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FAQ’S

Can my VA benefits be suspended for any reason?

Yes, a student on academic probation will have VA educational benefit payments suspended if they fail to make satisfactory academic progresses in accord with the academic policies stated in the college catalog.

Do I get BAH while enrolled in distance learning?

If your entire enrollment is distance or online training you are not entitled to the BAH portion of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. If just one of your classes is categorized as “in-residence” and you are otherwise eligible, you would be entitled to the applicable BAH rate for the time you are engaged in “in-residence” training. This may include in-residence course(s) at the secondary school, provided you will receive credit toward your degree program for those courses. The BAH will be determined by the ZIP code of the “in-residence” course(s) school location.

Do I need to renew my benefits each semester?

Yes, it is your responsibility to notify the VA office each term if you want your benefits to continue. To do so, please submit an updated Ed Plan for that semester.

How can I ask a question that is not included on this F.A.Q.?

Please email jsweeney@peralta.eduto send us a question or to report a change in your unit load for the current term.

How do I replace my DD-214?

Visit the National Archives Online to request a replacement.

How do I update my address and Direct Deposit information?

If you are currently receiving benefits or have received benefits in the last year, the WAVE online system is the simplest way to update your address and Direct Deposit information.
To update your Direct Deposit or address online:

  1. Go to the WAVE web site.
  2. Click the tab that says “log in instructions” at the top of the page, and follow the instructions to log on to WAVE.
  3. On the main menu page once you have logged in, click the link to the left that says “Direct Deposit Enrollment Form” or “Change of Address” depending on what you need to do. Both procedures can be completed online.
  4. If you don’t have access to WAVE, these requests can be submitted using the “Ask a Question” tab in the “Questions and Answers” section of the GI BILL web site.

To update your Direct Deposit or Address by phone:

  • You can contact our Direct Deposit center at 1-877-838-2778 to update your Direct Deposit information.
  • Changes of address can be completed by calling 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).

 

How do I verify my enrollment?

If you’re receiving the Active Duty or Reserve GI Bill or REAP, use the Web Automated Verification of Enrollment (WAVE) or call our toll free Interactive Voice Response telephone line at 1-877-VA-ECERT (1-877-823-2378) to verify your attendance. If you’re receiving Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits you don’t need to verify your attendance.
How long does it take for my information to process?
For first time applicants it can take up to 90 days and for students who are transferring benefits here from another institution it can take up to 30 days.

How long is the Cal Vet Fee Waiver letter good for? Do I need to reapply?

Your Cal Vet Fee Waiver award letter is good for the academic year indicated on it. This always starts with a Summer, Fall, and then Spring. You will need to provide a new letter before the start of each Summer to be covered for the upcoming year.

How many training hours must the student be enrolled in to qualify for the full Allowance?

If the student is otherwise eligible for the housing allowance, the student must be enrolled at a rate of pursuit that is more than 50%.
Rate of pursuit means the measurement obtained by dividing the number of credit hours (or the equivalent credit hours as determined in §21.9750) an individual is enrolled in, including credit hours (or the equivalent) applied to refresher, remedial, and deficiency courses, by the number of credit hours (or the equivalent credit hours) considered to be full-time training at the institution of higher learning. The resulting percentage (rounded to the nearest hundredth) will be the individual’s rate of pursuit not to exceed 100 percent. For the purpose of this subpart, VA will consider any rate of pursuit higher than 50 percent to be more than one-half time training.
If the student has already been paid for the course or courses, VA will create an overpayment (subject to the 6-credit hour exclusion described below) from the beginning of the term, quarter, or semester. If you know what the student’s mitigating circumstance is, concisely describe the circumstance in remarks.
For example, you might enter: “Student withdrew 5/6/04 following Father’s death on 4/30/04.” Submitting the reason for the reduction or withdrawal at the time the change is reported will help the student avoid or reduce an overpayment if the change is for an acceptable reason.

How will schools receive payments under the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

Schools will receive tuition & fees and Yellow Ribbon Program payments directly from the VA on behalf of each eligible student. VA sent a letter and an attachment to degree granting institutions requesting a Tax Identification Number and bank account deposit information. Schools that return this information to VA will receive payments via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Should VA not have active EFT information for a school, payments will be issued by paper check to the mailing address on file.

