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What You Need to Know About Using Your Benefits

Important Topics

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What classes will the VA pay for?

The VA will only pay for classes that are REQUIRED for your degree (not recommended). This includes: general education requirements, major requirements, pre-requisites and classes needed to meet the 122 credits required to graduate (electives). To find out if a class is required, you should check your degree audit report on My Degree Dashboard.

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Failing a Class

You can fail a class and the VA will not create a debt against you and will pay for you to retake the class as long as you attended the course through the end of the semester (EU grades are NOT the same as E grades and are considered unofficial withdraws). The VA considers a failing grade to be any grade in which you did not meet the minimum grade to “complete” the course. For example, some courses require a C+ or better to receive credit, if you receive a C, you did not pass and therefore the VA will pay for you to retake the course.

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Retaking a Course

If you failed a required course or did not receive the minimum grade considered “passing” (for example, you received a C- in the course but need a C or better to actually receive credit), the VA will pay for you to repeat the course. They will not pay for repeated courses in order to boost GPA or to get a better grade (if you passed the course). The VA will not cover any repeat course fees if you are charged one.

NOTE: You need to be aware that repeat courses can result in over-payments from VA. If you repeat the course more than one time, and the VA pays for it each time you retake it, the VA may create a debt against you and make you repay the money from the first time you took the course. This only happens if you repeat the class more than once. It is in your best interest to make sure you pass the class the first time you repeat it, otherwise the VA may create a debt against you.

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Dropping & Withdrawing Classes

If you drop or withdraw from a course after we have already submitted your enrollment certification to the VA, you may be required to pay money back to the VA. Our office will email you (at your UMail account) after you drop or withdraw from the course to ask you for a last date of attendance. It is important that you reply to this email within 3 weeks of receiving it. If you do not reply, we are required to report that you never attended the course and the VA may create a bigger debt against you.

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Attending Classes

It is important to understand that the VA pays you for being in class, not just registering for the course(s). If you register for a class but never attend or stop attending at any point during the semester, you may receive an EU grade which is considered an unofficial withdraw and a debt will be created against you by the VA. Even if you are failing the course, it is best to either withdraw or continue attending the class and fail if you do not want to pay money back to VA. The VA will allow you to fail a course without having to pay money back, as long as you attended the entire semester.

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Are you a non-resident using Post 911 GI Bill?

The Post 911 GI Bill will only pay for resident tuition. So if you are a non-resident, the Post 911 will only pay the resident portion of your tuition. If you qualified at the 100% rating under the Post 911 GI Bill, then you will qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program (link to form) which will cover the non-resident portion of your tuition. If you are not at the 100% rating, you will not qualify for Yellow Ribbon and will be required to pay the balance of your tuition not paid by the Post 911 GI Bill.

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What is considered full time for GI Bill?

For Undergraduates: Fall and Spring = 12 credits

*Summer = 8 credits

(for Summer, 8 credits for the full length of the semester, be sure to read the “How do 1st half, 2nd half and miscellaneous term classes affect what the GI Bill pays me?” information (provide link)

For Graduates: Fall and Spring = 9 credits

*Summer = 6 credits

(for Summer, 6 credits for the full length of the semester, be sure to read the “How do 1st half, 2nd half and miscellaneous term classes affect what the GI Bill pays me?” information (provide link)

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How do 1st half, 2nd half and miscellaneous term classes affect what the GI Bill pays me?

The VA only pays you for the time you are IN class. For example, if you sign up for 12 credits for the 1st half of the semester, you will only receive benefits for the 1st half of the semester even though you are considered full time for the semester by the University. Once your classes end, the VA considers the semester over .This can be especially tricky if you are taking classes in the Summer semester when there are more 1st/2nd half classes available. The VA will calculate full-time status based on where dates overlap. So if you are registered for 1st/2nd half classes and want to know if you’ll be considered full time, you can contact our office and ask us to look at your schedule to determine whether you will be full-time.

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Post 911 (Chapter 33) and BAH/Book money and Tuition

BAH: In order to receive the minimum amount of BAH, you need to be ABOVE ½ time. So for undergraduates for Fall and Spring semesters you need AT LEAST 6.5 credits and Summer you need AT LEAST 4.5 credits to receive any BAH (graduate students need at least 5.5 in Fall/Spring and 3.5 for Summer) If you are below ½ time, you will NOT receive any BAH.

