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Using VA Benefits to Attend College of Saint Mary

As a veteran or the spouse/dependent of a veteran, you could be eligible for benefits while attending College of Saint Mary. You can apply for VA benefits online. Since interpretation of regulations governing veterans' benefits is subject to change, veterans should refer regularly to the VA website.

VA Benefits: The Chapters

The first and most critical step in utilizing VA benefits is identifying your eligible chapter, as this will determine not only what benefits you receive as you attend College of Saint Mary but will also determine how tuition is paid.

VA chapters can be separated into the two major categories.

Tuition (Up-Front) 

This category contains the VA chapters under which tuition is paid directly to the University on behalf of the student. They include:

Under these programs, you do not have to pay tuition up-front, but rather, the VA is billed for the cost of tuition. While financial aid can be used with these chapters, it is not necessary unless you know that 100% of the tuition will not be paid by the VA. Available benefits under these chapters range from housing/living allowances, to book stipends, to possible assistance with school supplies (VR&E only).

Tuition (Reimbursement) 

This category contains VA chapters under which tuition is not paid to the University directly. They include:

Under these programs, you will be responsible for payment of tuition at the time of registration. The VA will then provide you with a direct entitlement (reimbursement).

To learn about VA education benefits programs and compare GI Bill benefits by school, please visit the GI Bill Comparison Tool. To check the rates for VA education benefits to find out how much money you can get to pay for school, please visit VA Education Benefit Rates.

Yellow Ribbon Program

In 2008, the GI Bill® was updated with the enactment of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act, giving veterans with active duty service on, or after, September 11, 2001, enhanced educational benefits that cover more education expenses, provide a living allowance, money for books, and the ability to transfer unused educational benefits to spouses or children. 

The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program (Yellow Ribbon Program or YRP) is a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill®. This program allows institutions of higher learning (degree granting institutions) in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to fund tuition expenses that exceed the maximum base pay amount. In addition, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) will match CSM’s contributions under the Yellow Ribbon Program.

How to Use Your VA Benefits

Step 1: Apply with VA

After you’ve been admitted to CSM, complete the paperwork through the VA, a Certificate of Eligibility Letter (COE) will be mailed, indicating the chapter and eligible benefit(s).

  • Chapter 31 veterans: your case manager will issue an e-authorization code to the CSM School Certifying Official, which permits the SCO to certify your enrollment with the VA

Step 2: Register for Classes at CSM

You should meet with your academic advisor to get authorized to register for classes. You can then register for your classes through CSM Self-Service.

Step 3: Inform CSM’s School Certifying Official (SCO) of Your Benefit Eligibility

Upon receipt of your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA, submit it to the SCO/Associate Registrar by completing the Application for Education Benefits form.  If you do not yet have a COE, attach a screenshot of your benefit information from the VA eBenefits website to the form, but you will still be required to send the COE to the SCO/Associate Registrar once you receive it.

After registering for classes each semester, complete the Request for Certification Form for the SCO so they can certify your enrollment.

Please note:

All VA Benefit recipients are expected to reach the objective (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, or certificate) authorized by the VA with the minimum number of credits required.
The VA may not authorize payments for credits that are in excess of scholastic requirements, that are taken for audit purposes only, or for which non-punitive grades are received.

Registration changes that must be reported:

  • Added Classes – Report the day the add becomes effective
  • Dropped Classes – Report the last day of attendance in the class
  • Audit Grades – Report this grade option if you choose it. The VA will not pay for classes for which you request an Audit Grade
  • Withdrawals – Report the last day of attendance in the class
  • Repeated Classes – Report any class you are repeating for credit. The VA will pay for such a class only if the initial grade was an “F.”
  • NA or Missing Grade – A class with an “NA” (Never Attended) grade or missing grade will not be paid by the VA. I will be responsible to repay any monies received for these classes.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website.