What steps do I take to use my GI Bill at Great Falls College MSU?
In order to use your GI Bill you must:

  1. Be enrolled in classes
  2. Have an eligibility determination from the Veterans Administration.

The steps to enroll at Great Falls are described at http://admissions.gfcmsu.edu/steps.html

To receive an eligibility determination (Certificate of Eligibility) from the Veterans Administration, the student must complete an online application at www.gibill.va.gov.   Contact the Veterans Coordinator for assistance in completing the application. 

In making its determination, the Veterans Administration will review the veteran’s military record for dates of duty and the nature of the discharge.   The veteran can expect to receive a Certificate of Eligibility in 6-8 weeks; processing is delayed during peak volume times. 

What programs at Great Falls College MSU are approved by the Veterans Administration?

Good news – all of our programs of study are approved by the VA!

What classes can I take?

The Veterans Administration rules require a student be degree seeking.   Your academic advisor at GFC will make sure you are taking courses that are required to complete the program you have chosen.   

(If you decide to change your program of study, your academic advisor can help with that.) 

The VA will not pay to repeat any courses that you completed successfully (letter grades of A, B, C or D) UNLESS the courses requires a specific minimum grade. The GFC course descriptions specify minimum grade requirements, if any. 

The VA will pay for developmental courses (lower than 100 level), so long as the student’s placement test results show the course is needed. 

Does the VA allow online courses?

Yes, in most circumstances. The VA does require developmental courses be taken in person.   If a student enrolls s in online developmental class, that course will not be counted in the VA benefit.

Also, if a Chapter 33 Post 9/11 student is enrolled ONLY in online courses the monthly allowance is not based on the Great Falls BAH rate, but a lower national number is used. 

How does the Veterans Administration know I am enrolled in school?

The GFC MSU Veterans Coordinator is the certifying official. The certifying official reports enrollment information to the Veterans Administration electronically. The VA will send a letter to the student after processing the “claim” each semester.   The letter will specify the time period and amount of benefits for the term.    It will also notify the student how many months of eligibility remain AFTER the current term.

What happens if my enrollment changes during the term?   

The Veterans Coordinator monitors your enrollment throughout the term. Adding classes, dropping classes, or withdrawing from the term will be reported to the VA. 

Generally decreasing your enrollment or withdrawing from school will result in an overpayment from the VA and require the student to repay money received.  The Veterans Coordinator can advise the student of the process with the VA.

Can I receive federal financial aid even though I receive VA benefits?

Yes! Federal financial is based on the prior’s year income, household size and enrollment status.    It is not affected by the student receiving veterans education benefits. 

It is suggested that all students apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA process.   Students always have the opportunity to decline federal aid that has been offered.

Does the amount of credits I enroll in affect my benefit amount? 

Yes, the enrollment status affects the benefit amount.

For Chapter 30, 35, 31, 1606 and 1607 the VA pays at a training time rate.  

Full Time                              12 credits                            100% of monthly benefit
¾ Time                                9-11 credits                         75% of monthly benefit
½ Time                                6-8 credits                           50% of monthly benefit
Students enrolled in less than 6 credits receive a total benefit equal to the amount of tuition and fees for the term.

The calculation is different in Summer term due to the accelerated time period; check with the Veterans Coordinator for Summer calculation.

For Chapter 33, the housing benefit is based on the rate of pursuit.  
12 Credits                            100%
11 Credits                            91.66%
10 Credits                            83.33%
9 Credits                              75%
8 Credits                              66.66%
7 Credits                              58.33%
0-6 Credits                          No housing payment

Students need to keep in mind the payment tier that the VA has assigned them. 
The calculation is different in Summer term due to the accelerated time period; check with the Veterans Coordinator for Summer calculation.

For VRAP, the student must be enrolled full time (12 credits) to be eligible for any payment.   The calculation is different in Summer term due to the accelerated time period; check with the Veterans Coordinator for Summer calculation.

When can I expect to receive payments?

Payments are made after the month is over. Generally checks will come one week after the month has ended.   

Students using Chapters 30, 1606, 1607 and VRAP must certify the enrollment each month thru the WAVE process; payments will be issued 4-7 days after WAVE is completed.

It is not unusual for the first payment of the term to be delayed; often the VA is behind in processing the term claims.   Payments will be retroactive to the first day of the term.

How do I complete WAVE? 

You may verify your enrollment thru a WAVE account at https://www.gibill.va.gov/wave or call the Voice Response telephone line 1-877-VA-ECERT (1-877-823-2378).   You CANNOT verify until the last day of the month.    (When prompted to provide your VA claim number, use your Social Security Number).

How can I find out more information about my payment status?

If you are using Chapter 30, 1606, 1607 or VRAP, there is a payment history on your WAVE account.  It will also specify how many months of eligibility remain. 

If you are using Chapter 33, create an eBenefits account at https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits-portal/ebenefits.portal.  A Premium account is required; there is no charge for the account.

You may contact the VA Customer Service Hotline at 1-888-442-4551.   Alternatively, you may submit a secure email question thru the RightNowWeb portal:  https://gibill.custhelp.com.


Contact Information


Julie Rummel
Financial Aid Specialist/Veterans Coordinator
Student Central
406-771-4431
jrummel@gfcmsu.edu

Kevin Lyons
Veterans Success Coach
Office: B103
406-771-4434
vetcenter@gfcmsu.edu

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