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Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Welcome to the Educational Benefits thread 2.0. The last thread was pretty successful but since I needed to overhaul the poo poo out of my OP thanks to the new legislation I felt it necessary to start a new one. Below you will find a bunch of useful information in regards to both your educational benefits directly, and useful (Veteran specific) college information in general.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
----------
Introduction
Section I - For all GI Bills
Section II - Chapter 1606 for non-deployed Reservists and Guardsmen
Section III - The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB - Chapter 30)
Section IV - The Post 9/11 GI Bill
Section V - Vocational Rehabilitation and Education (VR&E - Chapter 31)
Section VI - tl;dr
Section VII - The Yellow Ribbon Program
Section VIII - Tuition Waivers in certain states
Section IX - Financial Aid
Section X - General Questions

----------
Introduction
----------

My name is Vasudus and I'm a Veteran's Benefit Councilor for a large university. I have been doing this job for about 18 months. My job starts with getting Veterans into school, doing all their paperwork, providing academic advisement, providing transitional counseling, and anything else that is required. I do closed door social work type stuff and hang out in the lounge bullshitting. I call whatever respective departments that are giving my guys a hard time and I call them a bunch of unpatriotic communist assholes on a routine basis. I routinely travel around to speak at various institutions about education benefits and the cheesy-as-gently caress warrior to student speech. It is a sweet gig.

I served in the Army from 2003 to 2006 as a 21B2O, Combat Engineer. My career was cut short when some jihadist assholes decided that there is no victory but through god. I've got PTSD like a motherfucker and I can never get an MRI again. At least I don't beep at the airport anymore.

It should be noted that I am not an employee of the VA proper, nor am I official university staff. I am a work-study student paid by the VA. There may be things that I am wrong on or is simply out of my area and requires me to research or take a shot in the dark on. If it is something that I am not 100% confident on, I will state so.

Before we start:

This thread is based heavily on the following assumptions, which I have gathered based on my personal Veteran demographics for my school:

You are single
You have not used your benefits yet and still have 36 months
You qualify at the 100% level for the Post 9/11 GI Bill
You are going for your undergraduate degree
You are going to a traditional, brick-and-mortar school in the US

If this is not you, please note that sometimes I might make assumptions that it is. I will try to make liberal use of the phrases "Depending on your situation" and "Your financial mileage may vary" when people might find themselves in different situations.


----------
Section I - All GI Bills
----------

APPLY FOR YOUR BENEFITS AT http://gibill.va.gov

For all GI Bills you are entitled to 36 benefit months of educational assistance. The key word in this statement is benefit. If you are in school from July 1st to July 31st, that's a benefit month. If you aren't in school you aren't burning time. The benefit month system only eats away when you are actually collecting, so there is no direct pressure to poo poo out a degree. You might want to for your own reasons, which I will cover later in the thread.

Note also that the time is shared between all bills, so if you are a reservist/guardsman on Chapter 1606, and you deploy to get that sweet sweet Post 9/11, you don't magically get 36 months of it again. It is for this reason that if you are a new reservist/guardsman with no active time except training, and you know you are to deploy soon, it might be better to hold off.


----------
Section II - Chapters 1606 and 1607 - The Montgomery GI Bill - Selective Reserve / REAP
----------

Chapter 1606 is a bone thrown to our weekend warriors. It is currently 337 dollars a month paid to the individual. It eats your benefit months. It is poo poo. Depending on your situation, it might be worth it to collect this bill, as 337 dollars is better than no dollars at all.

The only people who should ever use this bill are those who have not deployed.

Chapter 1607, also called REAP, is a bill that is basically phased out completely. It was a halfassed attempt to reward deployed reservists/guardsman before Post 9/11 came out. If you qualify for REAP, you qualify for 60% Post 9/11, which is always better.


----------
Section III - The Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30)
----------

The famous Montgomery GI Bill that was so heavily broadcast on TV in the late 90s. It currently pays out 1487 dollars a month to the individual who has served at least 3 years of active duty. It does not cover anything else.

If you qualify for this bill, you are qualified at the 100% level of the Post 9/11 Bill. You should never be using this bill, and thankfully in about five years my job will be significantly easier as this bill will cease to be in rotation. There is one, and only one, exception to this statement:

If you have less than 12 months of benefit time remaining on the Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30) you need to be aware of the following: Those who expend 100% of their Chapter 30 benefits are allowed a 12 month extension of the Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33). Depending on your situation, it may be in your best financial interests to expend your MGIB and switch over on the extension. Graduate school is expensive as gently caress, and having 12 months of Post 9/11 is likely worth it over shelling out for the rest of your undergraduate degree.


----------
Section IV - The Post 9/11 GI Bill
----------

This is what people are talking about when they say 'gently caress bitches, get money, go to school'. This bill is what the MGIB should have been in the first place, and thank gently caress they went and future proofed this bastard.

At the 100% level, the GI Bill pays the following:

All of your tuition and fees paid directly to the university, to a maximum cap of 17,500 dollars per year
1000 dollars a semester, split between Fall and Spring (so 500 each) for books paid directly to the Veteran
A monthly BAH rate of an E5 with dependents paid out based on the zipcode of your school

Now that is what I'm loving talking about.

If you are a reservist/guardsman with a single deployment, you are likely 60% rated. Take what someone who gets 100% would be entitled to and do the math. 60% of the BAH, 600 a year for books, etc.

