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Education and Training

Breaking News

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Important Announcement for GI Bill Students Attending ITT Educational Services, Inc.

The Department of Education (ED) announced today that they are imposing new and significant requirements on ITT Educational Services, Inc.’s (ITT) continued participation in Title IV, Higher Education Act (HEA) programs (i.e., federal student aid programs such as Pell Grants and Federal Direct Loans) that includes the GI Bill.

What did ED announce?

First, ED has placed ITT on what is known as, Heightened Cash Monitoring 2 (HCM2). It is the highest level of financial monitoring. Under HCM2 the named school will no longer receive Title IV funds from ED in advance. You can learn more about HCM2 and the restrictions it places on a school by visiting ED’s website.

Next, ED also announced it is requiring that ITT post an additional $150 million of “surety,” which means the school needs to put up cash or a letter of credit from a financial institution as an insurance policy with ED in case the institution’s financial situation worsens. You can learn more about what, why and when ED requires a letter of credit by visiting their website. According to ED, “the most common reason why an institution is required to remit a letter of credit is because they are not deemed financially responsible.”

Finally, in order for ITT to continue to receive Title IV funds, ED has required a number of reporting and operational requirements, such as restricting campuses from enrolling new Title IV students and requiring ITT to provide “teach-out agreements” – an arrangement that identifies other institutions where students can continue their education programs if that becomes necessary.

What is the Impact to GI Bill Benefits?

At this point ED’s actions do not directly affect GI Bill benefits. However, these actions do raise significant concerns about the financial viability of ITT. It’s important that students understand that if ITT goes out of business before they complete their education, they will not be able to use their GI Bill benefits to keep attending that school and under this scenario, a student would no longer be able to pursue a course of education at that school. Finding another school where a student can complete his or her educational objectives may take time as not every school offers the same programs as ITT. Also, it is not guaranteed that another school offering the program a student is pursuing will accept transfer credits from ITT.

Bottom line, while ED’s actions do not directly affect a student’s ability to use GI Bill benefits at ITT at this time, they should carefully consider the potential impact that ED’s actions may have on whether they can achieve their educational goals by continuing to attend ITT .

Please keep in mind that VA cannot restore GI Bill benefits used at ITT if for some reason ITT closes its doors before a student achieves his or her educational goals there.

What is VA doing?

First, VA is actively monitoring this situation and continues to work with ED to assess any further developments regarding ITT and any associated impact on our delivery of GI Bill benefits.

Next, we notified current ITT students directly, and reached out to prospective students by placing a caution flag for the affected institution on the GI Bill Comparison Tool. If a prospective student searches for “ITT” today he or she will notice a caution flag for Heightened Cash Monitoring and more. These caution flags are intended to alert potential students of a school’s status and encourage them to carefully consider the school’s status before enrolling in its education program. Technically, a caution flag means VA or other federal agencies like ED or the Department of Defense have applied increased regulatory or legal scrutiny or additional requirements to an education program.

As always, GI Bill students are free to contact our Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551 (Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. CST). While we cannot counsel GI Bill students on which school to attend and why, they are encouraged to call with any questions about GI Bill benefits and remaining entitlement. Also, please join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

VA Joint Symposium Meeting Minutes

August 18, 2016 1:45 PM

A symposium was held in early August to assist with opening the communication lines between government and service organizations, and to enhance the dialogue as to how to best protect the interests of our Veteran students. Meeting minutes can be found here.  

Updated Education Service (School Certifying Official) Webinar Slides Available

June 30, 2016 12:15 PM

The updated transcript of the June 2, 2016 Education Service Webinar is now available including answers to unanswered questions asked during the Webinar.

Yellow Ribbon Program Information Available for 2016-2017 Academic Year

June 29, 2016 3:15 PM

The Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program 2016 - 2017 list of participating schools and rates is now available.

Updated Information for Students Attending Ashford University Online

June 27, 2016 2:30 PM

This is the latest development in Ashford University’s approval for GI Bill benefits:

The short answer is the current ‘dilemma is averted for now and our GI Bill students can continue to attend Ashford until the California State Approving Agency makes a decision between now and the middle of September.

