Veterans Education Benefits Information

The Dowling College Veterans Services Officer serves veterans, service members, and their family members. This office provides general and specific information about all benefits available to men and women who are serving or who have served in the armed forces and their dependents who use these benefits.  Failure to adhere to the information provided here may result in delays of certification, overpayment, and unnecessary termination of education benefits.

We welcome you to contact Jean Vitale, Associate Director of Admissions, in the Admissions Office located on the second floor in Fortunoff Hall.

Apply for VA Education Benefits

APPLICATION FOR VETERANS EDUCATION BENEFITS
VA Applications are designed to obtain the data necessary to determine eligibility for educational assistance benefits for particular educational objectives. The application and required forms vary according to the type of benefits and to the circumstances.

To view which form applies, visit www.gibill.va.gov

You will then need to launch VONAPP to apply for benefits. When you use this site, your Application will be sent directly to the VA Regional Office with jurisdiction over your application. For this reason, it is important to provide the correct address of the campus the student will attend. The student should print a copy of the application for their records and provide a copy to the Veterans Affairs Office. Once the form is submitted to the VA, the student will receive an automatic email informing the student they have received the application.

CERTIFICATE OF ELIGIBILITY
When the VA processes the application with the necessary supporting documentation, a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) will be mailed to the student. Chapter 33 (Post 9/11) Certificate of Eligibility letters will provide the eligibility percentage. The student will need to provide a copy of the COE to the Veteran’s Representative. If the student is less than 100% eligibility under Chapter 33, the student must establish a payment method for the portion the VA will not pay.

ENROLLMENT CERTIFICATION
The Dowling College VA Certifying Official (VCO) uses the electronic certification program to report all pertinent information concerning your enrollment to the DVA. Once enrollment has been certified to the VA, they will send a confirmation email to the student.  It takes approximately six to ten weeks for the VA to process initial enrollment claims andre-enrollments.  Once entitlement is established and the DVA makes an award, payment is authorized monthly.

STUDENT VERIFICATION OF ENROLLMENT
Students receiving Montgomery G.I. Bill, Chapter 30, 1606 or 1607 education benefits must verify their enrollment monthly. Students can verify their enrollment through the VA’s Web Automated Verification of Enrollment system (WAVE) website at www.gibill.va.gov/wave or by calling: 1-888-442-4551. This is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You must be currently enrolled in some form of approved educational program and have a current or active benefit award in the VA system. If these conditions are not met, you will not have a record in the WAVE system.  Students receiving benefits under Chapter 33-Post 9/11 educational benefits are not required to verify their enrollment.

CHAPTER 33 (POST 9/11)
The Chapter 33 (Post 9/11) Certificate of Eligibility (COE) letter must be submitted by the student to the VA School Certifying Official located in Fortunoff Hall.

Monthly Housing Allowance: Your Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) is generally the same as the military Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents. The student’s MHA is based on the ZIP code for your school. There are some exceptions to MHA. Books and Supplies Stipend: Individuals using the Post 9/11 GI Bill are eligible for up to $1,000 per VA academic year for books and supplies.  This amount is paid proportionately based on enrollment.  If you are enrolled in half-time or less you will NOT receive MHA.

Transfer of Entitlement (TOE) under Chapter 33 (Post 9/11): The Department of Defense (DoD) is authorized to allow individuals who, on or after August 1, 2009, to transfer unused education benefits to immediate family members (spouse and children). The service member must have at least six years of service, and commit to an additional four years of service in order to transfer benefits to a spouse or child. The Department of Defense determines whether or not you can transfer benefits to your family members.

KICKERS, COLLEGE FUNDS, ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS
Students eligible for a Kicker/College Fund under Chapter 30 or 1606 may receive the Kicker/College Fund under Chapter 33 (Post 9/11). The Kicker/College Fund will be prorated by the student’s rate of pursuit percentage and paid monthly to the student. The student will need to send a copy of the Kicker/College Fund document to the student’s VA Regional Processing Office. This document was signed with the enlistment contract.  Note: The Chapter 30 additional contribution ($600 Buy-up) is not payable under Chapter 33 (Post 9/11).

VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION – Chapter 31

A veteran may be eligible for Chapter 31 benefits if he or she:

  • Received, or will receive, a discharge under other than dishonorable conditions;
  • Incurred or aggravated a service-connected disability on or after September 16, 1940,

which entitles them to DVA disability compensation; and

  • Is in need of vocational rehabilitation because his or her disability creates an employment handicap. Entitlement for these services is determined on an individual basis following an evaluation of the veteran’s unique interests, aptitudes, education, work experience, and vocational abilities. Voc Rehab may be provided for up to 48 months. An eligible veteran generally has 12 years from the date he/she is notified of entitlement to DVA compensation in which to use these benefits. The DVA may approve an extension of time and/or length of training in certain cases. Contact the nearest DVA office to obtain detailed information and to request Form 28-1900, Disabled Veterans’ Application for Vocational Rehabilitation or call 1-800-827-1000.