Under all circumstances the Post 9/11 GI Bill is better for all Veterans, even those that are 40% rated.

For those attending online-only schools, the GI Bill as of August 1st 2011 pays half the national average of BAH, or ~673 dollars a month. This change makes it immediately better than MGIB which was the single holdout, because Post 9/11 pays your tuition and MGIB is just a check to you.

For those who took the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is that you do indeed get the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The bad news is that the timer for qualifying service starts after your SLRP obligation is completed, which is 3 years. So if you took SLRP, to qualify at 100% Post 9/11 you had to have done 6 years of active time. I hope you got your money's worth out of SLRP.

For our commissioned goons, the same applies as it does for SLRP. You have to finish your commitment to AD time before the clock starts. Six year commitment -> 9 years AD time to get full Post 9/11 eligibility.

Note that at 10 years, you can transfer your months to dependents. This is done on a benefit month system, in that you can assign whatever amount of months to whichever dependent you choose. Keep in mind that it eats out of the same pool, so 36 months split between say two dependents is 18/18.


----------
Section V - Vocational Rehabilitation and Education (VR&E - Chapter 31)
----------

This is for our disabled veterans. If you are 10% rated by your service or 20% by the VA (total percent, not on a per injury basis) you qualify for this. Prior to 1 August 2011, this was inferior to Post 9/11. This is no longer the case, because as of 1 August 2011, those who qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and Voc Rehab can get the BAH of Post 9/11 instead of the tiny stipend VR&E gives you. There are absolutely no guidelines at this time how the VA plans to go about this, yes it is as frightening as it sounds to people like me who have over 500 veterans they are responsible for.

Applying for VR&E is a much different animal than your regular GI Bill as it serves a much different purpose. The GI Bills are fuckoff money and they give literally zero shits where you go to school or how you spend your money they give you. With VR&E you have a councilor that you have to meet with, your degree is planned out and the end goal is to make you a productive member of society.

The benefit comes with the fact that VR&E will pay for literally any school, training or equipment that is necessary for them to in order for you to reach your goal. Want to be a welder and need a 5,000 dollar welding kit for school? gently caress it, done. Need a laptop to take notes on? Have one, complete with a printer. They pay for literally everything within reason, you just have to convince them it is necessary.

Another neat thing is that you can apply for and participate in VR&E after you have expended your GI Bill. You usually get 12 months of benefits - to cap out at the standard maximum of 48 months. However, depending on exactly why you haven't completed your VR&E in 12 months can get you an extension until you do. My coworker, for example, is currently at month 45 and got approved to complete her graduate degree, which would take her to 54 months. It is a much different animal compared to the GI Bill.


----------
Section VI - tl;dr
----------

WHAT BUTAN I PRESS GET MONEY?!
Reservists and Guardsmen who have not deployed: Chapter 1606
Reservists and Guardsmen who have deployed once and are not disabled: 60% Post 9/11
Reservists and Guardsmen who have deployed more than once, are not disabled, or Active Duty who took SLRP at enlistment: 70-90% Post 9/11
Active Duty who are not disabled: 100% Post 9/11
Disabled Veterans: Vocational Rehabilitation


----------
Section VII - Yellow Ribbon
----------

Yellow Ribbon is the ivory towered elite giving back to the community. If your school participates in Yellow Ribbon, and you are 100% Post 9/11, the following happens:

Assuming that your school costs 10,000 for a full semester, it will cost 20,000 dollars an academic year

The VA under Post 9/11 will pay 17,500 dollars of this, leaving you with a 2,500 dollar balance

The Yellow Ribbon program will take that remaining 2,500 dollar balance and split it between the VA (1250) and the school (1250) leaving the Veteran with a zero balance.

This allows the Veteran to attend just about any school they want and not have to pay out of pocket.

As my boss says "If you're 100%, you're one-hundred-loving-percent."

Just about every school worth going to participates in Yellow Ribbon, to include ivies, little ivies, liberal arts gently caress colleges, state schools and probably barber school and clown college. It applies for both undergraduate and graduate degrees.


----------
Section VIII - Tuition Waivers for certain states
----------

In Connecticut, if you have served more than 90 days of active duty, regardless of any other factors, from 2 August 1990 to present, you do not pay tuition. This includes all the state schools and UCONN. You are still responsible for fees. NOTE: CT is one of the few states in the country that doesn't give a poo poo where you served or where you lived.

The Wisconsin G.I. Bill provides a full waiver (“remission”) of tuition and fees for eligible veterans and their dependents for up to 8 full-time semesters or 128 credits at any University of Wisconsin System (UWS) or Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) institution for continuing education, or for study at the undergraduate or graduate level. http://dva.state.wi.us/ben_education.asp


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Section IX - Financial Aid, AKA FREE MOTHERFUCKING MONEY
----------

You DO NOT claim your education benefits on the FAFSA. Fill that motherfucker out every semester at http://www.fafsa.gov and get your free money in the form of grants. Also available are loans for those who may need it for whatever reason. You can get up to 5500/year, tax free, on top of everything else. DO IT.