The longer answer is the Iowa State Approving Agency granted a stay of withdrawal for the next 90 days effective June 20, 2016, which pushes the June 30th withdrawal date to either September 18th, (90 calendar days from the date of the letter), or until the California State Approving Agency (CSAAVE) completes its review and issues a decision regarding the approval of Ashford in California – whichever is soonest.

What does this mean to you?

In our last post, we explained what would happen if the California State Approving Agency (CSAAVE) did not approve Ashford’s online programs before June 30, 2016 – that you would be able to finish any class beginning before June 30th but you would not be able to receive GI Bill benefits for classes beginning after that date.

The stay of withdrawal pushes the June 30th date to either September 18th, (90 calendar days from the date of the letter), or until the CSAAVE completes its review and issues a decision regarding the approval of Ashford in California – whichever is soonest.

What are the possible outcomes?

- If CSAAVE approves your online program at Ashford, your benefits will not be affected because of the transferal of approval from Iowa to California.

- If CSAAVE does not approve your online program at Ashford, you will receive benefits for any classes you are actively attending as of the date of the denial of program approval. This means that benefits may only continue for, in general, a maximum of five weeks for undergraduate classes and six weeks for graduate classes. VA will not be able to pay benefits for any class(es) that begin after the date of the denial of program approval, should that occur.

As always, you can call our Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551 (Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. CST) for any questions about your GI Bill benefits and remaining entitlement. You can also join the conversation on Facebook.

Updated Information for Students Attending Ashford University Online

June 13, 2016 11:15 AM

We continue to stay engaged with the California State Approving Agency (SAA) and Ashford regarding their application for program approval. As of yesterday, Ashford has submitted all the required documents to the California SAA. The California SAA is working hard and expeditiously to go through those documents to ensure due diligence is done and Ashford fully complies with the appropriate laws and regulations. We at VA have offered to provide whatever resources necessary to help the California SAA make an appropriate decision.

To reiterate, if Ashford University is not approved by the California SAA by June 30th, you will be able to finish any class you have started before that date and we will continue to process those benefits on your behalf. However, you will not be able to start any new classes after July 1st and use your GI Bill benefits. For example, if you begin a five-week class on June 27th, you will continue to receive GI Bill benefits until the conclusion of that course. If you begin another class on July 2nd, and the California SAA has not approved your program at Ashford for the GI Bill, then you will not receive education benefits for that class.

We remain committed to the best outcome for our GI Bill students. As any Veteran knows from their military service – it is important to hope for the best and plan for the worst. Here are a few helpful options:

- Our GI Bill Comparison Tool is a good place to start.

- Student Veterans of America is offering one-on-one assistance. With a network of over 1,400 student chapters at colleges and universities their staff can provide answers to your questions.

- The American Council on Education’s Military Guide is available for any questions you may have about earning school credit for your service.

You can call our Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551 (Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. CST) for any questions about your GI Bill benefits and remaining entitlement. You can also join the conversation on Facebook.

Education Service (School Certifying Official) Webinar Slides Available

June 9, 2016 1:00 PM

The transcript of the June 2, 2016 Education Service Webinar is now available. We will be answering some of the unanswered questions and including them in an updated version of the presentation.

Info for Students Attending Ashford University Online

June 6, 2016 7:35 AM

The Iowa State Approving Agency has informed VA that it is withdrawing Ashford University’s approval for GI Bill benefits on June 30, 2016, due to the planned closure of Ashford University's residential campus in Clinton, Iowa. This closure will affect Ashford University’s online courses as well.

Here’s what this means if you are attending or thinking of enrolling in Ashford University’s online courses:

- Ashford University has applied for approval from the California State Approving Agency, as the university’s main campus is located in San Diego.

- If the California State Approving Agency approves Ashford University’s online programs before June 30, your benefits won’t be affected.

