Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, D.C. 20420
M22-4, Part IV
October 15, 2007
Part IV, "Claims Processing—Award Issues," Veterans Benefits Administration Manual M22-4, "Education Procedures," is changed as follows:
Paragraph 1.02a is updated to indicate what forms are considered enrollment certifications. It clarifies that schools must report enrollments without delay with one exception for certain independent study courses.
Paragraph 1.02b deletes the requirement to control the case for receipt of an enrollment certification if a verbal certification is received from a school official. E-mails from school officials must be submitted through RightNowWeb.
Paragraph 1.03 now refers the reader to chapter 4 for change of program procedures. An individual must request a change of program but not a change of school. This change continues the policy announced in RPO letter 22-99-24, paragraph 4c which is rescinded. The policy advisory dated March 6, 2003 is also rescinded.
Paragraph 1.04 now shows that the procedures for temporary changes of school are moved to paragraph 1.09.
Paragraph 1.06a is revised to remove requirements to use the telephone to obtain information from schools. This change continues the policy announced in RPO letter 22-99-24, paragraph 4 which is rescinded. Station management may determine the appropriate method needed to obtain information. Use of email to contact schools is not acceptable unless security requirements are met. Schools may use RightNowWeb to submit information to VA.
Paragraph 1.08a gives RPOs
discretion regarding notice to schools when benefits will not be paid for individual
cases. RPO letter 22-07-01, attachment A, paragraph 7 is rescinded.
Paragraph 1.08b deletes the requirement to control the case for receipt of a notice of change of status if a verbal certification as to change of status is received from a school official.
Paragraph 1.08c deletes the requirement to send an application to the claimant if the RPO receives an enrollment certification from the school without an application. Such enrollment certifications may be filed without action.
Paragraph 1.09 updates the procedures which apply to supplemental enrollment. Subparagraph a is updated to show that the RPO having jurisdiction over the primary school will retain jurisdiction over any education award action(s). Paragraph 1.09b(3) deletes the requirement that an instructor at a contract school or entity must not be a full-time faculty member of the primary school. Paragraph 1.09d is updated to provide that a supplemental school may certify that it has the necessary "parent school letter" on file for concurrent enrollments. RPO letter 22-07-01, attachment A, paragraph 2 is rescinded.
Paragraph 1.10b is updated to require schools to certify the beginning and ending dates of each term the student is enrolled in. The previous policy permitted schools to certify multiple terms as one enrollment in some instances. The policy advisory dated October 4, 2007 is rescinded.
Paragraph 1.11 is updated to include a NOTE that rounding out of terms is allowable for NCD (Non-College Degree) schools operating on a term, block or unit basis.
Paragraph 1.15 includes a note that the procedures for monitoring prior credit reports on enrollment certifications apply only to non-accredited schools. The policy advisory dated June 15, 2007 is rescinded. A note is added that VCEs still must develop for possible change of program in accordance with chapter 4.
Paragraph 1.15a(2) clarifies
that the change of program issue should be developed separately from the prior
credit issue. It is not necessary to review for possible change of program
based solely on a prior credit report. RPO letter 22-07-01, attachment
C, paragraph 4 is rescinded.
Paragraph 1.15b(1)(b), Note clarifies when development is required in cases where the school reports prior credit is Pending.
Paragraph 1.16b is reorganized. It clarifies that VCEs should review calendar data in WEAMS to verify enrollment dates except for courses certified by IHLs that have been exempted from approval review.
Paragraph 1.16c provides a new policy based on an RPO recommendation. VCEs will no longer examine the length of NCD programs as certified by schools. The policy advisory dated September 18, 2007 is rescinded.
Paragraph 1.16Ab clarifies how the commencement rules are to be interpreted. The rule that VA can pay no earlier than one year before the date of claim applies only to initial entry into a program of education or entry into a a new program which is a "change of program" in the legal sense. The one-year rule would not apply to reentry in the same program or to a change of major which does not constitute a change of program. The examples are updated.
Paragraph 1.22 is updated
to address requests for accelerated payment.
Paragraphs 1.25e and f are updated to clarify when the first 6-month rate is payable and when the second or subsequent 6-month steps are payable for OJT or apprenticeship awards. The policy advisory dated June 17, 2005 is rescinded.
Paragraphs 1.26 clarifies when the school certifying the enrollment should also provide a separate address of a contractor or branch location and what the VCE must do.
Paragraph 1.27a revises and simplifies the confirmed enrollment procedures. RPO letter 22-07-1, attachment B, paragraph 2 and 3 are rescinded. Confirmation of enrollment is no longer required. Subparagraph b updates procedures for schools to delay reporting enrollments for independent study pursued at less than 1/2 time. Subparagraph c clarifies that faxed paper enrollment certification forms are acceptable.
Paragraph 1.29 lists all the terms used for non-matriculation.
Paragraphs 1.30 and 1.33 are reserved for future use.
Paragraph 1.34 is updated to clarify the certifications needed when a student is not matriculated and two schools are involved.
Numerous editorial changes have been made throughout. Brackets [ ] have not been used to identify new or revised material.
Rescissions: M22-4, part IV, changes 18 and 19.
By Direction of the Under Secretary for Benefits
Keith M. Wilson
Director, Education Service
Distribution: Printed Distribution: NONE
(Electronic Distribution only)
Subchapter 1. General
1.02 Requirement for Enrollment Certification
1.03 Change of Program or Place of Training
1.04 Temporary Change of School
1.05 Review of Course Approval Data
1.06 Enrollment Certification Incomplete or Requires Clarification
1.07 Certification Not Obtainable From School Officials
1.08 School Notification Issues - Benefits Denied or Not Claimed
1.09 Supplemental Enrollment
1.10 Enrollment Period Certified
1.11 Rounding Out of Terms
Subchapter 2. Specific Entries on Enrollment Certification
1.12 Identifying Data
1.13 Type of Training
1.14 Name of Program
1.15 Credit for Prior Training
1.16 Enrollment Effective Dates
1.16A Commencing Date Rules
1.17 Credit Hour Courses
1.18 Clock Hour Courses
1.19 Charges for Period of Instruction
1.20 Training Time for Graduate or Advanced Professional Courses
1.21 Additional Information for Non-Degree Courses and Farm Co-op Courses
1.22 Advance Payment and Accelerated Payments Request
1.23 Vocational Flight Training
1.24 Correspondence Course
1.25 Apprenticeship/On-the-Job Training
1.26 Name and Address of Contract School or Branch Location
1.27 School Official's Certification of Enrollment Data
Subchapter 3. Non-matriculation
1.28 Requirement for Matriculation
1.29 Terms Relating to Non-matriculation
1.31 Open-Ended Programs Under 38 CFR 21.4252(l)(2)
1.32 Transfer Programs Under 38 CFR 21.4252(l)(3)
1.34 Processing Enrollments for Non-Matriculated Students
1.01 Prior Chapter 30 Commencement Date Regulation
SUBCHAPTER I. GENERAL
This chapter and other chapters in this part give procedures for processing enrollment certifications.
a. Topics in This Chapter:
(1) Subchapter I covers general procedures for handling enrollment certifications.
(2) Subchapter II covers the enrollment certification form block by block.
(3) Subchapter III covers the issue of non-matriculation.
b. Topics in Part IV. Other chapters in part IV address additional issues that may arise in processing enrollment certifications:
(1) Chapter 2 -- information on flight and correspondence training.