Vasudus fucked around with this message at Jun 9, 2011 around 01:38

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Vasudus
May 30, 2003


----------
Section X - General Information
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How long does it take to get my stuff processed and when do I get paid?
-----------
It takes 2-4 weeks to get your Certificate of Eligibility from the VA
It takes 1-2 weeks for your Certifying Official's paperwork to get to the VA, and for the VA to pay the school
You get paid on the last day of the month unless a holiday or other factor fucks it up
You get paid your Fall book stipend somewhere around July-ish, and your Spring stipend around late December


----------
How do I get an answer from the VA about something?
----------
Use the VA's 'Ask a Question' feature on their website. You get a written response in 2-3 days for most issues so it is often worth it, versus spending an hour on hold. It is also in writing so that if someone tells you otherwise, you have a written record of it.


----------
Should I get a second undergraduate degree?
----------
No. In fact, hell no. The only time you should get a second undergraduate degree is when you do them at the same time, such as (Subject)/Education, or Math/Physics. Although the GI Bill will pay for it, VR&E will not because it's a dumb idea.

Even if you are drastically changing fields of study (like say, English -> Chemistry or Biology -> Economics) it is always, always better to just take whatever undergraduate classes are required to get accepted into a graduate program.


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Should I go to a Community College first and then transfer?
----------
Not unless you absolutely want to or you have to because of past academic performance (or lack of). There is a common misconception that community classes are easier, and thus are better to ease into the college environment as a veteran. A 100-level class is a 100-level class, regardless if it is being taught at Harvard or Big Bob's Community College. If you want to ease into college, take 4 classes (12 credit hours) worth of intro classes.

What will happen, unless you are extremely careful, is credits from a community college will not transfer over to your 4-year university. I've personally seen people with an associate's degree come to my school and have around 30 credits count.

The exception to this rule is what we call feeder schools. Generally you enroll in a specific community college for a specific degree that upon completion of their program automatically enrolls you into a specific four year institution.


----------
My grades were poo poo when I started college, now I want to go back. What are my options?
----------
If you want to go back to the same school, see if they have some sort of Fresh Start option. It generally allows you to keep your completed classes and wipe the GPA slate clean if you fall under a certain number of credits.

If you want to go to a different school, be aware that you are required to disclose that you attended another one and provide transcripts. That school must also be paid in full. It is an extremely bad thing if you hide this fact. Extremely bad.

Worst case, you have to pull 9-12 credits (so a full semester's worth) at some arbitrary GPA (typically 2.75+) at some community college to get accepted to a regular school. It's not the end of the world.


----------
What is the fastest way to get my degree?
----------
You can realistically get your 4-year degree in 3 years without giving up too much of your GPA. The problem lies in the fact that when you go from 5 classes to 6, things will likely get much more difficult for you. Going to 7 classes, which is the absolute max at most institutions, is for those with gigantic academic brass balls. Seriously, it is loving hard. My school even requires you to pay 200 dollars to sign up for a 7th class, we call it the idiot tax.

Doing 18 credit hour Fall/Spring semesters, with Winter/Summer classes when available, can get you out of school in three years. Your GI Bill will deplete pretty fast doing this, so make it count (ie: don't take one summer class if you can take two)


----------
What military credits will transfer over to my school?
----------
This is a common question that I deal with at work, and the answer is always the same: It varies wildly on the individual. I've seen people come in with 60 credits and I've seen people get credit for Public Health and Exercise Science for a total of 2 credits. My job (21B) got me absolutely fuckall except for health/gym.
Generally speaking if you have a technical job (as most Veteran goons seem to have) your odds are much higher that you will be getting credits. Us knuckle draggers are poo poo out of luck for the most part.


----------
What is the entire process, from start to finish in regards to my benefits?
----------
1) Veteran applies for benefits at http://gibill.va.gov
2) Veteran applies to school
3) Veteran is accepted to school
4) Veteran provides Certificate of Eligibility from the VA to the school's Certifying Official (me)
5) Certifying Official processes classes into VA-ONCE
6) Veteran gets paid
7) Veteran gets laid


----------
What does a Certifying Official do?
----------
Officially, all we do is put your information into VA-ONCE so the school/you get paid. Start time, end time, credit load, done. At many schools, this is handled by someone in the bursar's office.

Some schools have a full time Veteran rep that is a certifying official in addition to whatever else they might do. My school has a Veteran's Lounge, where dudes can take a loving nap, use the computers, print for free (my school charges 5c/page) and hang out. When Osama died we had 10-12 of us getting smashed in there. My campus is dry except for here. We also have around 550 Veterans out of a population of 13,500 so they tend to allow us to do whatever.


----------
I never collected my kicker / my kicker paperwork was never submitted. What do I do?
----------
This happened to me. The process is as follows:
1) Use the 'Ask a Question' feature on the VA website.
2) In your post, include copies of your kicker contract + enlistment contract as an attachment.
3) Wait 15ish business days
4) You will be backpaid what was due, and then all future semesters will have it.

Keep in mind that the process used to calculate the kicker is borderline financial sorcery so don't expect that 50,000 or 70,000 or whatever. There is a reason they say 'up to' in the recruiting lines.

Vasudus fucked around with this message at Jun 22, 2011 around 14:13

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Generally speaking exceptions can be made for most colleges. I just had a small victory a few weeks ago regarding one particular Veteran. Our MSW program has a strict, no poo poo cutoff of Jan 25th for the following fall semester. Dude calls me up from the korengal-motherfucking-valley on a DSN phone in mid May. He's getting back in August just in time to start the program but the secretary in the social work department is kicking him back.