- If the online programs are not approved before July 1, 2016, you will be able to finish any term beginning before June 30, but you won’t receive benefits (that means housing, tuition, books/supplies stipend) for any future enrollments until the programs are approved by the California State Approving Agency.

Ashford University is working with the California State Approving Agency to prevent any disruption in the delivery of benefits to our student Veterans and eligible dependents.

We will provide you with updates and approval status of Ashford University’s online programs as additional information becomes available. We will post new information we receive here and on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/gibillEducation). If you have questions, we will answer in the comments, and our Call Center is also available to address your concerns at 1-888-442-4551.


Yellow Ribbon Program Open Season for School Participation Ends May 15

May 12, 2016 2:45 PM

March 15 to May 15, 2016 is the open season for the Yellow Ribbon Program for the 2016-17 academic year. Schools may apply for initial participation, modify existing open-ended agreements, take no action and continue to honor the terms of existing open-ended agreements, or withdraw from the Yellow Ribbon Program. Please see the Yellow Ribbon Program home page for more information.


Updated Education Service (School Certifying Official) Webinar Slides Available

March 17, 2016 11:00 AM

The updated transcript of the February 17, 2016 Education Service Webinar is now available including answers to unanswered questions asked during the Webinar.


Yellow Ribbon Program Open Season

March 15, 2016 7:55 AM

From March 15 to May 15, 2016 we are accepting new Yellow Ribbon Program agreements, modifications to existing open-ended agreements, or withdrawal from participation. See our Yellow Ribbon Program schools web page for instructions and forms.


New Post-9/11 GI Bill Rates Published

March 14, 2016 2:00 PM

The tuition and fee, Monthly Housing Allowance, and distance learning rates under the Post-9/11 GI Bill for academic year 2016-2017 are now available on our Rate Tables Page.


Veteran Outcome Measures - UPDATED

March 4, 2016 3:30 PM

Outcome measures school data can now be accessed directly from the GI Bill Comparison Tool. Search by school to see their reported data or you can click on the “Download Data on All Schools” link while accessing the Comparison Tool. The About this Tool page provides comprehensive “What You Should Know” information about this data to help you choose an education program and school that is right for you. Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Education, and Department of Defense developed and published these outcome measures which are designed to provide Veteran-specific information on approved programs of education.


Education Service (School Certifying Official) Webinar Slides Available

February 18, 2016 2:00 PM

The transcript of the February 17, 2016 Education Service Webinar is now available. We will be answering some of the unanswered questions and including them in an updated version of the presentation.


Pat Tillman Military Scholarship Now Accepting Applications

February 3, 2016 10:00 AM

The Pat Tillman Foundation is pleased to announce the opening of the annual application process for the Tillman Military Scholarship. As a supplement to the Post 9-11 GI Bill, the scholarship covers direct study-related expenses, including tuition and fees, books and living stipend, for eligible service members, veterans or military spouses who are pursuing undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate degrees as full-time students at a public or private, US-based accredited institution. The application for the 2016-2017 academic year will remain open until Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 11:59:59 EST at http://pattillmanfoundation.org/apply-to-be-a-scholar/.


Institutions of Higher Learning (IHLs) with Contracted Flight Programs Webinar Slides Are Available

January 13, 2016 12:55PM

The transcript of the December 14, 2015 IHLs with Contracted Flight Programs Webinar is now available.


GI Bill Resident Rate Requirements

December 9, 2015 11:10AM

All states and territories are now compliant with the GI Bill Resident Rate Requirements, Section 702 of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014. Check out our website to see if you qualify as a covered individual and to learn how to take steps if you believe your school has incorrectly charged you.  You can call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) or go to the GI Bill Comparison Tool and research your school to learn more about this program and to see if your school is eligible.


Check Out Our New Choosing A School Guide!

October 29, 2015 5:00PM

The new version includes information about the different types of degrees/programs that you can use with the GI Bill, the importance of school accreditation, and much more valuable information to help you make the right decisions on where to use your hard earned benefits!