(2) Chapter 3 -- duplication of benefits.
(3) Chapter 4 -- procedures for handling changes of program.
(4) Chapter 5 -- procedures for handling unsatisfactory progress or conduct.
(5) Chapter 6 -- measurement of college degree courses.
(6) Chapter 7 -- other measurement issues.
(7) Chapter 8 -- interval payment.
(8) Chapter 9 -- dependency procedures.
(9) Chapter 10 -- procedures for advance payments and special payments.
(10) Chapter 11 -- procedures for reduction and termination of payment.
(11) Chapter 12 -- out-of-system award processing.
(12) Chapter 13 -- miscellaneous award processing issues.
(13) Chapter 14 -- codes tables.
c. Related Issues in Other Parts. The following manual chapters also cover topics related to processing enrollment certifications:
(1) Part II, chapter 7 -- the text of BDN development letters.
(2) Part III, chapter 1 -- general information on claims processing.
(3) Part III, chapter 6 -- criteria for acceptable programs of education.
(4) Part III, chapter 7 -- restrictions on training.
a. Requirement for Enrollment Certification
(1) Without Delay. With the exception of certain independent study courses (see par. 1.27b), schools must report enrollments to VA without delay (38 CFR 21.4203(a)).
(2) Means of Submission. VA Form 22-1999, Enrollment Certification, is designed for schools to make the required certification. Schools may also use the VA Online Certification of Enrollment (VA‑ONCE) system to report enrollments. The term "enrollment certification" as used in this chapter refers to either the paper version of VA Form 22-1999 or the VA-ONCE version which is VA Form 22-1999-6.
NOTE: Schools should submit Enrollment Certifications for students under chapters 30, 32, and 35 of title 38, U.S. Code; chapters 1606 and 1607 of title 10, U.S. Code; sections 901 and 903 of Public Law 96-342; the Antiterrorism Act of 1986; and the National Call to Service (NCS). Schools should not submit enrollment certifications for persons claiming the Tuition Assistance Top-up benefit (see Circular 22-01-01, appendix D for Top-up procedures).
(3) Required for Payment. Generally, enrollment certifications must be in the claimant's electronic folder, The Imaging Management System (TIMS), before education benefits can be awarded.
b. Award of Benefits Without Enrollment Certification. Award benefits before the receipt of an enrollment certification ONLY in the following situations:
(1) Verbal Certification From School Official. Document verbal certifications in all cases. Advise the school’s certifying official that VA only accepts verbal certification for payment in cases involving hardship or if the award action by the Regional Processing Office (RPO) has been unusually delayed for some reason. The school's certifying official should submit a paper or electronic enrollment certification to VA.
NOTE: Schools should not submit regular e-mail inquiries concerning enrollments, as these will almost certainly include sensitive information; regular e-mail is not secure. Schools should submit information using the RightNowWeb feature of the GI Bill web site, submitting this information through the school's account.
(2) Claimant's Statement. If an enrollment certification is not obtainable, award benefits based on alternative evidence as outlined in paragraph 1.07 below.
Go to Top
a. Change of Place of Training. The claimant does not need to request a change of school. The RPOs may process an enrollment certification from a new school as long as a change of program is not involved.
of Program. The claimant must
request a change of program in all cases. For change of program procedures,
see chapter 4. For procedures
for requesting a change of programs, see paragraph
Consider temporary changes of school as a form of supplemental enrollment. See supplemental enrollment procedures in paragraph 1.09.
See part III, paragraph 6.05. Always verify course approval data for original programs of education and for changes of program.
An enrollment certification may be incomplete or may require clarification. Procedures for obtaining information are outlined below.
for Information. Request the necessary information from the
school’s certifying official. Each RPO may determine
the appropriate method of requesting information, e.g., telephone, fax, letter,
or email. However,
the RPO should not use e-mail to request this information unless security requirements
are met. Keep the claimant informed of any reasons for any significant delay
in processing an award. Set or
continue appropriate controls.
NOTE: Schools should not submit regular e-mail inquiries concerning enrollments, as these will almost certainly include sensitive information; regular e-mail is not secure. Schools should submit inquiries on individual cases using the RightNowWeb feature of the GI Bill web site, submitting this information through the school's account.
b. Setting Up Controls. There are two types of BDN controls that may be established for receipt of information: pending issue control and future diary control. See part III, paragraphs 1.22 and 1.23 for complete descriptions of each type of control.
(1) If award action must be delayed pending receipt of additional information, establish or continue an appropriate End Product (EP) control.
(2) If the award
is processed but additional or clarifying information is also needed, establish
a future diary control.
(3) Expiration of the Control Period
(a) If the pending EP matures and the requested information has not been received, see subparagraph c for necessary follow-up procedures. If the school or claimant requests additional time in which to submit the information, the control period may be extended for 30 days. Additional 30-day extensions may be allowed if the school or claimant provides sufficient justification.
(b) If the future diary matures and the
requested information (e.g., prior credit or conversion of an "I" grade) is
necessary for a current or future award action, see subparagraph
c for the
necessary follow-up procedures.
c. Follow-up Requests to School. If the information requested does not arrive before the control period expires, follow up with a letter or by telephone. Inform the Education Liaison Representative (ELR) if a particular school or training facility requires repetitive calls. A personal visit to the facility may prevent future difficulties.
A claimant who is entitled to benefits for pursuit of an approved course of education or training may be unable to obtain required school certifications. The school may have ceased operation, and school officials may be unavailable or unable to provide the certification information. While it is the claimant's responsibility to obtain necessary certifications, VA should assist in any way possible.
a. Documentation of Claim. When the claimant cannot get the proper officials to send certifications, he or she should submit documentation to VA. The documents may be those in his or her possession or may be extracted from existing school records. They should support enrollment in and pursuit of the claimant's course or training. The documents may consist of tuition payment receipts, course notes, returned work assignments, statements of progress, attendance records, salary payment vouchers, earnings and leave statements, flight logbooks, etc. Also, consider affidavits of those having a firsthand knowledge of the student's enrollment and pursuit.
b. Acceptance of Student's Certification. In the absence of any contradictory factors, accept the student's certification of the facts concerned. Take award action accordingly.
NOTE: The procedures in subparagraph a are at local option.
a. Notification to School When Benefits Won't Be Paid. If an enrollment certification is in the claimant's electronic folder when a claim is being denied or is received after a claim has been denied, after entitlement is exhausted, or after a payee has reached his or her delimiting date, the RPO has the option to notify the school not to send additional enrollment certifications. When notifying the school:
(1) If a BDN-generated denial letter to the claimant will be used, send the PCGL disallowance letter (DIS-4) to the school or training established explaining why the claimant is not eligible for benefits.
(2) If the claimant will be notified of the
disallowance by locally produced letter, send a copy of the locally produced
denial letter to the school or training establishment.
NOTE: Take special care to ensure that any information regarding the claimant (other than material which affects the rate and amount of education benefits) is not released to the school or training establishment.
b. Eligibility Established After Denial. If the claimant becomes eligible for benefits after a denial, take the following actions:
(1) Enrollment Certification of Record
(a) Confirm the enrollment before taking award action. If the enrollment is confirmed or changes are reported, take the necessary award action to pay benefits. (See par. 11.10c(5) concerning course reductions before taking award action.)
(b) If changes were reported at the time the enrollment was confirmed, request the certifying official to submit VA Form 22-1999b, Notice of Change of Student Status, to confirm the verbally obtained changed enrollment information. (This can be submitted through VA-ONCE if the original enrollment was sent through VA-ONCE).
