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VA Education Benefits FAQ

What types of Veterans Administration (VA) Education benefits exist for students?

If you are a veteran and enrolled either full or part-time, you are eligible to receive educational assistance through the GI Bill®. VA education benefits are in one of these chapters:

  • Chapter 30 – Active duty service person
  • Chapter 31 – Vocational rehabilitation employment
  • Chapter 33 – Post 9/11
  • Chapter 35 – Veteran’s dependent (spouse, surviving spouse, or child)
  • Chapter 1606 – Active selective reservist or National Guardsperson

For a description of each chapter, go to the GI Bill website here.

How do I know if I qualify for benefits and what amount do I qualify for?

Veterans can call the Regional VA office in St. Louis at 1.888.GIBILL1 and speak with an education benefits counselor.

How do I apply for VA education benefits?

Students applying for GI benefits must first be accepted into a degree program at Western Dakota Tech.  Applications can be done online here: https://www.va.gov/education/how-to-apply/

When you are finished with the end of the application, print a copy and return it to a Western Dakota Tech VA School Certifying Official in the Western Dakota Tech Registrar Office.

How do I become eligible for VA education benefits?

You need to apply for benefits through the VA, which determines your eligibility. The Western Dakota Tech VA School Certifying Official has applications for most of the chapters, however the VA prefers you apply using VONAPP (https://www.va.gov/education/how-to-apply/.

When can I become certified for VA education benefits?

Once you are accepted and registered for classes at Western Dakota Tech, the VA School Certifying Official will certify you with the VA. If at any time before or during the semester your course load changes, you must notify the Registrar as soon as possible.

How much will I receive if I qualify for benefits?

The monthly benefit, if applicable to your chapter, that is paid to you is based on the type of training, length of service, chapter, and if you receive a ‘kicker’. The benefit payment rates can be found here. The Western Dakota Tech VA School Certifying Official is unable to give payment rates. Contact the regional VA Office at 1.888.GIBILL1 for your payment rate.

Student Responsibilities

  • You must be accepted in a degree program at Western Dakota Tech.
  • The VA does not pay for courses a student withdraws from unless the student has mitigating circumstances. If you withdraw from a course, you must contact the Western Dakota Tech VA School Certifying Official as soon as possible.
  • If you are repeating a course for a better grade (not because you failed the course), that class will not count in your certification for VA benefits. 
  • If you are changing your major/program, you need to inform the VA School Certifying Official. The VA requires that paperwork be completed in order to pay benefits for a different major/program.
  • Western Dakota Tech will not submit an enrollment certification to the VA until notified by the student to do so. Notification by student is done by completing the Veteran Benefit Declaration Form.
  • All students receiving Chapter 30 or 1606 benefits are required to verify their enrollment monthly to receive payments. Verification must be done on the last day of each month enrolled by either the Web Automated Verification of Enrollment (WAVE) application at https://www.gibill.va.gov/wave/index.do or by calling 1.877.823.2378 and following the prompts. Payment will not be processed until this verification is completed.
  • The VA takes up to 10-12 weeks to process an enrollment certification. Keep this in mind when applying for benefits. 
  • Register for your courses and notify your Western Dakota Tech VA School Certifying Official so an enrollment certification can be submitted to the regional VA processing center
  • When you receive your COE (Certificate of Eligibility) from the Department of Veteran Affairs, you must bring a copy to your Western Dakota Tech VA School Certifying Official.
  •  If you are a transfer student who has used the GI Bill at your previous school, obtain a “Change of Program or Place of Training” form from the Western Dakota Tech VA School Certifying official.

If you have any questions regarding the VA Benefit application process, contact the Western Dakota Tech VA School Certifying Officials at 605.718.2568.

As a service member or reservist, how do I complete the readmissions process if I am temporarily unable to attend class or have to suspend my studies due to service requirements?

Service members called to military service for a period of more than 30 consecutive days under a call or order to active duty of more than 30 consecutive days shall be readmitted to WDT under the same academic status as the service member had when last attending or when was last accepted for admission to WDT.

Military service is service in the armed forces, including service by a member of the National Guard or reserve on active duty, active duty for training, or full-time National Guard duty under federal authority. It does not include military service under state authority.

Upon notification of military service, the student must provide oral or written notification to the Registrar’s Office. The student must also give oral or written notification of the student’s intent to return to WDT to the Registrar’s Office within three years after the completion of the military service.

The Admissions Office will readmit the student to WDT into the next semester unless the service member requests a later date or unusual circumstances require WDT to admit the student at a later date.

WDT will readmit the student with the same academic status, which means the same program to which the student was last admitted, at the same enrollment status, with the same number of credit hours previously completed, and with the same academic standing unless the student chooses a different program or enrollment status.

If the student is readmitted to the same program, the student will be assessed the tuition and fee charges that the service member would have been assessed for the academic year the student left WDT.

The cumulative length of the absence for military service may not exceed five years.

Chapter 3 of the Federal Student Aid Handbook explains the readmissions process in further detail

How can I access my graduation requirements and timeline for graduation?

Each student, once enrolled in classes, can access their personalized advising worksheet in MyWDT to view the courses required for graduation and the timeline for completion. This timeline may need to be adjusted on an individual basis depending on the number of credits taken each semester, completed coursework, and semester(s) courses are offered. Students meet with their academic advisor each semester to review their progress, identify classes for upcoming semesters, and adjust graduation dates. To find directions on how to access your advising worksheet, log in to MyWDT at https://my.wdt.edu/ICS and click on the "How To" tab.

Who can I contact about certifying my enrollment?

The Registrar’s Office staff is authorized to submit VA education benefit enrollment certifications to the Department of Veteran Affairs. Please contact the Registrar’s Office at 605-718-2568 or registrar@wdt.edu with any questions.

What do I need to know about transfer credits?

The Registrar’s Office evaluates all official transcripts from other educational institutions, including the transfer of military credits, to determine transferability of courses in to the program you have selected. The Registrar’s Office works closely with Program Directors to evaluate technical courses for transfer. In order to fully evaluate a course, you may be asked to provide additional information such as a course description or a syllabus.

Upon completion of the evaluation, you can expect to receive an email to your student email account listing the courses approved for transfer in to your selected program. This process can take three to six weeks.

It is the student’s responsibility to submit official transcripts and any required documentation before engaging in a course you think may qualify for transfer credit. The Transfer Credit Policy #3002 contains detailed information about the eligibility of courses for transfer.

 *"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 at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill 

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