See it here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/docs/factsheets/Choosing_a_School.pdf


Updated Education Service (School Certifying Official) Webinar Slides Available

October 28, 2015 9:05 AM

The updated transcript of the September 16, 2015 Education Service Webinar is now available including answers to unanswered questions asked during the Webinar.


New Policy for Mitigating Circumstances Begins November 15, 2015

October 22, 2015 11:00AM

Beginning November 15, 2015, VA will require students using the Post-9/11 GI Bill to provide mitigating circumstances when they withdraw from or drop a course after the drop/add period and receive a non-punitive grade.

Acceptable mitigating circumstances must be provided in order to pay benefits for the period of attendance prior to the drop date. If they are not provided and accepted, any benefits paid from the beginning date of the term will be considered an overpayment, and a debt may be established.

If you've dropped classes after the drop/add period or had to stop attending and received a grade that isn't factored into your Grade Point Average, chances are the term "mitigating circumstances" was mentioned in a letter we sent you. So what are "mitigating circumstances" and why should you care?

To learn more, read our Mitigating Circumstances FAQs


Statement about University of Phoenix Probation Status with DoD

October 9, 2015 4:30PM

The recent actions taken by the Department of Defense (DoD) do not have an immediate effect on GI Bill beneficiaries attending University of Phoenix (UoP) schools. GI Bill payments for those enrolled in an approved UoP program are not impacted. VA is working with our DoD and State Approving Agency partners to further evaluate any potential impact to UoP's GI Bill approval and their status as a Principles of Excellence participant. We encourage everyone to use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to compare eligible colleges and universities based on affordability and value.


Veteran Outcome Measures

September 29, 2015 3:15PM

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Education (ED), and Department of Defense (DoD) have developed and published outcome measures that are designed to provide Veteran-specific information on approved programs of education.

See our Outcome Measures website for more information.


New Rates Published

September 29, 2015 2:15 PM

The maximum tuition and fee amounts for the Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty, Montgomery GI Bill - Selected Reserve, REAP, and Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program are now available on the Rate Tables Page.


Education Service (School Certifying Official) Webinar Slides Available

September 18, 2015 2:45 PM

The transcript of the September 16, 2015 Education Service Webinar is now available. We will be answering some of the unanswered questions and including them in an updated version of the presentation.


Release of the Revised School Certifying Official (SCO) Handbook

September 18, 2015 11:30 AM

Education Service is pleased to announce the release of the fifth edition of the School Certifying Official Handbook. The Handbook has been revised to include additional information and updates suggested by School Certifying Officials through their Education Liaison Representatives. A list of revisions can be found on page 8 of the handbook, which can be accessed and/or printed from the “School Training and Information Recourses” page of the GI Bill website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/school_training_resources.asp


Department of Education - College Scorecard

September 18, 2015 7:50 AM

Are you, or someone you know, about to choose a college? If so, check out the newly revised College Scorecard from the U.S. Department of Education (ED)! President Obama announced ED’s College Scorecard on Saturday.

“Everyone should be able to find clear, reliable, open data on college affordability and value,” the President said. “Many existing college rankings reward schools for spending more money and rejecting more students -- at a time when America needs our colleges to focus on affordability and supporting all students who enroll.”

The College Scorecard has been revamped to provide unbiased information to help students make informed college choices. Improvements were made based on direct input from students, their families, and their advisers. Information includes average annual cost, graduation rate, average salary for a graduate, student body demographics, typical debt amount, test scores, and more. Finally, the College Scorecard features our GI Bill Comparison Tool as the official companion tool to research approved GI Bill programs and calculate your benefits!

Visit College Scorecard today at http://collegescorecard.ed.gov/


Updated Education Service (School Certifying Official) Webinar Slides Available

July 22, 2015 8:30 AM

The updated transcript of the June 17, 2015 Education Service Webinar is now available including answers to unanswered questions asked during the Webinar.


