?

Please visit the VA Website to determine which educational benefit is best for you before you apply.

I'm a new veteran student. What should I bring to the VSO to get started?

To help get your file started, please bring a copy of your DD-214 Member 4 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), Certification of Eligibility (COE), and if applicable Notice of Basic Eligibility (NOBE) to the VSO. A new student checklist is available on our forms page to provide an overview of the steps to get started. The VSO can assist you with some of the documents and answer your questions along the way.


Does SCC offer Priority Registration?

Yes, SCC offers priority registration for eligible veterans. Students can apply for priority registration by submitting the Priority Registration Request Form along with the required documents to the VSO. Students do not have to use VA educational benefits in order to apply for priority registration. Dependents of veterans are not eligible for priority registration.

Where do I go for Academic Counseling at SCC?

The VSO has a designated Academic Counselor for veterans and their dependents. You can contact our office to schedule an appointment with the veterans Academic Counselor during the fall or spring semester or you can 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 or a dependent of a veteran.

Before meeting with a counselor for the first time, it is advised that students have official academic transcripts from all previously attended colleges in hand. If opened by a counselor, the transcripts remain official. Make sure your counselor forwards your official transcripts to SCC Admissions and Records for evaluation after your appointment. 

During the fall and spring semesters, students requesting certification must attend a 15 minute Counselor Check-In session prior to being certified for VA educational benefits. The counselor reserves the right to schedule a full counseling appointment as needed before a student can be certified for the term. 

Can I apply for Financial Aid in addition to using by VA Educational Benefits?

Yes, veterans and their dependents can apply for financial aid in addition to using VA Educational Benefits. The VSO strongly recommends that all students complete 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 California College Promise Grant (formerly known as the Board of Governors Fee Waiver or BOGW).

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 SCC Catalog's Drop for Non-Payment Policy. This policy applies to all students, including veterans using the Post 9/11 (Chapter 33) and dependents using Transfer of Entitlement (Chapter 33 TOE) education benefit. The VA sends payment for tuition and fees to SCC for eligible students 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 the California College Promise Grant which covers the unit fee for eligible California residents. You can apply for just the California College Promise Grant or you can submit a FAFSA every academic year. Please visit the Financial Aid website for more information.

My initial paperwork is on file with the VSO. What are the next steps to get certified?

Once you've turned in all the required documents to start your initial file with the VSO (see new student check list) and attended the Counselor Check-In session, you will register for your classes as outlined on your Educational Plan. Students then need to submit a Certification Request Form to the VSO to request that their classes be certified to the VA for processing. The Certification Request Form must be turned into the VSO every semester if you wish to use your benefits.

Why haven't I been certified yet?

The certification process will depend on when all required documentation was submitted. It could take up to 3 weeks to get a student certified during peak periods. Continuing students must turn in the Certification Request Form after registering for classes if they want to use their benefits for that semester. If this form is not turned in, the VSO will assume you no longer wish to use your VA educational benefits at our campus. 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.

Why do I need to declare a goal? 

The VA requires the declaration of an educational objective.  Please visit the VA website to search for approved programs.

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. 

Can I change my educational goal?

Yes, you can change your educational goal. You will need to inform the VSO of this change by submitting a new educational plan matching the new major. You must also update your major with SCC Admissions and Records. 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.

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, which is located on our forms page.

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. After certification, the VA will send monthly payments such as Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to the eligible student for the training completed the prior month. Peak periods, such as the start of the semester may cause a longer processing time.

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

If you have already been certified for the term, you will need to fill out the Add/Drop Form at the VSO so your certification can be adjusted. Reduction in certified courses may lead to a debt with the VA or with the campus. If a debt occurs, the student may be responsible for repayment.

I have been certified and still haven't received my payment from the VA.  Who do I speak to?

Any concerns regarding payment should be directed to the Department of Veterans Affairs at 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 around 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 with the VA even if your classes have already been certified for the term. Also, you will need to consider when you turn in your certification request in the VSO.  Submitting your documents to the VSO late can delay your certification and, as a result, your payment may also be late. 

I'm using Chapter 33 (Post 9/11), why didn't I get my full BAH this month?

Although payment questions cannot be answered by the VSO, you can contact the VSO 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. The rate of pursuit, such as full-time, three-quarter time, part-time and less than part-time can also 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 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.

If you feel the payments are still not matching up to your eligibility based on your certified courses, contact the VA directly by calling 888-442-4551. 

Do I have to pay taxes on my VA Educational Benefits? 

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

What do I do if I owe the VA money?

There are a number of options offered through the VA Debt Management Center to assist students who need to repay funds to the VA. Please go to: for more information.

Can my VA Benefits and/or Priority Registration be suspended?

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 the California College Promise Grant, it 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.