I am a student at Merritt College and want to take additional classes at a different school, how can I have those classes certified?

If Merritt College is your primary institution, we can provide a Parent School Letter to the other school you are concurrently enrolled with. The class(es) taken at the other institution must be degree applicable and transferable to our institution. Once you enroll at the other campus, bring a copy of: your fee statement/registration – showing that you have cleared your fees, a class list, and a course description for each class. Once these forms are submitted, it will take about 2-3 working days for us to provide a Parent School Letter to the other campus so that they can certify your classes there. Please contact your VA Counselor for more details.

I wasn’t paid the right amount, how can it be fixed?

You can contact the Veterans Certification Office to make sure we have transmitted the correct information to the VA, however if we have and your payment is still wrong, then you will need to contact the VA directly. You can contact them by phone at (888) 442-4551 or by email through the GI Bill website at www.gibill.va.gov/ and click on “questions and answers” to submit an inquiry.
If I used all of my months of benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), am I still eligible for benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill?
If you used all of your months of benefits under MGIB, you may still be eligible for benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill if you have qualifying active duty service after September 10, 2001, and meet all of the eligibility requirements for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. For example, if you used 36 months of benefits under MGIB and you are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you may receive up to 12 months of benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. You cannot receive more than a maximum of 48 months of benefits under any combination of VA education programs.

My information on the WAVE system in not correct, what do I do?

You can contact the Veterans Certification Office to make sure we have transmitted the correct information to the VA. If we have done everything correct on our side, then you will then have to contact the VA at (888) 442-4551 or by email through the GI Bill website at www.gibill.va.gov/ and click on “questions and answers” to submit an inquiry.

What are mitigating circumstances?

If a student drops a course or withdraws from school after the drop period and receives a non-punitive grade, VA will reduce benefits effective the first day of the term unless mitigating circumstances are found. Mitigating circumstances are circumstances beyond the student’s control that prevent the student from continuing in school or that cause the student to reduce credits.
Examples are:

  • An illness or injury afflicting the student during the enrollment period.
  • An illness or death in the student’s immediate family.
  • An unavoidable change in the student’s conditions of employment.
  • An unavoidable geographical transfer resulting from the student’s employment.
  • Immediate family or financial obligations beyond the control of the claimant that require him or her to suspend pursuit of the program of education to obtain employment.
  • Discontinuance of the course by the school.
  • Unanticipated active military service, including active duty for training.
  • Unanticipated difficulties with childcare arrangements the student has made for the period during which he or she is attending classes.

When a student terminates or reduces after the drop period and a non-punitive grade is assigned, mitigating circumstances are an issue. If mitigating circumstances are needed and adequate evidence of mitigating circumstances is not received with the Notice of Change in Student Status; VA will not pay for the course or courses in question.

What is the difference between in-residence training and distance learning?

In-residence training for undergraduate students consists of regularly scheduled standard class sessions (at least once every two weeks). The total number of hours of classroom instruction (based on 50 minutes of instruction per hour) must equal, or be greater than, the number of credit hours awarded for the course multiplied by the number of weeks in the term. EXAMPLE: A student is enrolled in a 3-credit course over a 16 week semester. The course must be scheduled for a total of 48 hours of class sessions and meet at least every other week.
Distance learning consists of interaction between the student and the instructor (who is physically separated from the student) through the use of communications technology instead of regularly scheduled, conventional classroom or laboratory sessions. Communications technology includes mail, telephone, audio or videoconferencing, computer technology (on-line internet courses or email), or other electronic means such as one-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite, or wireless communications devices.

What must I do if I change my course load/training time?

If you change your course load/training time (for example, go from being a full-time student to a 3/4 time student), you must contact the School Certifying Official at your school or training facility. The official will send documentation to VA to adjust your benefits. To avoid any possible overpayment of benefits, inform VA directly of your course load/training time change. If you’re receiving MGIB-SR, MGIB-AD or REAP, you may use Web Automated Verification of Enrollment (WAVE). Please follow this link to log into your WAVE. Recipients of any VA Education benefit can send a message to VA by clicking the “ask a question” tab above, or by calling 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) to inform us of a reduction in your course load/training time.