I call the head of the department and a five minute conversation makes an exception to the no exceptions rule. Blammo.

This is why you need a vet rep at school.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Spongebob Tampax posted:

Quick question. I started classes under VR&E on May 31st and am wondering when I should expect my stipend check, roughly. End of the month, I take it? I called the veterans benefits hotline and sat on hold for what seemed like a decade before giving up on that route.

Yeah if you start classes on 31 May you will get paid on/around 30 June.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


SquirrelyPSU posted:

So what process would you generically see when petioning a denial of acceptance? Would you expect that it would tend to be university-specific?

Start with stating that you got denied (duh) and offer an acceptable rebuttal to the reasons why (they should tell you why). If your grades were poo poo from high school, and that was several years ago, give them a dose of patriotic horseshit about serving the country and bettering yourself since then. List various military accomplishments that may or may not be really that impressive, but sound impressive none the less.

Depending on the school and the reason you were denied, it shouldn't be too terrible. They expect most of their incoming students to be snot nosed teenagers and I bet you 99% of them are scared off immediately.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


An important thing to remember is that at most schools, the vet rep is someone who already has a full time job and happens to be the certifying official as an additional duty.

SquirrelyPSU posted:

I was more suggesting if you had knowledge of a typical process of rebuttal. Something along the lines of:

Denial Letter->Open Ended letter to admissions office/department of study/etc->Google to find dean of particular school etc...

Otherwise you would be looking at school policy set forth in writing, and then that would strike me as more of a formal school procedure (involving forms, etc) rather than an appeal to a member of the committee who are in charge of who gets in and who doesn't.

Denial letter -> written appeal to admissions board -> written appeal to president of the university is what the general process is here at my school. In regards to graduate programs, you would replace the admissions board with the chair of the respective department.

And yeah, I completely forgot the 'half of the national average' for online schools, instead of the actual national average. So it's ~700 not ~1600. Whoopsie. Post 9/11 is still better than MGIB with this change though, because you still get tuition/fees covered.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


gleep glop posted:

drat it so now I will be taking in school classes at my community instead of just their online program.

You could just take one class there and the rest online. Get a once a week class.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


HClChicken posted:

When did they change it that your initial training counted towards the 80-100 percent 9/11 benefits and not towards the <70 percent. I seem to remember that initial training counted in no situations.

It changes once you reach a certain point, around the 70% mark. Until then, it is active duty time not to include training. They do some funky math when calculating benefits, like how a single deployment for a reservist is 60% but a followup deployment takes them to 80%. I don't really like that.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Axium posted:

I contracted with a $63,036 Army College Fund option in December 07'. The payout details in the contract assume you are using the Ch30 MGIB. How does the payout differ when using Post 9/11? Have tried to research this but have found several conflicting answers and most still assume using the MGIB. Is the monthly payout just added onto my BAH? For that matter, what IS the monthly payout amount? VA seems to use some fuzzy math to determine this, just trying to get a solid answer.

Haha you and me both. I'm trying to collect my 50k ACF right now, something that I completely forgot about until 2 weeks ago.

The answer that I got from the VA is basically 'A wizard does it'. The DoD/DA are the ones who determine how much you get and when and the VA just writes the check for it. The math they use is not disclosed.

In my case, I'm due for a back payment of $dollars, which is either no dollars, very many dollars, or somewhere inbetween.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


HeyEng posted:

I'm looking at switching from AD to ANG with 10 years in at time of separation. How do my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits pay out in that situation? Is it the full 100% per my understanding of previous posts?

Yes, 3+ years of AD time is 100%. Good news is that at 10 years AD time, you can transfer your time to dependents if you so choose.


Cenen posted:

When I went through basic in October 09 they had us fill out the GI bill paperwork and I got this one nagging memory thats been bothering me for awhile. Now this may be me misremembering something but I could have sworn we were giving the option of choosing between the montgomery or the post 9/11. Now the thing is I don't remember which I chose and sometimes it actually keeps me up thinking I may have skipped out on the post 9/11 for just the montgomery.

There's a link on the Air force portal that actually lets you see documents like your enlisted contract and whatnot that have been scanned into the system and one of them is the paper that says you signed up for the GI Bill. Now the thing is this paper has my signature that I signed up for the GI Bill but doesn't say much beyond that.

Question: Any way to confirm which GI Bill I signed up for?

Or maybe they just lied/cocked up the presentation or I misremembered.

No you probably did sign up for the MGIB because the paperwork is likely old as gently caress. Good news though, you can switch over when it's time to use the benefits as easily as clicking a button.


And yes, as was answered already, you get 36 benefit months for you to use as you see fit. A month here, a year there, it doesn't matter.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Cenen posted:

Thank you so much for answering... I was worried since during the presentation they said we couldn't switch over and that we were stuck with whatever we had signed then and there for life. Its good to know I can just change it with a click of a button but how would I go about doing this or is it something I should only be more concerned about closer to the end?

Basically you go to gibill.va.gov, click on CH33 (Post 9/11) and you start the process for applying. After a few pages of the application you will have to relinquish any other GI bills that you are currently under, which is CH30 (MGIB). You complete the application and you get your certificate of eligibility as per normal in 2-4 weeks.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


CaptainBitchAlot posted:

Bit of a strange question: so after I have already done the whole CH33 thing and that's all set up, what if I applied to a different school (other than the one I put in my CH33 application) because I had a very stark realization on what exactly my interests are? Will the benefits package have to be reaccomplished?