(2) No Enrollment Certification of Record. Send the claimant a Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
c. Enrollment Certification Received - No Previous Claim. When an enrollment certification is received without a formal claim, file the document in the TIMS folder and wait for a formal or informal claim before taking any action.
a. General. Supplemental enrollment exists whenever a student's approved program of education involves training at more than one school. The primary school is the school or facility that will confer or grant the current degree sought or certify that the student has completed the program qualifying him or her for the current objective. The other school will be the supplemental school. The student usually will attend the primary school for the majority of the program. The RPO having jurisdiction over the primary school will retain jurisdiction over the claim and associated award actions. If a different RPO receives enrollment certifications, that RPO will forward the enrollment information using an expedited means of transmission (fax or other means) to the RPO having jurisdiction over the primary school.
(1) 38 CFR 21.4233(b) requires that the applicant show that the course(s) taken at the supplemental school are not available at the primary school or cannot be scheduled successfully within the planned period of the program. However, this rule is not intended to restrict an eligible student's selection of courses to be pursued at a supplemental school. Some of the reasons a course may be considered not to be available at the primary school are: the time of day the course is offered, availability of the course on weekends or evenings, differences in the cost of tuition, and the availability of child care services. This list is not all-inclusive. The mere fact that the specific course may be taken at the primary institution is not a bar to pursuit of that course at the supplemental institution. Claims examiners should not routinely inquire as to the reasons for supplemental enrollment.
(2) Claims examiners should insert information in BDN using the message line when a student pursues a supplemental enrollment, or in chapter 32 or 35 cases, they should set the file pull indicator to Y. This should ensure proper payment for the combined training.
b. Types of Supplemental Enrollments. Types of supplemental enrollments are:
(1) Concurrent Enrollment. Concurrent enrollment exists when the student enrolls in two or more schools at the same time. (See pars. 6.11 and 6.12 for measurement of concurrent enrollment.)NOTE: If the claimant is attending both the primary and supplemental schools at the same time, prepare an award for the total credits to include facility code, course code, and objective code for the primary school. This will ensure the proper payment of the school reporting fee to the primary school.
(2) Claimant Not Currently Enrolled at Primary School. A claimant may take courses at the
supplemental school during a term when he or she is not taking courses at the
primary school. (See subpar. d.)
NOTE: If the claimant is only attending the supplemental school, prepare an award for the total credits to include facility code, course code, and objective code for the supplemental school. This will ensure proper payment of the school reporting fee to the supplemental school.
(3) Contracted Out in Whole or in Part. The primary school contracts instruction for a portion of the current course to another school or entity. The other school or entity must be separately approved by the State approving agency (SAA) (38 CFR 21.4233(e)). The actual training need not take place at the supplemental school site to fall within this category. It is sufficient that the supplemental school personnel (or personnel with whom the supplemental school subcontracts) actually do the instructing.
(4) Combination Residence - Independent Study. The primary school is providing residence instruction and the supplemental school, independent study, or vice versa.
(5) Concurrent Enrollment Involving Foreign School. See part III, paragraph 7.05.
c. Special Certification Requirements. If supplemental enrollment is involved, the primary school must furnish the following additional information for the student: (1) the name and address of the supplemental school; (2) training site location; and (3) a listing of all supplemental courses the primary school will accept for full credit, showing each course by name and course number at the supplemental school.
d. Certification Responsibility. Certification responsibility depends on the form of supplemental enrollment.
(1) Contracted Training. When
contracted training is involved, the primary school must also be the certifying
school. As such, it is responsible for
certifying not only the required information in "Enrollment Data" for
the instruction it provides but also for certifying the supplemental instruction
furnished at the school under contract.
(2) Non-contracted Training. For non-contracted training, the primary school and the supplemental school must submit separate enrollment certifications. In addition, the primary school must certify that it will give credit for the specific subjects taken at the supplemental school and that the subjects taken apply to the student's objective. This certification may be achieved by one of the following means:
(a) The primary school may include information about giving credit for subjects in Remarks or on an attachment to its enrollment certification.
(b) The supplemental school, at the time of submitting the enrollment certification, may attach a letter from the primary school with the information about giving credit for subjects. Alternatively, the supplemental school may include the statement "Parent School Letter on File" or equivalent wording on its enrollment certification or its electronic submission. This statement means either that the supplemental school has a letter from the primary school stating that the primary school will give credit for the specific subjects taken at the supplemental school or that the supplemental school has an articulation agreement covering the courses the student is taking at the supplemental school.NOTE 1: All electronic submissions allow the optional remarks: "Concurrent Enrollment from Secondary School: Primary School _______________ " if a school checks the Guest Student box. RPOs must accept this electronic certification from the supplemental school as equivalent to the statement "Parent School Letter on File." RPOs should not accept “concurrent enrollment” or other such similar generic remarks.
NOTE 2: Sometimes there is a written articulation agreement between two schools. One school offers the first part of a program while the other school accepts all of the credit earned at the first school and then offers the remainder of the program. See paragraphs 1.31 and 1.32 for special procedures when there is an articulation agreement.
(c) If the supplemental school furnishes the
proper certifications, the Veterans Claims Examiner (VCE) will authorize benefits
for the claimant's total training (courses taken at both the primary school
and the supplemental school). If
this information is not received, the claims examiner will develop for it before
paying for the supplemental courses. Use the PCGL
NOTE: If a school is aware of its supplemental status, it should note its status in the Remarks section of its enrollment certification.
(3) Junior Year Abroad. The primary school should certify the enrollment information applicable to supplemental school instruction in cases of study in a foreign country when the U.S. school assumes certification responsibility; for example, "Junior Year Abroad" programs. (See pt. III, par 7.05b(3).)
e. Community College of the Air Force (CCAF). CCAF, with administrative headquarters at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, is an Institution of Higher Learning (IHL) accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Congress has empowered the CCAF to confer an Associate of Applied Science degree with five possible majors. Enlisted personnel take courses as part of a predetermined degree plan at member colleges all over the world for CCAF credit toward a degree.
(1) Since enlisted persons do not matriculate at the civilian institutions, CCAF acts as the primary school, accepting transfer credit for the degree. The base Education Service Officer (ESO), coordinating with the CCAF Administration Center, will certify the acceptance of credit for all unit courses by specific course title. The institutions providing the instruction will complete the enrollment certifications, and VA will accept these when accompanied by the ESO's certification that each course is part of the CCAF degree plan. An ESO may make his or her certification in the Remarks section of the enrollment certification or may make this certification and then attach it to the enrollment certification. The supplemental school is not required to certify a final objective or to report credit allowed for prior training.
(2) Jurisdiction for payment of benefits for these supplemental enrollments is the RPO having jurisdiction over the supplemental school. CCAF does not have a facility code, so the code of the supplemental school will be used in the award transaction.
Go to Top1.10 ENROLLMENT PERIOD CERTIFIED
a. Period Certified. Schools organized on a term, quarter, or semester basis may not report enrollment for a period that exceeds the ordinary school year plus the following summer term (38 CFR 21.4203(b)(3)(ii)). At the end of one ordinary school year, a school may certify enrollment for the following ordinary school year provided the student is pre-registered for the first enrollment period in that ordinary school year.