New Rates Published

July 21, 2015 3:09 PM

The new tuition and fee, Monthly Housing Allowance, and distance learning rates for academic year 2015 - 2016 under the Post-9/11 GI Bill are now available on our Rate Tables page.


GI Bill Survey

July 21, 2015 9:30 AM

More Information Letters/emails have been sent to a randomly selected group of GI Bill beneficiaries requesting their participation in a survey related to VA education benefits. The first wave of correspondence went out in early July and subsequent surveys will follow. The survey will allow us to identify areas for improvement in regards to our administration of education benefits. For more information please visit our GI Bill Survey website.


Yellow Ribbon Program Information Available For 2015 - 2016 Academic Year

July 9, 2015 9:05 AM

The Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program 2015 – 2016 list of participating schools and rates is now available.


Education Service (School Certifying Official) Webinar Slides Available

June 26, 2015 11:45 AM

The transcript of the June 17, 2015 Education Service Webinar is now available. We will be answering some of the unanswered questions and including them in an updated version of the presentation.


Secretary Waives Provisions of the Choice Act for Approved Programs through December 2015

May 15, 2015 10:50 AM

The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 changed the way Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) serves Veterans and their families. One section of that legislation requires VA to disapprove programs of education for payment of benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill® and the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty programs at public institutions of higher learning if a school charges certain individuals tuition and fees in excess of the resident rate for terms beginning after July 1, 2015.

VA is working to help states and territories comply with the law. Realizing the impact that a program’s disapproval would have on GI Bill students already enrolled, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has used his authority to waive the provisions of Section 702 of the Choice Act as to programs that are not in compliance for terms beginning prior to January 1, 2016, allowing additional time for states and territories to make the necessary changes, while making sure Veterans’ education benefits continue uninterrupted.

To help with your educational planning and provide transparency, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has requested that states and territories not already in compliance submit their plans for compliance by June 15, 2015.

Please check this website and our Facebook page for status updates. We also encourage you to contact your School Certifying Official for more information regarding your school’s compliance with this new law.


Corinthian College Students - What You Should Know

April 30, 2015 3:05 PM

As of Monday April 27th, Corinthian Colleges (the parent company for Heald College, Everest College, WyoTech, and Everest College Phoenix) has closed, discontinuing instruction at all of their branches. Campuses closed include Corinthian’s 13 remaining Everest and WyoTech campuses in California, Everest College Phoenix and Everest Online Tempe in Arizona, the Everest Institute in New York, and 150-year-old Heald College–including its 10 locations in California, one in Hawaii and one in Oregon. Everest College and WyoTech campuses that were previously sold to Zenith are not affected by the announcement and will remain open. See the letter to the students.

How will I continue school? Corinthian is attempting to work with other schools to provide continuing educational opportunities for all displaced students. Corinthian will be hosting meetings at their facilities for students to learn about options for continuing their education. Information regarding the closure, and the meetings, can be found on http://www.cci.edu/update.php.

I was using GI Bill benefits; will I be responsible for paying any money back? No debts will be created against students because of the school closure. You will only have to repay benefits if you dropped one or more classes prior to the date on which the school closed.

What happens to the entitlement I used at this school? Unfortunately, there are no provisions in the law that would allow VA to restore entitlement that has been used attending one of the schools.

Carefully consider where you go to school. Please visit the GI Bill Comparison Tool to find an approved program of education to use the GI Bill. If you have Federal student loans be sure to utilize studentaid.ed.gov as a resource to plan your next step

We will continue to monitor the situation and post updates on this page as appropriate. We advise all students that attended these schools to attend the informational sessions, if possible, to find out more about continuing your education. You may be contacted by a VA representative in the coming days.


Letter to Institutions of Higher Learning Regarding Student Outcome Measures Posted

April 14, 2015 2:35 PM

Information regarding VA's collection of student outcome measures from the Under Secretary for Benefits, Allison Hickey, was been posted on our School Resources page. Please click here and view the document under "Informational Letters".