No, what that does is give the VA data on where people want to go. Take your copy of your certificate of eligibility and keep it with you, and bring it to the new school that you want to go to. It's not a problem.

Spongebob Tampax posted:

This is something I've been curious about. I had 4 years active time, 3 of which went to SLRP, with a year to post-9/11. Since I'm in voc rehab, can I transfer my post 9/11 benefits to my wife for her grad school program? If so, can she use it while I'm receiving voc rehab?

Only if you had 10 years equivalent AD time. Reserves/guard are half time, with I think a minimum of 6 years AD. So you can do 10 years AD and get it, or 6 AD/8 reserves, or 8/4, etc. Not 100% sure on the minimum AD req, but it's 10 years total.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Got my Army College Fund (kicker) backpay finally today. 9k retroactive, and they owe me an additional 1700 when Fall 2011 starts.

I did a little jig, and I will update the OP on the process. Of getting the backpay, not of the jig. That was embarrassing and will never be repeated.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Kaliber posted:

I got a question for one of my best friends.

He got medically discharged from the Army when he got shot in his shoulder and gets about 80% disability. He tried to use his G.I bill to go to school but the VA said if he was to go to school or work his disability would go down to 30%. Is there any truth to that? And if there is, is there any way he can get around the system? Because right now he's pretty much hating life. All he does it drink himself stupid every single day because he has nothing better to do with his time/life. It's been a hassle for him fighting the VA to even get his 80% because he got out of the army with a purple heart, 20% mobility in his right arm, and 30% disability. Right now it seems like he just gave up on it and just content with drinking his life away.

Who what now? That's pretty much the exact opposite of how the process works, at least for school. There isn't a reason in the world he can't go to school on either the GI Bill or Vocational Rehabilitation. Hell, Voc Rehab people bend over backwards to make sure that you get turned into a more productive (or at least better educated) individual.


RichieHimself posted:

Question: Does the date on a certificate of eligibility matter? I got mine in 2008 before the IRR butt hosed my school plans and will be needing it in the Fall to start using my post 9/11 poo poo.

No, the date on the certificate is irrelevant so long as your GI Bill remained the same. If your percentage changed or you switched bills (from CH30/1606 -> CH33) you will need a new one, but time remaining in benefit months or the posting date of the certificate doesn't matter.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Kaliber posted:


Really? Cause the VA been giving him a hard time about it. He was telling me all he was able to do was the Voc Rehab. But that they only offered him lovely rear end jobs. He was dead set on going to school and they been telling him no. Not sure if the person he's working with is a piece of poo poo or what.

Yeah I don't even know where to begin. Someone over there has it in for him.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


HeyEng posted:

How quickly does the Post 9/11 dollars pay out to the school and to the veteran from the start of the process?

Assuming that you have your certificate of eligibility and DD214 provided, there is about a 5-7 business day delay from the moment the information is entered into VA-ONCE and the school gets paid. The veteran will get paid at the end of the benefit month.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Rrail posted:

Vasudus, off topic (kind of): Did you work for the VA at the school when the 9/11 bill first took effect in August 2009?

Yeah and it was a loving bastard. Hooooooly poo poo. Nothing like having ~190 vets, to include me, getting the shaft on paychecks for three loving months.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Move your discussion to the civ thread or something gents, I came home and saw the replies and thought there was something productive to be done.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


GD_American posted:

OK, so BAH.

I was taking 7 credit hours last semester, one online and one physically attended. I got the equivalent fraction of BAH (7/12ths).

Summer semester, I'm taking 6 credit hours, but apparently (according to our VA counselor, whose opinion I'm trusting less and less) 7 credit hours is full-time in summer, so I'm getting almost the whole deal.

When I go back to fall semester and do 6 credit hours, I understand that my payment will drop. But, according to my counselor, I have to physically attend at least one class to get the BAH payment. Is that true?

Yes. If you have 100% distance learning, before August 1st, you get absolutely nothing for BAH. After August 1st, assuming again 100% distance learning, you will get the national average of BAH which is ~673? I think a month.

Being 6CR in the fall/spring is half time. Distance Learning BAH = .50*~673. If you take at least one class brick & mortar, BAH = .50*BAH of your zip.

For accelerated classes under an 8, 5 or 3 week schedule, 3 credit hours is considered full time for the duration. I'm taking 9 credits over three sessions (3CR 5/31-6/30, 3CR 7/5-8/5, 3CR 8/8-8/19) so for the entire summer I am considered full time.

edit: fixed BAH rate. I need to stop saying national BAH average is a thousand bucks.

Vasudus fucked around with this message at Jun 28, 2011 around 22:34

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


GD_American posted:

That's E-5 with dependents rate, right?

poo poo, at my zip that's 1080/month. Enough to make it a wash between half that and half the national average. If so, I might as well take two online classes (so I don't lose two days of overtime a week).

This is what I get for not proofreading.

gibill.va.gov posted:

Housing allowance is now payable to students (other than those on active duty) enrolled solely in distance learning. The housing allowance payable is equal to ½ the national average BAH for an E-5 with dependents.
The full-time rate for an individual eligible at the 100% eligibility tier would be $673.50 for 2011.