NOTE: The above rules refer to certification of future enrollments. There is no limit on how far back enrollments that occurred in the past may be certified.Example: A veteran is enrolled in an ordinary school year from September 2005 through May 2006. She pre-registers for the upcoming fall semester as soon as she can do so, during May 2006. In May 2006 (the end of the current ordinary school year), her school's certifying official may certify her enrollment for the next ordinary school year beginning in September 2006 plus the summer term in 2007.
b. Requirement for Term-by-Term Certification. Schools should certify the beginning and ending date of each term separately when they are certifying multiple terms. This requirement applies to paper enrollment certifications as well as electronic enrollment certifications. 38 CFR 21.4203(b)(3) will be revised to reflect this change in policy.
NOTE 1: Schools may need to certify independent study courses separately from resident courses if they do not have a fixed length.
NOTE 2: See also paragraph 1.16, Enrollment Effective Dates, and paragraph 1.27, School Official's Certification of Enrollment Data.
Except for the Tuition Assistance Top-up and section 901 programs, VA may only pay for courses that are a part of the claimant's program of education. (See pt. III, par. 6.01.) However, for degree courses taken on a quarter, semester, or term basis, rounding out of terms is permitted. This means that a claimant may enroll in sufficient credit hours during his or her last term to allow payment of (up to and including) full-time training. The following example illustrates the rounding out of terms.EXAMPLE: A claimant needs to complete 60 credit hours to obtain a B. A. degree. After passing 57 credit hours, the claimant enrolls in four 3-credit-hour courses. VA may pay the veteran educational assistance for full-time training during this last term.
Go to Top
SUBCHAPTER II - SPECIFIC ENTRIES ON ENROLLMENT CERTIFICATION1.12 IDENTIFYING DATA
a. Name of Student. If the student's identity is in doubt, use Beneficiary Identification and Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) to identify the student's VA record. (See M21-1, part II, ch. 6.) If necessary, ask the school for more identifying information.
b. VA File No. See subparagraph a above if necessary to identify the claimant.
c. Current Address of Student. Accept the school's certification as to the student's mailing address if it is dated later than a previous address from the student. Be sure to check the transaction history on the M22 screen to be sure the student has not recently submitted a change of address through the National Education WAVE Mass Address Navigator (NEWMAN) or other means.
d. Student's Social Security Number. If not entered in Item 2 but necessary to identify the student, see subparagraph a above.
The school or training facility should check one block under the "Type of Training" item on any enrollment certification submitted. If the type of training is blank, but it is clear what the type of training is from the name of the program or other information, do not request it.
All enrollment certifications must show the complete name of the student's program. (For electronic enrollment certifications from supplemental schools, "Guest Student" will appear in Name of Program.) Do not pay benefits without this information. If the name of the program does not appear, request it from the school, preferably by telephone. Otherwise, send a locally produced letter to the school, with a copy to the student. See paragraph 1.06 for setting up controls. (If program approval is an issue, see pt. III, par. 6.07.)
a. Name of IHL Program. If the student is pursuing a graduate or undergraduate program at an IHL, the name of the degree or certificate program must appear. If the student has selected a major field of study, that field must also appear (for example, bachelor's degree in engineering). A student will usually select a major field of study by the time he or she completes half of the program.
(1) An enrollment certification may show only the general degree, but the student has been in the program long enough to select a major field. (An example is a student pursuing the third year of a bachelor's degree.) Request the exact degree title and major field of study from the school but do not delay award action if the only required information is the major field of study. For handling changes of program, see chapter 4.
(a) If delaying award action for other reasons, control the claim as described in paragraph 1.06b(1).
(b) If not delaying award action, set up a future control as described in paragraph 1.06b(2).
(2) If either the school or student shows no major field, require only the
name of the general degree program for the current school year. If an enrollment certification comes in for
a later school year, it should show the major field. If it does not, request another explanation.
NOTE: The Veterans Claim Examiner (VCE) should verify course approval when appropriate. See part III, paragraph 6.05.
b. Name of NCD Program. The VCE should verify course approval per part III, paragraph 6.05.
NOTE: For NCD courses, the school should show the specific approved course. If the course is not an exact match in WEAMS, check with the ELR before taking action.
c. Transfer program. The claimant may take courses that do not count toward an associate degree but will transfer to another institution. The school should list such courses on the enrollment certification. See subchapter III, paragraphs 1.31 and 1.32.
d. Non-matriculated Students. See subchapter III.
NOTE #1: Effective June 15, 2007, VCEs should apply the prior credit procedures described in this paragraph only to non-accredited schools and to training establishments offering apprenticeship or other on-the-job training. (In support of this change in policy, Education Service is proposing regulations to remove the requirement that accredited schools report prior credit to VA. All schools must continue to evaluate prior credit.) Non-accredited schools must continue to report prior credit to VA on their enrollment certifications. VA-ONCE has been programmed so that for accredited schools the prior credit field will default to Not Applicable (NA) and such schools will not be able to report prior credit. VA-ONCE will continue to require non-accredited schools to make an entry for prior credit. VCEs will need to check WEAMS, as needed, to verify the accreditation status for schools that submit enrollment certifications via paper.
NOTE #2: VCE's must still determine if a change of program has occurred when an enrollment certification indicates the student has changed his or her objective. In some cases, it may be necessary to determine if there is a material loss of credit. See paragraph 4.10.
a. Background. This item on the enrollment certification requests schools to report the credit they have allowed for previous civilian or military education, training, or experience. "Credit for prior training" is credit which applies to the program of education currently being pursued and which shortens the program accordingly. VA regulations require schools to grant "appropriate credit" for such training and to notify VA of their decision (38 CFRs 21.4253(d)(3)) and 21.4254(c)(4)).
(1) When Prior Credit Evaluation Required. If an enrollment certification is for the initial enrollment in a
particular school or training facility, or for a different program of education
or training, it should reflect the amount of credit for previous education,
training, or experience, including military training and experience.
NOTE: If the student's VA education records show that VA has paid for any advance placement tests, the school should be expected to have given some credit for these tests.
(3) Units of Measurement. The amount of credit allowed, if any, should appear in terms of the basic components of the current course or curriculum. If the course operates on a semester-hour basis, credit for prior training should appear in semester hours. If the course operates on a quarter-hour basis, credit for prior training should appear in quarter hours. Otherwise, credit for prior training should appear in months, weeks, carnegie units, lessons, or any appropriate unit of measurement which reflects the amount of reduction of the course length.
b. Development. Development for required prior credit is mandatory when the school does not furnish this information and the enrollment certification is the student's first enrollment in a particular school, or development is necessary under paragraph 4.10 to determine if a change of program has occurred.
EXCEPTION: Prior credit is only an issue if the student's record shows a substantial amount of prior training or experience that could be credited toward the current program. A substantial amount of training is the equivalent of more than 12 credit hours for programs measured in credit hours, or more than 10 percent of the total length of programs otherwise measured. For example, claim examiners should not routinely ask for a prior credit evaluation if the student's only educational background is high school, military service, and 12 or fewer college credits.
(1) If the school or training establishment fails to certify the amount of credit allowed or if it certifies a grant of credit that based upon the evidence of record appears to be insufficient, take the following actions:
(a) Send a development letter to the school using the PCGL letter PC-1, Original Prior Credit Development.
(b) Send the student a separate development
letter at the same time that the development letter is sent to the school. Use
letter PC-5, Prior Credit Notice Letter to Student, for this notification.