Education Service (School Certifying Official) Webinar Slides Available

April 9, 2015 1:15 PM

The transcript of the March 26, 2015 Education Service Webinar is now available online. Click here to view the presentation. We will be answering some of the unanswered questions and will amend the presentation once that is complete.


Yellow Ribbon Program Season Now Open!

March 16, 2015 8:15 AM

March 15 to May 15, 2015 is the period VA will accept new Yellow Ribbon Program agreements, modifications to existing open-ended agreements, or withdrawal from participation. See the Yellow Ribbon webpage for instructions and forms.


Open Season for the Yellow Ribbon Program

March 5, 2015 11:10 AM

The open season for the Yellow Ribbon Program will take place from March 15 through May 15, 2015. Schools may apply for participation, modify existing agreements, or withdraw from the program. More information will be posted at that time on the Yellow Ribbon webpage for schools.


Revised School Certifying Official Handbook Released

February 11, 2015 1:10 PM

A revised version of the School Certifying Official Handbook is available for use. The revisions address the expansion of the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship to eligible surviving spouses and modifications regarding the use of Tuition Assistance for Chapter 1606 and 1607 benefits. Additional information on the revisions may be found on page 7 of the handbook. Access the SCO Handbook by clicking here.


Pat Tillman Military Scholarship Now Accepting Applications

February 3, 2015 12:50 PM

The Pat Tillman Foundation is pleased to announce the opening of the annual application process for the Tillman Military Scholarship. As a supplement to the Post 9-11 GI Bill, the scholarship covers direct study-related expenses, including tuition and fees, books and living stipend, for eligible service members, veterans or military spouses who are pursuing undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate degrees as full-time students at a public or private, US-based accredited institution. The application for the 2015-2016 academic year will remain open until Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 11:59:59 EST at http://pattillmanfoundation.org/apply-to-be-a-scholar/.


School Certifying Official Webinar Transcript Available

December 22, 2014 10:15 AM

The transcript of the December 3, 2014 School Certifying Official Webinar is now available online. Click here to view the transcript.


VA Now Accepting Fry Scholarship Applications from Eligible Surviving Spouses 

November 7, 2014 3:59 PM

VA is accepting applications for the Fry Scholarship from surviving spouses of Servicemembers who died on active duty after September 10, 2001. Review this fact sheet to find out if you may be eligible for this benefit. To apply for the Fry Scholarship, complete this application. Submit your application by mailing the completed form to the Regional Processing Office for the state where your school is located (addresses found here), or by emailing the completed PDF application form through our secure email system. Click here to create an account in our email system. You will be able to use your account to send the PDF application form to a customer service representative for processing.


Fry Scholarship Program Expansion

October 22, 2014 3:05 PM

The Fry Scholarship Program will expand to include surviving spouses of those who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001. Click here for more information.


New Rates Published

August 15, 2014 3:55 PM

The maximum Tuition & Fee amounts and Monthly Housing Rates for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the basic monthly rates for the Montgomery GI Bill, REAP, and Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program are now available on the Rate Tables page.


8 Keys to Veterans' Success

July 16, 2014 2:55 PM

The “8 Keys to Veterans’ Success” (8 Keys) are a voluntary initiative through the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Education. They highlight specific ways that colleges and universities can support veterans as they pursue their education and employment goals.

Click here for the letter from Allison A. Hickey, Under Secretary of Benefits, Department of Veterans Affairs and Ted Mitchell, Under Secretary, Department of Education, encouraging institutions of higher education to affirm support for the 8 Keys to Veterans' Success.


Yellow Ribbon Program Information Now Available For 2014 - 2015 School Year

May 29, 2014 2:22 PM

The list of schools participating in the Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program for the 2014 - 2015 school year is now available. Please click here for more information.


Reminder to Students and School Certifying Officials

May 21, 2014 9:55 AM

Requests for copies of student eligibility documentation, i.e. Certificates of Eligibility, Award Letters, etc. must be made in writing by using the “Submit A Question” feature of our website, through postal mail, or facsimile. No verbal requests for documentation can be accepted for security reasons.