Which is also effective October 1, not August 1. I don't know why the gently caress I keep thinking the national average BAH is about a thousand bucks, but this is like the tenth time I've confused it.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Roving Reporter posted:

If you plan to get a Masters, is it better to wait till your Post 9/11 is used up before switching to Rehab or should I switch this fall?

Basically, if I switch this fall, I don't know if Rehab will say "Sure...keep going all the way through your Masters" or if they will stop me once I'm done with my BS.

Maybe its better to use up Post 9/11, then apply?

You can apply for Voc Rehab and tell them that your goal is to get your Master's, because of <insert reasons why> and they will approve it.

For me, I plan on telling them that I'm done with my BS in December, my Post 9/11 time is used up about the same time, and I need them to get my MBA.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Spongebob Tampax is currently enrolled in Voc Rehab so he can hopefully explain his end of the deal. My interactions with Voc Rehab people on my end is basically people tell their Voc Rehab rep what it is they want to accomplish and why. If getting a Master's is necessary for that goal, so loving be it. Our Voc Rehab people don't care about what classes you're taking or why, so long as it is for the endgoal and you're making satisfactory academic progress.

I would imagine if you were trying to do something that runs counter to your disability you would meet at least some resistance. I haven't made my formal claim yet but I've spoken to my councilor and she asked if my PTSD was going to be a problem. I told her no and that was it, it never came up again.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


For-profit schools make me sick. Too many vets (or people in general) think that college is this mystical, impossible place that only kids that were way smarter than them in high school get to go to.

If you can rub enough brain cells together to properly fill out the paperwork, and have the willpower necessary, you will be successful in college. You might not be an academic superstar, but you can get your degree from a real place and not somewhere that isn't worth the paper the diploma is printed on.

Three years ago when I started school I had no idea that I would actually turn out to be a pretty good quantitative sociologist. Hell, I didn't even know what quantitative analysis was. Now I have two of my professors harassing me to go to graduate school and work under them.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


It's now July and there is absolutely no guidance from the VA on how to get people Post 9/11 BAH when they are on Voc Rehab. It is supposed to be payable 1 August.

Welp.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Kaleidoclops posted:

back in 2007 I made an incredibly terrible attempt at college and I didn't finish the entire Semester. So I decided to enlist and now I am attempting to get a hold of the VA rep at my former school. Unfortunately the woman who answers the phone is the same woman who I tried to get help from 3 years ago When I tried setting up monthly payments during my boot leave for my college debt I had from that failed attempt. I still owe about 5000 dollars so I imagine that before I even enroll, in any school, I have to pay off the debt that I had from my prior attempt. I am not sure if you have encountered this situation, but I can also see the school seeing the Post 9/11 as guaranteed $$$ and would be willing to work something out with the prior debt. I can see this being wishful thinking as well as something that may work. Any thoughts on this situation?

I have dealt with this sort of thing before, many times actually, and unfortunately there isn't a good solution. Vet or no, Post 9/11 or no, that debt has got to be cleared before any other school will accept you.

There is a possibility that you can work out some sort of deal with your school in regards to re-enrollment and paying off that debt. If you want to go to a different school, you're really in a bind and have to pay off that debt first. Under no circumstances should you lie to a new school, they will find out and the hammer they will drop is quite harsh.

My advice is to set up some sort of payment plan with them and get that debt cleared. Then you can take your transcripts and go somewhere else.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


HeyEng posted:

How picky, in your experience, are colleges on accepting credits to fulfill the transfer student reqs? I ask this because we have a guy who separated recently and he said that the college he applied to accepted only a handful of stuff from his transcripts.

Is this a budget thing? Like schools wanting to get more money from the GI Bill or something else entirely?

99% of colleges won't give you credit for classes that they do not teach themselves. I have an electrical mechanic submariner type Pokemon that I finally was able to get transcripts to the registrar for. He would have gotten upwards of 24 credits in electrical engineering courses - if my school had an EE program.

The most credits often enough come from the Navy, apparently their schools translate to college classes easier. Good friend of mine graduated this past spring due to the fact that he came in with 63 credits from the goddamn Navy schools he attended. He's a big fat jerk and I remind him of this often.

The same applies for non-military schooling as well. If they don't teach it at all, you can pretty much forget it. If you think something that was denied is close enough to something taught there, hopefully you can present a catalog entry or a syllabus or something. Appeals to individual departments vs. the admissions office can make all the difference in the world sometimes.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


HeyEng posted:

So basically find out the degree program, knock out the gen ed courses listed, and then send those transcripts in?

Hey, man, thanks for answering these questions. It's much appreciated.

Send the transcripts in immediately, there is no telling what they will count and it's better to be aware sooner rather than later. My school counted ANOC as a graduate level management course for a guy before.

Roving Reporter posted:

Well, based on your non-guidance from the VA, I decided I'm going to wait till at least January to apply for Voc-Rehab.

My guess is that it will be like the Post-9/11 transition IE a shitstorm.

Oh god, I hope not. The only reason I'm not worried as much is because I only have about three dozen Voc Rehabs to deal with, half of them qualify for Post 9/11 BAH. Unlike 2009, in which I had several hundred very angry vets switching to Post 9/11 from MGIB/REAP.


FooGoo posted:

60% Post 9/11 here, graduated last year.

-How do I find out how many months of benefits I still have leftover? Seems like an easy question but I could not get a straight answer from anyone.

-What are the rules regarding Post 9/11 and vocational schools? I'd like to take an EMT course which isn't attached to a college, will I run into trouble there?