This development letter will inform the student that the school or training
establishment has not certified the amount of credit allowed. This
letter further informs the student of VA’s responsibility under the
Veterans Claims Assistance Act of 2000 to assist the student to obtain the
prior credit information.
NOTE: If the school or training establishment certifies "Pending" in the prior credit block, send the school PCGL Letter PC-3 requesting a prior credit evaluation if the school has not submitted the evaluation within the allotted time. See subparagraph b(2)(b) regarding the allotted time. If the claimant is non-matriculated, see subchapter III also.
(2) Whenever prior credit is an issue, determine if award action should be deferred.
(a) Defer the award action if it appears the total enrollment period certified represents a complete duplication of training which cannot be justified either as refresher training or under any other provision of law. If award action is deferred, fully advise the claimant of the deferral action and establish a pending supplemental issue with a 60-day EP control. Use the PCGL letter PC-5, Prior Credit Notice Letter to Student, for this notification.
(b) If award action is taken, the award may not exceed three quarters or two semesters, or 24 weeks if the school has certified terms other than standard quarters or semesters. Establish a future diary control for approximately 150 days from the beginning date of the award or for 30 days from the current date, whichever is the later date. For chapters 32 and 35, enter "H" in the FOLDER PULL indicator field. For chapters 30, 1606, and 1607, enter a message such as "PR CR RQSTD" in the Message (MSG) field of the 312 Education Award screen. In order to prevent Education Certification Automated Processing (ECAP) from authorizing a chapter 30 award based upon a subsequent electronic certification, enter "STOP" in the beginning of the Message field, followed by "PR CR RQSTD." Claims examiners should also add a TIMS flash. Fully advise the claimant of the time limitation for receipt of prior credit information and establish a pending supplemental issue with a 60-day EP control. Use PCGL letter PC-5, Prior Credit Notice Letter to Student, for this notification.
(3) If the school eventually reports prior credit, take award action, if appropriate, and take the appropriate pending EP. Delete the "STOP" and "PR CR RQSTD" text in the Message field.
(4) If the school has not reported prior credit at the expiration of the control period, take follow-up action with the school, whether or not the student is currently enrolled. Use the PCGL letter PC-2, Follow-up to School for PC, if the school did not report prior credit on the enrollment certification. Use the PCGL letter PC-3, Follow-up to School for PC if the school had reported “PENDING” on the enrollment certification.
c. Possible Extension of Time. If either the school or the student shows a need for additional time (either during the initial control period or during the 30-day follow-up period) due to extenuating circumstances, such as delayed receipt of transcripts from other schools, automatically grant a 30-day extension. If the school notifies VA that the claimant has not furnished the transcripts from other schools, send a locally produced letter informing the claimant that:
(1) His or her transcripts from the other schools must be furnished to the current school for prior credit evaluation,
(2) This information is necessary in order to complete his or her education claim, and
(3) If the school does not report prior credit within 30 days, benefits may be denied or terminated until the school does report prior credit.
d. Action Upon Expiration of the Control Period. If the school does not furnish prior credit within the control period (including the follow-up period and any allowable extension), deny further benefits for continued training at that school. The basis for this adverse action is that VA is unable to determine if the claimant has already completed some or all the requirements for his or her program of education. The effective date for discontinuance (in cases with running awards) will be according to the facts found (see 38 CFR 21.7635(z) for the supporting regulation for chapter 1606; other chapters have similar regulations).
(1) Apply the following guidelines in making this determination:
(a) Create an overpayment for all benefits paid for the program in question only if the evidence of record establishes a reasonable presumption that the claimant was not eligible for the benefits received. (This would seldom be the case since the claims examiner should not have awarded benefits if there was doubt as to the claimant's eligibility.)
(b) Stop benefits from the date of last payment in all other cases.
(2) Use the PCGL letter PC-4, Final Prior Credit Notice, to notify the student of the action. Send a copy to the student’s school.
EXAMPLE: The claimant's application shows one year of
college before service. The claimant is now in a two-year degree program.
VA has paid for two semesters but has been
unable to get a report of prior credit despite repeated efforts.
Action: Stop the claimant's benefits effective the date the claimant was last paid. Do not further adjust his or her benefits. Assume that he or she was eligible for the benefits received.
e. Notice to ELR. Whenever the claims examiner
takes the action described in subparagraph
d above, he
or she should also send a memorandum to the ELR of jurisdiction. The memorandum
should point out that the school has not provided a report of the student's
previous education and training as required by 38
CFR 21.4254(c)(4) (for
non-accredited schools). If a
pattern of failure to provide prior credit evaluations exists at a school,
the ELR will work with the school and the State approving agency (SAA) as appropriate
to resolve the situation.
NOTE: At local discretion, claims examiners may refer these matters to the Chief Education Liaison Officer (CELO) at the RPO. This principle applies whenever this chapter mentions the ELR.
See paragraph 1.10 regarding the maximum period that may be certified and the requirements for term-by-term certifications.
a. Commencement Date Issues. See paragraph 1.16A.
b. Other Effective Date Issues
(1) Review of Calendar Data. For courses certified by IHLs that are exempt from course approval review (see pt. III, par. 6.05f), VCEs should not routinely review calendar data in the Web Enabled Approval Management System (WEAMS) to confirm particular effective dates certified by schools. VCEs should review calendar data for all other courses to ensure that the school has certified proper dates.
(2) Ending Date if Attendance at Graduation Required. If the school requires attendance at graduation, the school should report the graduation date as the ending date of the last term.
c. NCD Program Length. VCEs will accept the length of NCD courses as certified by schools on their enrollment certifications. The length of any given program as approved by the SAA is still official, but the VCE is no longer responsible for questioning an enrollment that exceeds the approved length as determined by the SAA.
Exception: For chapter 30 cases in which entitlement exhausts during
an NCD program, the VCE must continue to determine whether or not the student
is at least half-way through the program to authorize an extension of entitlement.
38 CFR 21.7135(s).) When in conflict, the the VCE should use the
SAA approved length of the course is used to calculate whether or not the student
has completed at least half of the program to be entitled to an extension.
For example, the SAA approved number of hours for a given program is 500. A
student exhausts his entitlement part way through the term. The student must
have completed at least 250 hours to be given an extension of entitlement,
even if the school certified the program for a total of 600 hours.
Subparagraphs a and b below
give a paraphrased version of the current commencement date regulations (38
CFR 21.4131(a)-(c) for chapter 32; 38 CFR 21.4131
(b)-(d) for chapter
38 CFR 21.7131(a)-(c) for chapter 30; and 38 CFR 21.7631(a)-(c)
for chapter 1606). These regulations apply
to claims received on or after June 3, 1999, and to claims that were pending
on June 3, 1999 (including claims that had been decided but the one-year appeal
period had not expired by that date). These regulations now provide a
common set of rules for the majority of the education programs covered in this
manual (chapters 30, 32, and 35 of title 38 U.S.C., chapter 1606 of title 10
U.S.C., and sections 901 and 903 of PL 96-342).
NOTE #1: Currently, there are no regulations published for chapter 1607 or NCS. Do not apply these commencement date rules to those benefits.
a. What Beginning Date Must A School Report To VA? Schools generally should report the first scheduled date of classes for the term, quarter, or semester in which the student is enrolled. Here are the exceptions:
(1) First Day of Classes Delayed. Some courses may begin after the calendar week that the term, quarter, or semester is scheduled to begin. Schools should report the actual date classes for such courses begin.