Online Courses and BAH: If you enroll in only online courses for a semester, the VA will only pay you 50% of the national average of BAH, even if you are full-time. If at least ONE of your classes is an on campus class (meaning a class you go to), then you will receive the amount of BAH you’d normally get. You can take online courses, but if you want to receive normal BAH, at least one class has to be on campus.

Book money: The VA will pay you up to $1000 per academic year for books under the Post 911 GI Bill. The $1000 is if you are at the 100% rating (if you are at a different percentage you will receive a percentage of the $1000 per year, for example, someone at the 80% rating would get up to $800 per academic year). The way the VA calculates book money is based off of the number of credits you are registered for each semester. They have a per credit hour charge of approximately $42 per credit. They will multiply that amount by the number of approved credits you are registered for. For example, you are registered for 12 credits for Fall: $42X12 = $504.00 for books for Fall (if at the 100% rating). This also means that for Spring, you will have $496.00 available from the $1000 per academic year. You do not need to save receipts for books. If you can find your books for cheap online, or better yet, for free, you can still keep the book money. It is recommended that if your books cost less than what you receive for a given semester, that you save the rest for future semesters as you may not receive as much.

Tuition and Fees: The VA will pay your tuition directly to the school only for classes that are approved (meaning required for your degree). The VA has never paid tuition by the tuition deadline, but you do not need to worry about the tuition deadline. As long as you make sure you have filled out a request for benefits (link provided) for the semester, we will have you on a list that is sent down to the tuition office to prevent Post 911 GI Bill students from being dropped or charged late fees. You will have until the end of the semester to make sure your tuition gets paid by the VA before you will be required to pay anything. It is not recommended that you wait until the end of the semester to check.

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Chapter 30, 1606, 1607: Verify your enrollment each month to get paid!

For Montgomery GI Bill (Ch. 30) and reservists (Ch. 1606, 1607), you will need to verify your enrollment each month with the VA in order to get paid. If you do not, the VA will not pay you. To do so, you can call: 1-877-823-2378

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Minors and Double Majors

As it stands right now, the VA will not pay for minors unless they are required by your degree or you can complete them within the 122 credits required to graduate. The VA will pay for double majors, you will just need to make sure you get it declared with the University first and then come see us to get it declared with VA.

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How long does it take to get paid from the VA?

It can take them anywhere from 4-8 weeks after we submit your enrollment certification to them depending on how busy they are. It is in your best interest to take care of everything as soon as possible if you are reliant on money from the VA. Waiting to check on your benefits mid-semester to see if you need to do anything is not advisable. Check your UMail account regularly to avoid any delays.

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Changing your Major

If you are planning on changing your major, you will first need to get that major declared with the University. This can be done by talking to the department your major is in. Once it is declared with the University, you’ll need to fill out a form with our office to change it with VA. Changing it with only the University will not result in us changing it with VA for you. You will need to fill out paperwork to change it with VA.

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Post 9/11 (Chapter 33) and the Tuition Deadline

The VA will likely not pay your tuition by the tuition deadline. However, our office works with the tuition office to insure you do not get dropped or charged a late fee. If you have completed a request for benefits for the current semester, we will add you to a list that is sent to the tuition office to prevent you from being dropped. You are not required to make any payments on your tuition until after the VA has made their payment.

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Post 9/11 (Chapter 33) and Grad Benefits, Faculty/Staff Reduction, Purple Heart, Tuition Assistance and Other Tuition Waivers

Any source of funds that is meant to be applied only to tuition and fees will be subtracted out of what we report to VA for your tuition. Most scholarships and grants do not fall into this category, but if they are not cash awards, they will need to be taken out of what is reported to VA. If you have a question about how something might affect what the VA pays for your tuition, you can contact us and we will tell you if it affects anything.

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Undeclared Majors

If you are an undeclared major, the VA will only pay for classes that meet general education requirements. Any class that does not fulfill a general education requirement will not be covered by VA benefits.

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Veteran Services

Union 418
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Office Hours

Mon 8am-5pm
Tue 10am-5pm
Wed 8am-5pm
Thu 8am-5pm
Fri 8am-5pm
(Closed Holidays)

Phone: (801)581-6945
Fax: (801)585-0356
Email: vetservices@utah.edu

Last Updated: 9/22/16