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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 206A.

  

What are the hours of the Veteran Services Office?

The VSO is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The office is closed on district holidays. Hours are subject to change without notice.

 

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 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 and payment of benefits.

 

The VSO is a student services office that acts as a liaison between the student and the VA. The VSO assists veteran students the application for educational benefits. The VSO’s Certifying Official certifies your courses with the VA. If you have any questions regarding the courses you are certified for, 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), submitted VonApp, Educational Plan, Certification of Eligibility, and if applicable Notice of Basic Eligibility (NOBE), if applicable.

 

When will my benefits be effective?

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

 

Why haven't I been certified yet?

The certification process will depend on when this form was turned in. It could take up to 4 weeks to get a student certified during peak periods. Continuing students must always turn in the Purple 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 receiving VA educational benefits. There may be other issues about your certification, so please be sure to check with the VSO to see if there are pending documents that is causing delays on your certification.

 

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

The VA sends payment to SCC 4-6 weeks after certification.  Every student at SCC must comply with the 3 day drop policy.  If these fees aren't paid within 72 hours after registration, then classes will be dropped.  A few simple solutions would be to just pay it out of pocket and get a refund later, or file for a Board of Governors Waiver (BOG Waiver) or Financial Aid for that particular term for California residents. 

Please visit the Financial Aid website for more information on the Board of Governors Fee Waiver.

 

Where do I go for Academic Counseling at SCC?

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

 

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 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.  You will need to turn in 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 Purple 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. Failure to contact the VSO could lead to an overpayment. If an overpayment occurs, the student is 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 when your payments will arrive.  Payments are 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 a VSO staff on how many units you're certified in.  That would usually explain how many units worth you should get paid.  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 when your payments will arrive.

 

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

It could be due to various reasons. 

    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 could be less than 100%. Check your Certificate of Eligibility for your percentage.  Eligibility for BAH under the Post 9/11 Bill could range from 40% to 100% 
    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're 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, you must be certified in 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 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 under Military Credit for DD-214 holders. 

 

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

The RSCCD catalog does not offer dual degrees, although you can pursue dual degrees side by side.  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 Purple 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.

 

Why should I keep my contact information up to date with the Admissions & Records even though I've transferred or stopped attending the college?

For students who receive an F grade, the VSO will need to determine the last day of attendance for that class as required by the VA.  If your contact information is out of date, then the VSO will report it as a withdrawal which could cause an overpayment.  Grades aren't usually posted until after the semester is over.  If you have left SCC, then we need to be able to contact you on how that F was earned.

 

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. A1 – A student has not maintained a 2.0 GPA and/or has completed less than 50% of coursework for one semester
    4. A2 – A student has not maintained a 2.0 GPA and/or has completed less than 50% of coursework for two semesters
    5. Dismissed – A student has not maintained a 2.0 GPA and/or has completed less than 50% of coursework for three 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 A2 or Dismissed will be reported to the Veterans Administration and the following will occur:

    1. You will not be entitled to receive VA educational benefits.
    2. You will lose your priority registration status at SCC.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.

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

You may take course offered at other colleges/universities, while enrolled at SCC, in order to satisfy your educational objective. You must notify the VSO prior to your registration date with other schools to make sure the course can be certified for benefits according to your educational plan by filling out a  “Parent/Primary School Certification Request.” This form must be signed by a SCC academic counselor or dean. You will then return it to VSO for the Certifying Official signature, so they can submit it to the secondary institution you are concurrently enrolled. 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. Students not taking any courses at SCC, but taking courses at other college/s, must fill out the Certification Request Form as well and turn in to the VSO accompanied by the completed Parent letter.