(2) Student Required to Report Early. In some cases, the school's published standards may require the student to register before reporting and to report to school in the 14-day period before the term, quarter, or semester begins. Schools should report the date the student is required to report to school in such cases.
(3) Independent Study. For independent study, schools should report the date the student began the course according to the regularly established practices of the school.
(4) Correspondence Course. For correspondence courses, schools should report the later of:
(a) The date the first lesson was sent, or
(b) The date the student affirms the correspondence course contract.
(5) Apprenticeship or Other On-The-Job Training. For apprenticeship or other on‑the-job training, employers should report the first date of employment in the training position.
b. From What Date Should You Pay Benefits? When a student enters or reenters training, determine the beginning date of benefits as follows:NOTE: When determining the effective date of payment for a reentrance, first determine if the claimant is taking the same program of education as previously reported. If the claimant is taking the same program of education, use the set of rules shown in paragraph 1.16Ab(1) below. If the claimant is taking a different program of education (change of program), use the set of rules shown in paragraph 1.16Ab(2).
(1) First Award for Program. For the first award for a program of education, pay benefits from the latest of:
(a) The date the school reports under subparagraph a above;
(b) One year before the date of claim as determined by 38 CFR 21.1029(b);
(c) The effective date of the approval of the course as shown in WEAMS.NOTE 1: “First award” for a program of education refers to the first enrollment period for a program in chronological order. See the following example:
(2) Second or Subsequent Award for Program. For the second or subsequent award for the same program of education, pay benefits from the latest of:
(a) The date the school reports under subparagraph a above; or
(b) The effective date of the approval of the course as shown in WEAMS.
the following effective date examples.
EXAMPLE 1: A claimant previously applied for a bachelors degree program with a major in English at HUGH STATE UNIVERSITY. She attends this school and program for two years. She then transfers to a police academy program. These two programs are not related. The claimant must request (in some form) a change of program listing the police academy program. RPOs should charge a change of program.
Discussion: Since this is a change of program, RPOs should apply the rules in subparagraph (1) to determine the earliest effective date of benefits for the police academy program. This means the RPO could not pay earlier than one year before the date the request for change of program was received.
EXAMPLE 2: A claimant attends HUGH STATE UNIVERSITY for two years in an English major program, earning 96 semester hours. She then transfers to a German major program, with the school showing prior credit of 90 hours. This is a loss of 6 semester hours. She does not apply for a change of program and the enrollment certification for the new program is delayed for two years after its commencement date for some reason.
Discussion: This is not a "change of program" in the legal sense. RPOs should apply the rule in subparagraph (2) in determining the earliest effective date of benefits. In this case, the RPO could go back two years to the commencement date of the German major program.
EXAMPLE 3: VA received an original application on February 1, 2002, together with an enrollment certification showing term dates of January 4, 2002, to May 4, 2002. On March 1, 2002, VA awarded benefits effective from January 4, 2002 until May 4, 2002. On March 15, 2002, VA received an enrollment certification from the same school showing enrollment in the same program but term dates of January 8, 1999 to May 8, 1999.
Discussion: The date of claim is February 1, 2002. The earliest that education benefits can be paid is February 1, 2001, one year before the date of claim. Deny the claim for education benefits based on the enrollment from January 8, 1999 to May 8, 1999.
Figure 1.01 Prior Chapter 30 Commencement Date Regulation
a. Number of Credit Hours Taken in Residence
(1) Separation of Credit-Hour Load Periods. The school should make a distinct entry for each separate period certified. If certifying a claimant for two semesters during which time he or she will earn nine credits per term, the school should enter "9" and not the total credits for both terms. The school should also show future changes to the credit-hour load, if known.
(2) Credit Hours to be Certified. At a student's request, a school may certify less than the total number of credit hours the student is taking. For example, if a student wishes to receive benefits for only half of the credits he or she is taking in a particular term, the school should report only the reduced number.NOTE: A school may not certify a fractional part of a semester, quarter, or term. This is prohibited by 38 CFRs 21.3045(j), 21.5078,21.7076(d), and 21.7576(d).
b. Noncredit Deficiency, Remedial, or Refresher Hours. See paragraph 6.08.
c. Independent Study. See paragraph 6.07.
d. Tuition Assistance. For servicemembers, do not pay benefits for courses if the student or the school indicates the student is receiving tuition assistance for the same course. See part IV, paragraph 3.07a. The chapter 30 Tuition Assistance Top-up benefit is an exception to this rule as described in Circular 22-01-01, Appendix D.
CLOCK HOUR COURSES
(Change Date: October 15, 2007)
See chapter 7, subchapter II.
CHARGES FOR PERIOD OF INSTRUCTION
(Change Date: October 15, 2007)
a. Chapter 30, Chapter 35, Chapter 1607, and NCS. For chapters 30, 1607, and the NCS, the school must enter tuition and fees separately for each term for every servicemember regardless of training time and for every veteran attending at less than 1/2 time training. For chapter 35, the school must enter tuition and fees for each student attending at less than 1/2 time training.
NOTE: For persons incarcerated for a felony, it will be necessary to request the school to report tuition and fees and other expenses regardless of the claimant's training time. See part IV, paragraph 13.11.
b. Chapter 32, Section 903, and Chapter 1606. For chapter 32, section 903, and chapter 1606, tuition and fees are not necessary except for incarcerated claimants (pt. IV, ch. 13, subch. IV) and certain chapter 32 high school students (pt. VI, par. 1.11b).
c. Section 901. See part III, chapter 11.
d. Excessive Tuition and Fees. Accept the tuition and fees certified by the school unless they exceed the charges made to similarly circumstanced non-veterans in the same course. Refer suspected excessive tuition and fees to the ELR for confirmation before awarding benefits.
TRAINING TIME FOR GRADUATE OR ADVANCED PROFESSIONAL COURSES
(Change Date: October 15, 2007)
Enrollment certifications for claimants pursuing an IHL graduate or advanced professional program may have an entry in the
Training Time block. See paragraph 6.13 for instructions.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR NON-DEGREE COURSES AND FARM CO-OP COURSES
(Change Date: October 15, 2007)
If a claimant is pursuing a high school or farm cooperative program, the school must complete the following items as appropriate:
a. High Schools Approved on a Unit Basis. See paragraph 7.07.
b. Farm Cooperative Training. See paragraph 7.12.
ADVANCE PAYMENT REQUESTS AND ACCELERATED PAYMENT REQUESTS
(Change Date: October 15, 2007)
a. Advance Payment
(1) To request an advance payment, the student must sign and date the "Advance Payment Request" block. Also, accept a separate request signed and dated by the student and attached to the enrollment certification.
(2) For enrollment certifications submitted through VA-ONCE, the phrase "Student Requests Advance Payment” and the date of the request will appear on the form. The school is required to have a signed and dated request from the student in their records.
b. Accelerated Payment.
(1) To request an accelerated payment, the student must sign and date the "Accelerated Payment Request" block. By signing this block, the student is certifying that he or she intends to seek employment in one of the high technology industries listed on the form.
(2) For enrollment certifications submitted through VA-ONCE, the school must indicate the student is requesting accelerated payment and must include the phrase "Acceleration Certification on File", or similar wording, to indicate that the student has made the necessary certification regarding high technology industries.
VOCATIONAL FLIGHT TRAINING
(Change Date: October 15, 2007)
See paragraph 2.04.