SUPPLEMENTAL ENROLLMENTS
Students enrolling in courses through a supplemental (secondary) institution who wish to use their VA education benefits must first obtain approval from the Registrar’s Office. The supplemental (secondary) school must be approved by the DVA to participate in the education programs, and all courses must be required for completion of the student’s Dowling College Degree. The supplemental school will certify the enrollment. The supplemental enrollment certification must be sent to the DVA Regional Processing Office in Buffalo, New York.  The DVA requires the university to have transcripts for supplemental enrollments no later than the second term (or 8 months whichever occurs first) following the term in which the course(s) is completed. If transcripts are not received, the university is required to notify the DVA. The DVA will terminate benefits effective the last date of the enrollment. Once transcripts are received, certification of enrollment will resume.

AUDITS, REPEATS, WITHDRAWALS & NON-REQUIRED COURSES

The VA will not authorize payment for:

  • Withdrawals/drops
  • Audits
  • Courses which are not applicable to a declared degree objective.

Please check your degree audit for classes required for your degree

  • Courses for which a grade assigned are not used in computing requirement for graduation.
  • Repeating a course for which a grade of “D” or better (unless a higher grade is required).
  • A course you stopped attending.

Note: Payment will be authorized for repeating required courses for which you have failed. See Changes in Student Status.

DOUBLE MAJORS, DUAL DEGREES, AND MINORS
Effective 6/12/2009, enrollment in dual majors at an Institution of Higher Learning (IHL) are no longer required to obtain approval from the VA State Approving Agency as long as both majors are approved programs offered by the IHL and they relate to the same career field.

REMEDIAL, DEFICIENCY & REFRESHER
Remedial and deficiency courses are typically intended to assist individuals in overcoming weaknesses in particular areas of study at the secondary school level. Often, institutions will require the completion of certain deficiency courses without granting credit toward graduation. Basic English language or mathematics courses are authorized only when the need for training has been established by accepted testing methods. These courses must be taken in the classroom in order to receive VA benefits.

Refresher courses are courses, which will permit the student to update knowledge and skills or be instructed in the technological advances, which have occurred in the individual’s field of employment during or after active duty.

CHANGES IN STUDENT STATUS
All students receiving VA education benefits are required to inform the school certifying official of ALL of the following:

  • Periods of enrollment
  • Audits and withdrawals
  • Change of degree programs including minors and natural progression from Bachelors to Masters
  • Address change
  • Change in dependents applicable to those eligible for Chapter 34/30
  • Course substitutions (approval must be obtained prior to enrolling in course)
  • Intra-University Transfer
  • Supplemental Enrollments
  • Repeating Courses

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS
All students receiving VA education benefits are required to maintain satisfactory academic progress according to published standards established and enforced by Dowling College, which is a 2.0 GPA.  This is also the standard to receive Federal Student Financial Aid.  If you fail to meet this standard you may incur a debt and/or be academically disqualified from the Dowling.  Dowling College Standards of Progress have been approved and accepted by the VA. Title 38, United States Code, Sections 3474 and 3524 requires that education assistance benefits to veterans and other eligible persons be discontinued when the student ceases to make satisfactory progress toward completion of his or her training objective.

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
VA Work Study is available to students using the GI Bill who are enrolled ¾ time or greater. VA will pay a non-taxable allowance equal to the prevailing federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher.

PAYMENT
Generally speaking, benefits are paid in arrears. (Example: You will receive payment for the month of September at the beginning of October, etc.). You can expect to begin receiving VA funding in about six to eight weeks from the first day of the beginning of the term.

DIRECT DEPOSIT
Direct deposit is the safest and fastest way to receive your VA education benefits. You may request direct deposit by mail or by calling 1-877-838-2778. Be sure to provide your financial institution’s routing number, your account number, and type of account (checking or savings).

INTERVAL (BREAK) PAY
Changes to the new GI Bill will prevent veterans from receiving a housing stipend during spring and winter breaks. President Obama signed changes to the post-9/11 GI Bill into law in January. In the past, veterans had the option of receiving the allowance during breaks that were less than 56 days long. That meant that they would not get the benefit if they did not take classes during the summer, but could during the shorter spring and winter breaks. Under the changes, break pay is eliminated. If a semester ends Dec. 15, the housing allowance is paid just for the first 15 days of the month. The measure only allows the stipend to be paid under executive order by the president or due to an emergency such as a natural disaster.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
The major categories of financial assistance programs for undergraduates include loans, grants, scholarships and student employment. Loans from federal government sources or from private lenders must be repaid; however, the interest rate is usually low and the repayment period is extended. Grants and scholarships do not have to be repaid, nor does the income earned through the student employment. Most of these programs are based on the financial need of the student. We encourage all veterans to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to see if they are eligible to receive the Pell Grant, the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Work Study. The FAFSA should be submitted as early as possible beginning in January preceding the academic year. Federal recipients must have a complete financial aid file, including necessary verification documents. After your FAFSA needs analysis and other documents have been received and reviewed for accuracy, you are notified of any award for which you are eligible. If you are denied grants, you are encouraged to continue in the process to be considered for supplemental forms of assistance such as student loans. If the veteran’s income has decreased from the previous year, they can complete a Special Condition form to show change of income. Once completed, this change of income may enable the student to be eligible for grants. Should you need further information concerning the financial aid process, stop by the financial aid office or contact the Veteran’s representative at (631) 244-3088.

TRANSCRIPTS FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL (Transfer Credits)
Dowling College is a member of American Council on Education, ACE, which provides quality assurance and policy guidance for the Joint Services Transcript (JST) used by the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard. More than 2,300 colleges and universities recognize these transcripts as official documentation of military training and experiences and applicable ACE credit recommendations.