Thanks.

You can either use the VA's 'Ask A Question' feature on their website (gibill.va.gov) or call them @ 1-888-442-4551.

As of October 1st the Post 9/11 bill will pay just about anything in the universe that is vaguely education related, to include EMT classes not at colleges.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Curtis of Nigeria posted:

I applied for financial aid, and I know nothing of that process as I have only used my 9/11 bill so far, but I have been approved successfully. How do I receive pell grants? Just contact my school's financial aid office?

Your school's office should contact you telling you that your aid package has been completed. You then (probably) go online and accept/decline the offers. You'll probably be paid in the first week of October.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


second best sponge posted:

I filled out my FAFSA for fall 2011 at community college and since last year I made $28k-ish I'm not eligible for any grants or whatever. I want to take out a low interest student loan so I can pay off my truck and motorcycle and not have any bills while I'm going to school.

First, is that even legal?

Second, do I go through my school to apply for a loan or do I have to apply with someone else?

Yeah FAFSA is bullshit if you aren't dirt poor (on paper) for the previous fiscal year. They tried to tell a friend of mine who has a combined household income of 76k that he has 25k disposable income he can spend towards school. This guy has a wife, three kids, a house and two cars. It would be lucky if he had 25 bucks of disposable income after that.

Your loans are issued by the federal government more than likely, you can get loans from other institutions if you wanted.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Rrail posted:

Yo Vasudus my dad just got 100% disability for his Parkinson's from the VA and they sent him some thing basically stating that I could go to school on some Disabled Vets Dependents Education Program or some poo poo which gives the GI Bill equivalent until I'm like 31 or something what up with that?

edit; you guys can start calling me dr. rrail

That would be Chapter 35, Survivors & Dependents Educational Assistance.

http://gibill.va.gov/benefits/other_programs/dea.html

You get paid 936/mo to go to school full time, for 36 benefit months. If you use that in conjunction with say, a tuition waiver from a state school, you can probably get a BA/BS on your dad's time and save yours for something like grad school or whatever. The payout isn't nearly as good, but hey, it's better than nothing.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Rrail posted:

It just so happens I get a tuition waiver in this state. Will there ever be a time when the free government money ends? Can I just suck the government teat for the rest of my life? I'm losing all ambition over here, my grip on my bootstraps is gettin' weak.

Not likely.

Most money to you immediately, least amount of work: Use your CH33 (Post 9/11) and get your bachelors. Spend the remaining time on probably a semester of grad school. Switch to CH35 when your CH33 runs out.

Smartest plan if you KNOW you're doing grad school: Use CH35/tuition waiver for about 12 benefit months of 35. Switch to 33 when you're probably in your second year of school, and ride 33 out the rest of the way to the end of grad school.

Remember you can only get a maximum of 48 months from any combination of bills, so it's better to use the full 36 of Post 9/11 for maximum payout. If you absolutely positively plan on going to grad school you have the rather rare opportunity to save quite a bit of money by using a bit of the CH35 and saving CH33 till the end.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


t_bright posted:

I recently got out of the military, filled out the 22-1990, and applied to a college in my city. How long is the wait time to stat getting your monies from when you first get accepted?

And another quick question: any FL goons have trouble getting their unemployment? i havent gotten a single cent from either my disability, unemployment, and now I'm worried the GI bill is gonna take forever. My savings are dwindling.

Filling out a 22-1990 vs. doing it online takes about the same time. You should get a certificate of eligibility somewhere between 2 to 4 weeks. Your GI Bill payments will start the end of the first month you start school, ie: end of September.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


I've got vets from all over the country that somehow end up in my school. Yellow Ribbon as of I think 1 August will cover out of school tuition fully, so there is literally nothing stopping you from going to school somewhere else if you're 100%. Honestly the only reason I'm back in CT for school was because Post 9/11 wasn't out yet and I couldn't swing it. I would totally have gone somewhere else.

And yeah, BAH is paid to the school's zip.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


second best sponge posted:

Anyone know how the VA scores hybrid classes? Want to sign up for one this fall (in class and online workload) but I don't want to be shorted on BAH.

Should be listed as being brick and mortar, so long as you have to go to campus at some point on a regular schedule.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


TheUnhorse posted:

Anyone here say gently caress it and just get a degree from excelsior?

No, because I actually need the classes.

If you *know* that you will never use anything from college, go for it I guess.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


TheUnhorse posted:

Yeah honestly all of the jobs I'm looking at seem to view a degree as "check the box" type of thing. I think I'm going to go for it.

It varies extensively depending on your career field. I'm trying to get into federal law enforcement and although my military experience is just about all I need, having a real-boy degree is pretty much required. If I go down my second choice of veteran's advocacy then I need to get my MSW. So I'm double hosed.

But if you're in one of those fields where OJT/whatever is 99.9% of your job and people just require a degree for shits, you might as well take the path of least resistance.

edit: To those who are on the fence between a for-profit diploma mill and a real school, go to a real school. Diploma mills are for career fields like the trades where a degree can be completely irrelevant to anything other than the above mentioned check in the box. Go to school.

Vasudus fucked around with this message at Jul 18, 2011 around 13:36

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


TheUnhorse posted:

What agencies are you applying to and what experience do you bring? I know a few dudes who got picked up by the FBI, one that got picked up by USSS, and another that went civilian side AFOSI, they were all rocking excelsior or umuc degrees, but all brought 4-5 years of humint/sigint/language experience with them.