See paragraph 2.14.
a. Training Establishment Certification. If the claimant is pursuing an apprenticeship or other on-the-job training (OJT) program, the establishment must complete the following items on Side B of VA Form 22-1999 in addition to the student identification items:
(1) Type of Training. The training establishment should check the Apprenticeship or Other On-The-Job box.
(2) Name of Program. See paragraph 1.14.
(3) Credit for Previous Training.
(4) Training Dates. The training establishment should enter the exact date (month, day, year) that the claimant begins training and the exact date scheduled for completion of training
(5) Type of Training. The training establishment should check either Apprenticeship or Other On-the-Job boxes.
(6) No. of Hours Trainee Is Employed Per Week in Training Program.
(7) No. of Hours in Standard Work Week.
b. Hours Worked to Date. In addition, the establishment should list the monthly number of hours worked to date in the remarks section or on a separate attachment.NOTE: The training establishment must attach a signed copy of the training agreement, outlining the training program and wage scale as approved by the SAA or VA. For apprenticeship, any document signed by the trainee incorporating this agreement by reference will suffice. For training approved by VA, the appropriate document is VA Form 22-8864, Other On-Job Training and Apprenticeship Training Agreement and Standards.
e. First 6-Month-Step Rate Payable. Begin the award with the first 6-month step when one of the following exists:
(1) Initial award for apprenticeship or OJT even if the employer grants credit for prior related training or experience.Exception: Do not begin payment at the 1st step if the student is enrolled in an apprenticeship or OJT program and for some reason VA cannot pay benefits from the first date of the program. See subparagraph f(3).
(2) Reentry award for a different program (job objective) even if the employer grants credit for prior related training or experience.
(3) Reentry award for the same program (job objective) with a different employer who grants no credit for prior training or experience. In this case, do not charge the claimant with a change of program (see par. 4.07b).
f. Second or Subsequent 6-Month-Step Rates Payable. Begin the award within the second or subsequent 6-month step when one of the following conditions exists:
(1) Reentry into the same program (job objective) with a different employer
with credit granted for prior training.
Example: An employer grants 7 months of prior training. Pay 5 months at the 2nd step.
(2) Reentry into the same program (job objective) with the same employer
after completing some training.
(3) Initial entry into an ongoing program (i.e., the person begins the program but receives apprenticeship/OJT benefits from some different date after the actual start date of the program because of effective date issues, receipt of IHL benefits, etc.). See the example of this issue below.
The school must complete this item if the student is enrolled at a contract school or attends a branch location other than the branch that is certifying the enrollment. VCEs should check approval data in WEAMS (and check with the ELR if necessary) to see if the contract school or the branch is approved.
a. Date Signed. The certifying official at the school or training establishment must show the date he or she completed or signed the enrollment certification. An enrollment certification is "confirmed" if the school's certifying official signed and dated it on or after the beginning date of the enrollment period.
(1) Advance Payment Request. The date signed by the school's certifying official may be at least 30 days, but not more than 120 days, before the beginning date of the term. If the date signed by the school's certifying official is not within the specified period, and for other advance payment processing procedures, see chapter 10. The claimant must specifically request an advance payment. This request can be included in an electronic submission.
(2) All Other Enrollments. Accept without confirmation enrollment certifications signed as much as 120 days before the beginning of the first semester, quarter, or term listed on the enrollment certification. If subsequent terms are included on such certifications, also accept them without confirmation. Pre-registration for the first semester, quarter, or term listed on the enrollment certification is required.NOTE: The BDN chapter 32 and 35 systems will not process non-advance payment original or reentrance awards with a future commencing date. RPOs should either use amended awards when possible or diary these enrollments and process the appropriate award on that future date. RPOs are entitled to an additional (second) EP on cases where a future diary is needed. The BDN chapter 30, 1606, and 1607 systems will permit entry of future commencing dates.
(3) Special Lump Sum Enrollment Procedures. VA is required to pay lump sum by the end of the month following the month the certification is received. When a lump‑sum payment is payable (chapters 30, 35, and 1607 only) for a term which begins within 120 days of the date the school official signed the enrollment certification, do the following:
(a) Diary the case until the term begins.
(b) When the diary matures, process the lump sum enrollment.
NOTE: Confirmation of enrollment is not required.
b. Reporting Delay for Independent Study Programs. A school may delay reporting enrollments in a program of independent study (under 38 CFR 21.4203(a)(2)) for less than 1/2 time training until the end of the term, quarter, or semester if:
(1) The school submits a written request to the RPO director to delay reporting enrollments,
(2) The Director of the RPO of jurisdiction approves the delay and determines that it is not feasible for the school to monitor enrollment in the programs.
(3) The school notifies the claimants of the delay at the time they enroll or reenroll.NOTE: RPOs must notify the school of the acceptance or rejection of this written request. The school has the right to request an administrative review of that decision to the Director of the Education Service. The school has to submit a written request for this review.
c. Signature and Title of Certifying Official. The designated official must sign the form and enter his or her title.
(1) VA-ONCE. Enrollment documents received electronically through the VA-ONCE system are acceptable as to signature and title.
(2) Paper Enrollment Certifications. For paper enrollment certifications, facsimile signatures will be accepted only if the school furnishes VA with a completed VA Form 22-8794, Designation of Certifying Official(s), certifying that such signatures are genuine, that they are supplied on reports with the full knowledge and consent of such official, and that VA may accept all reports as authentic which bear the signature(s) certified on the form. The RPO may fax a questionable enrollment certification to the ELR for authentication of the signature.NOTE 1: It may be difficult to detect from a TIMS screen whether or not a signature on a paper enrollment certification is a facsimile (e.g., rubber stamp) signature or has been actually signed using ink. If there is a question about a facsimile signature, contact the ELR with jurisdiction over the school. Eventually, after installation of a future enhancement in WEAMS, WEAMS will have a block concerning receipt of VA Form 22-8794 and if the school permits the submission of a facsimile signature.
d. Name and Address of School or Training Establishment. The complete name and mailing address of the school should be entered. The school should enter the certifying official’s telephone number and VA facility code.
SUBCHAPTER III. NON-MATRICULATION
a. Prohibition of Payment to non-matriculated
CFR 21.4252(l) prohibits payment of
educational assistance benefits to IHL students who are not matriculated, unless
an exception applies as outlined in subparagraph b or paragraphs 1.31 or
prohibition does not apply to Tuition Assistance
Top-up cases.) VA considers a student to have matriculated when he or she has
been formally admitted to a college or university as a degree-seeking student.
b. Two-Term Rule. 38 CFR 21.4252(l)(1) provides that educational assistance benefits may be awarded for a maximum of two terms, quarters, or semesters to students who do not matriculate immediately. Note that it does not matter what the student's training time is for these two terms, quarters, or semesters.
a. General. The term "to matriculate" is not defined in the same manner by all IHLs. See paragraph 1.28a for VA's definition of a matriculated student. Other related terms are listed below to facilitate the discussion of payment restrictions under 38 CFR 21.4252(l).
b. Special or Provisional Students. Many IHLs initially classify newly enrolled freshman students and transfer students in a special category until all requirements for matriculation have been satisfied. Commonly used terms for this classification are "special student" and "provisional student."
c. Regular Students. While limitations on the duration of such a classification differ among schools, IHLs commonly require degree-seeking students to attain "regular" (matriculated) status after completing one or two terms, quarters, or semesters.
