In order to use your GI Bill® you must:
- Be enrolled in classes
- 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 https://www.va.gov/education/how-to-apply/. 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.
The Montana State Approving Agency has approved all GFC programs for enrollment of those eligible to receive GI Bill® education benefits.
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 course 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 AND the course is taken in-person.
Yes, in most circumstances. The VA does require developmental courses (lower than 100 level) be taken in person. If a student enrolls in an online developmental class, that course will not be certified for VA benefit use.
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.
The GFC MSU Veterans Coordinator is the certifying official. The certifying official reports enrollment information to the Veterans Administration electronically each term. The Veterans Coordinator will only report your enrollment to the VA if a Certification Request form has been submitted to the Financial Aid office for the term.
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.
The Veterans Coordinator monitors your enrollment throughout the term. Adding classes, dropping classes, or withdrawing from the term will be reported to the VA. Students should report any changes in enrollment to the GFC Veterans Coordinator as soon as possible.
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.
Yes! Federal financial aid eligibility is determined using income and household size information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and enrollment status. It is not affected by the student receiving VA education benefits.
It is suggested that all students apply for federal financial aid by completing the FAFSA process. Students always have the opportunity to decline federal aid that has been offered.
Yes, the enrollment status affects the benefit amount.
For Chapter 30, 35, 31, and 1606 the VA pays at a training time rate based on your enrollment.
For Chapter 33, the housing benefit is based on the rate of pursuit which is determined
by your enrollment.
Enrollment status (full time, ¾ time, ½ time) varies based on the total number of semester credits and how the credits are split between the two 8 week blocks in a 16 week semester. Summer Semester calculation varies depending on length of the summer session. Contact the GFC Veterans Coordinator for questions regarding enrollment requirements with the 8 week blocks and Summer Semester.
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.
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).
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.