Personally Id like to contract for a while, then go to either FBI or USSS. Maybe ICE but I noticed you don't need a TS right out the gate, not sure how I feel about that.

I'm looking into ICE or state department right now, but I'll take anything with an 1811 designation. I've got generic combat experience + expired TS + soon to be completed Sociology degree with a focus on quantitative analysis. And references out the rear end.

edit: changed 1801 to 1811. Though 1801 wouldn't be terrible I suppose.

Vasudus fucked around with this message at Jul 21, 2011 around 01:46

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


rockamiclikeavandal posted:

Vasudus do you know if there is a difference between eligible classes for the gi bill and voc rehab?

I am going back to get an engineering degree. I am starting at one school and planning to transfer to another after a year. The school I am starting at doesn't have the program I want. I am trying to take classes that would apply to my final school. These don't always align with the class road map for my declared major at the first school.

I am almost done with the voc rehab paperwork which I thought would be my best chance to have uncle sugar pay for this. I sent in the gi bill paperwork as a back up. Turns out that I do get 100% gi bill, so I thought I would just use that since I wouldn't have to answer to a counselor.

I talked to the VA office on campus and they told me that the gi bill will only cover classes that apply to my stated degree goal and they won't pay for any classes you retake, which I would love to do.

If I was to go in undeclared could I just take whatever I need? Does voc rehab have the same rules?

VA don't give a poo poo with the GI Bill. I've got vets coming to take our EMT class and disappear into the nether or some random seminar. I've got people that retake classes all the time. Sounds to me like your vet office is trying to scare you, which is understandable because many vets tend to abuse the GI Bill and not take the opportunity seriously.

Voc Rehab, on the other hand is pretty different as you know.

Rrail posted:

I'm in kind of a lovely situation with college now, due in no small part to my greed.

When I left last December, I was 1 quarter from finishing school and transferring (would have gone to the University of Washington; extremely competitive but Washington States junior college system has a transfer system in place and I was rocking a 3.8GPA). And then, as mentioned, I left. I have 0 options to finish distance, because that last quarter contains German II. 2 quarters of a foreign language are required to gain the transfer program "degree" or whatever you would call it. It's possible UW will accept me without finishing, but it is much less likely because they are really shifty (giving most of their spots to out of state students because they get way more tuition money; it's so bad that the state is threatening to take them to court). Additionally, having never taken the SAT, and having an uncompleted (no matter how high the GPA) associates, I can't very well just go to a major college elsewhere.

So my only options is to basically come back and live in Seattle, commuting the 45 minutes to my current campus so I can finish there, and then doing my year and a quarter or so at the UW Seattle campus before moving on to grad school somewhere. The problem is, I'm tired of Seattle. I don't like the women and there's very little to do outside of the good 3 months of the year. I'd love to live in NYC but I doubt NYU is letting me in given that situation, and I'd rather try to get into B School there. So I'm stuck in ugly city.

Oh well, I guess you take the good with the bad. At least instead of 10k in savings like after the military I'll have a few hundred thousand this time. The school should just let me buy a degree for 50k or something.

(This post is like the most Middle Class Problem thing ever. At least it's been cathartic.)

So you have ~57 credits with a 3.8 GPA? Sounds like you aren't as hosed as you believe. You don't have just about an associates, you have 57 credits. It's almost an associates at that school. You can totally go to another school anywhere you want as a transfer student.

I'm a semester away from my bachelors. I never got an associates.

Your options from what I see are as follows:
1) Commute to campus 45 minutes for a semester and end up getting your AA
1a) Transfer to UW
1b) Transfer elsewhere

2) Start trying to transfer now, possibly taking either the SAT or ACT depending on the school. Commute to campus in the meantime to continue working on option 1.

Transcripts and applications are cheap.

Vasudus
May 30, 2003


rockamiclikeavandal posted:

She said the only way the va would certify a class that I already have credit for would be to already be taking 12 hours of classes I need so that the retaken class is over 12. She said that once you're over 12 it doesn't matter. Or I can go get a letter from an academic adviser that says I need to take it. Then she told me that the office gets audited by the va and they have to cover their rear end. Seemed a rather convincing story. Does that sound right?

I think that I'll just go in as undeclared.

No it's correct, they're just a bunch of pussies. I've done quite a few audits and passed with flying colors. Sorry to hear that your office is scared of their own shadow.

And yeah, 12+ is billed out the same. We certify 12 credits always even if you're taking 15 or 18, because if you drop a class later but remain full time we don't have to change the certificate.

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Vasudus
May 30, 2003


Veins McGee posted:

What's the deal with break pay? Does it count against my total eligibility? Or is it BAH for a month, like December, in which I attended school for only part of the time?

How do I figure out how many months of benefits I have left? I looked on WAVE but it doesn't appear that the website updates for Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Break pay (called Interval Pay) is going away as of 1 August. Right now, you do like 13 days of class in a month, you get paid for the whole month and use 13 days of benefits. After 1 August, you do 13 days in a month you get paid for 13 days and use 13 days of benefits.

You can find out how much time you have exactly by either calling (1-888-442-4551) or using the 'Ask a Question' feature on the VA website. They'll tell you in benefit months/days as of the end of your current certificate.

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