(1) At some open admission schools, students may continue to be classified as "special students" almost indefinitely, or may be reclassified as "non-curricular students." It is at these IHLs where the provision of 38 CFR 21.4252(l) has the greatest impact on the processing of enrollment certifications.
(2) After a student has satisfied all of an IHL’s requirements for full admission into a degree curriculum, he or she is generally reclassified as a "regular student." In most circumstances, classification as a "regular student" is equivalent to "matriculation" for the purposes of 38 CFR 21.4252(l).
d. Full Credit. When used in conjunction with transfer of credits from one institution to another, "full credit" means that the accepting institution will assign a value to a course which is the equivalent to that which would have been earned by the student if the course had been offered by and pursued at the accepting institution.
e. Open Admission Institution. This term refers to an institution operating under an admission policy without any mandatory admission requirements or that imposes relatively few admission requirements. The term "open admission" (or "free access") applies to an institution, but not to particular programs. An open admission institution may impose selective standards for acceptance into a specific degree curriculum.
f. Open-Ended Program. A post secondary instructional program designed, often in cooperation with a particular IHL, so that a student may earn credit for later application toward a bachelor's (or in some cases, an associate) degree.
g. Transfer Program. A program of post secondary instruction that yields credits that are normally acceptable by 4-year IHLs at full value toward a bachelor's degree.
h. Unclassified Student. A student who has satisfied admission requirements at an institution, but who has chosen not to pursue a degree.
Go to Top
OPEN-ENDED PROGRAMS UNDER 38 CFR 21.4252(l)(2)
(Change Date: October 15, 2007)
a. Definition. Some schools have developed programs that consist of a series of courses that are not intended to fulfill a degree objective at their own institutions. The student is not required to matriculate. The courses represent, for example, the first portion of a degree program (the freshman and sophomore years of instruction, the vocational courses within certain undergraduate degree programs, etc.) for which the actual degree is awarded by another IHL. These are organized curricula specifically designed by the institution, not merely individual educational plans. VA benefits may be awarded only if the program has been approved by the SAA, and only after receipt of a certification as described below.
b. Certification Requirements. Students enrolled in open-ended programs may be awarded VA benefits only when the certifications described in subparagraph (1) or (2) below are made:
(1) The college or university granting the degree certifies concurrently with the student’s enrollment in the first portion of the program, that:
(a) Full credit will be granted for the subjects taken in the portion of the curriculum offered at the first college or university;
(b) In the last 5 years at least three students who have completed the first part of the program have been accepted into the second part of the program;
(c) At least 90 percent of those who have applied for admission to the second part of the program, after successfully completing the first part, have been admitted;
(d) The student will be required to matriculate during the first two terms, quarters, or semesters following his or her admission to the second part of the program.
(2) The college or university offering the first part of the program:
(a) Certifies to the appropriate SAA that as a result of an agreement between that college or university and the college or university offering the second part of the program, all of the courses taken by the veteran or eligible person in the first part of the program, will be accepted by the college or university offering the second part of the program without any loss of credit in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an associate or higher degree. This certification may be made once for each program for which an agreement exists.
(b) Certifies to VA that the veteran or eligible person has stated to an appropriate official of the college or university offering the first part of
the program that he or she is pursuing the program.
TRANSFER PROGRAMS UNDER 38 CFR 21.4252(l)(3)
(Change Date: October 15, 2007)
a. Definition. Two-year IHLs may offer courses beyond those courses which are necessary for an associate degree. A student can use these additional courses toward graduation requirements for a bachelor's degree at a four‑year IHL. The four-year IHL may not require the student to matriculate at the four‑year school if he or she is pursuing only these additional courses at the two-year school.
b. Certification Requirement. Payment of VA benefits for pursuit of courses beyond those necessary for an associate degree may be authorized only if the certifications described in either subparagraph (1) or (2) below are made.
(1) The college or university granting the baccalaureate degree certifies that:
(a) Full credit is granted for the course upon the student’s transfer to the college or university granting the baccalaureate degree,
(b) The courses taken at the two-year college will be acceptable in partial fulfillment for the baccalaureate degree, and
(c) The student will be required to matriculate during the first two terms, quarters, or semesters following his or her admission to the college or university granting the baccalaureate degree.
(2) Either the two-year college or the college or university granting the baccalaureate degree certifies to:
(a) The appropriate SAA that as a result of an agreement between the two‑year college and the college or university offering the baccalaureate degree, all of the courses pursued beyond the associate degree will be accepted without any loss of credit in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a baccalaureate degree. This certification may be made once for each program for which an agreement exists.
(b) VA that the veteran or eligible person
is enrolled in courses covered by the agreement.
PROCESSING ENROLLMENTS FOR NON-MATRICULATED STUDENTS
(Change Date: October 15, 2007)
NOTE: The current enrollment certification has a block for the school to indicate the student is not matriculated.
Accept the following entries on the enrollment certification for
the initial enrollment of undergraduates who have not matriculated:
a. Name of Program. In Name of Program, schools should enter the specific degree program for which a non-matriculated student will complete the formal admission requirements if such degree is known.
b. Credit Allowed for Previous Civilian or Military Training or Experience. The school may not have completed an official evaluation of transcripts at the time of the first enrollment certification for an undergraduate. In those cases, the notation "Pending" should appear in Credit Allowed for Previous Civilian or Military Training or Experience. If "Pending" is shown, see paragraph 1.15 and paragraph 1.28b.
c. Enrollment Effective Dates. The enrollment period certified in Enrollment Effective Dates, should not exceed two terms, quarters, or semesters unless the procedures for two schools applies. (See pars. 1.31 and 1.32.)NOTE: When benefits are initially paid to a non-matriculated student, set the file pull indicator to "C" for chapter 32 and chapter 35 students. For chapters 30, 1606, 1607, and NCS, use the MSG line. In order to prevent ECAP from authorizing a chapter 30 award based upon a later electronic enrollment certification, enter “STOP” in the beginning of the Chapter 30 MSG field followed by "NONMATRIC."
d. Denial Procedure. Deny the claim if a non-matriculated student applies for benefits beyond the first two terms, quarters, or semesters unless the procedures for two schools applies. (See pars. 1.31 and 1.32.) Send the student a denial letter including appeal rights. Use the DIS-11 PCGL letter. Furnish a courtesy copy of this notice to the institution. Furnish a copy to the ELR so the ELR is aware of any pattern of problems at schools.
e. Specific Requirements for Open-Ended and Transfer Programs. Enrollment certifications for students enrolled in "open-ended" (par. 1.31) and "transfer" (par. 1.32) programs must provide the specific title of the program as approved by the SAA.
f. No Certification from Degree-Granting Institution. An enrollment certification may be received for a student enrolled in an approved "open-ended" or "transfer" program without the required certification. Send a locally produced letter to the student telling him or her what evidence VA needs before determining eligibility. The letter will list certification options. Send a courtesy copy of the letter to the institution that submitted the enrollment certification. Furnish a copy to the ELR so that he or she is aware of any pattern of problems at the school.
(1) Set up a 30-day control under the appropriate EP.
(2) If the control period expires without receipt of the evidence, deny the student's claim for benefits unless other issues permit deferring the action.NOTE: If these programs are covered by an articulation agreement (see the NOTE in par. 1.09d(2)(b)), then the supplemental school need only reference that agreement on its enrollment certification. If there is no articulation agreement, then the certification requirements in paragraph 1.31b(1) (for open ended programs) and 1.32b(1) (for transfer programs) apply.