Student Veteran Issues January 28, 2010
Today’s Agenda • Laws and Policies • Veteran Programs • Post-9/11 GI Bill • VA News • Creating Veteran Friendly Campuses • Suggestions from Veterans • Suggestions for Campuses • Resources
Recent Legislative Changes • Higher Education Technical Corrections (PL 111-39, 7-1-09) • Higher Education Opportunity Act (PL 110-135, 8-14-08) • College Cost Reduction and Access Act (PL 110-84, 9-27-07)
Searchable Web Site • ED, DOD, VA must create one (searchable) Web site with information applicable to members of the Armed Forces (including National Guard and Reserves), veterans and their dependents about: • All applicable federal and state financial assistance • Readmission requirements • Other student services
Treatment of Veterans’ Educational Benefits • Not counted in calculation of EFC • Not counted as Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA) • Applies to veterans, spouses and dependents • Effective Date: July 1, 2009 • HEA Sec. 480(a)(2)
VA Educational Benefits Changes • Electronic Announcements • Change of effective date for exclusion of Federal VA education benefits posted on July 2, 2009 • Must review those students already packaged to determine of changes are necessary • Guidance on Federal Veterans’ Education Benefits for Purposes Title IV Aid posted on August 13, 2009 • Includes Q and A’s • List of updated applicable programs included
In-State Tuition for Active Duty Military • States may not charge more than the in-state tuition rate at public institutions of higher education to service members , their spouses or dependent children. • Servicemember qualifies if: • on active for more than 30 days • domicile or permanent duty station is in the state, or was when attendance began • In-state rates continue to apply if the service member is re-assigned to a permanent duty station outside the state. • Effective for periods of enrollment that begin after July 1, 2009 • HEA, Title I, Part C, Sec. 135(a)-(c)
Pell for Service Members’ Survivors • HEOA • A student who lost a parent or guardian as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11/01 and who was less than 24 years of age, or was enrolled as full-time or part-time student when the parent or guardian died, will be deemed to have an EFC of zero and will be eligible for the maximum Pell grant award provided they meet other eligibility requirements. • Effective July 1, 2009 • HEA, Title IV, Part A, Sec. 401(f)(4) • Technical Corrections, effective July 1, 2009 • Removed Sec. 401 (f)(4) from HEA and added • Sec. 473(b) to Part F – Needs Analysis • Provides that students meeting requirements shown above will be determined to have a zero EFC that will generally apply to all Title IV HEA programs • Sec. 420R, to Title IV, Part A • Establishes Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants (IASG) Program • Effective for 2010-11 award year
IASG Program • Non-need-based program • Available starting with 2010-11 Award Year • To qualify: • Student must have a parent or guardian who died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001 • Must be, at the time of the parent or guardian’s death, less than 24 years of age or enrolled at an institution of higher education
IASG Program • Intended for students who are not eligible for a Pell Grant • Student will receive an IASG that is the same amount as a maximum Pell Grant • Grants made under IASG may not exceed cost of attendance and payments are adjusted like Pell Grants if the student is enrolled less than full-time. • Unlike Pell, IASG Program grants are not considered estimated financial assistance.
IASG Program • Under this program, the student’s EFC will not be changed • Calculated EFC used for other Title IV aid • Regulations are necessary to implement these programs, however, HEA provisions waive the requirement for negotiated rulemaking. • ED will initiate the regulatory process without negotiated rulemaking and adopt regulations that will be effective July 1, 2010 for the 2010-11 award year
Pell for Service Members’ Survivors • In 2009-10 • If Pell-eligible, student may receive – • Maximum Pell Grant of $5,350 • Zero EFC for all other federal student aid • In 2010-11 • If Pell-eligible, student may receive – • Maximum Pell Grant of $5550 • Zero EFC for all other federal student aid • If Pell-ineligible, student may receive – • Iraq/Afghanistan Service Grant (IASG) in an amount equal to maximum Pell Grant • CPS-calculated EFC
Pell for Service Members’ Survivors • Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense (DOD) to provide ED with with information necessary to determine which students meet the requirements • Database match with DOD is expected to start in early 2010 • 2009-10, prior to DOD match – • Until computer matching agreement is in place, students need to self-identify to school • Aid administrator calls ED to confirm that student is eligible • Marya Dennis, (202) 377-3385 • 2009-10, after DOD match is in place, ED will – • Conduct manual match against CPS records once a month • Send personalized letter to student • Notify schools of any affected students • Phone call and • E-mail with encrypted, password-protected file with student identifiers
Cost of Attendance • Cost of Attendance will include an allowance to cover basic expenses incurred for board (NOT ROOM) • For students living in housing provided on a military base, or • For which a basic living allowance is provided • Effective July 1, 2010 • Section 472(3) of HEA
Changes in Definitions • Section 480 of HEA • Total income • No portion of VA educational benefits are to be considered income • Untaxed income • Value of on-base military housing or off-base housing allowance is excluded from untaxed income • Excludable income modified to include special combat pay (Section 480(e)) • EFA modified to exclude special combat pay (Section 480(j))
Veterans - Total and Permanent Disability • Borrowers who have been certified as totally and permanently disabled by Veterans Affairs automatically eligible for discharge • Perkins – eff. 7-1-2008 • FFEL & DL – eff. 7-1-2010 • Must be certified as unemployable due to service-connected condition • No further documentation to support discharge required
Perkins Loan Forbearance • For military personnel and veterans • Request no longer need to be in writing • wider applicability but especially helpful for military personnel • School must confirm agreement by giving notice to the borrower • School must record specific terms in borrower’s file
No Interest Accrual – Military Borrowers • No interest (0%) for borrowers serving on active duty during war or other military operation or national emergency. • Direct loans only disbursed on or after 10-10-08 • Limited to 60 months • FFELP borrowers eligible for through consolidation • (HEA 428 (a)(3)(B)(i)(V) & 455 (o); DCL pgs. 135& 138) Sec. 451 and Sec 422 adds clarification
Returning Servicemembers • Entitlement to readmission of military service members returning from more than 30 days of active duty. • HEA IV – 484C • Effective: 8-14-08 • May not deny readmission to a servicemember • Supersedes state law/any other matter that reduces any right or benefit of these rules • Must promptly readmitservicemember with the same academic status
Returning Servicemembers • Uniformed Service: Service, whether voluntary or involuntary, in the Armed Forces, including service by a member of the National Guard or Reserve, on active duty, active duty for training, or full-time National Guard duty under Federal authority, for a period of more than 30 consecutive days under a call or order to active duty of more than 30 consecutive days
Returning Servicemembers • “Promptly readmit” means in next class or classes in program • Exceptions • “Same academic status” means to admit the student: • To the same program • At the same enrollment status • With the same # of completed credit/clock hours • With the same SAP/academic standing • Exceptions to these requirements
Returning Servicemembers • Tuition and fees (for first year) • If readmitted to same program: • Same tuition and fee charges would have assessed for academic year in which student left • Same as other students for that year, if VA or other benefits will cover beyond what student would have been assessed • For another program, assessed no more than other students
Returning Servicemembers • Academic preparation • Institution must make reasonable efforts to help them prepare to resume or complete a program • Must be at no extra cost to student • Exceptions made after reasonable efforts • “Reasonable efforts” means no undue hardship to the institution
Returning Servicemembers • Readmission Procedures • Student entitled to readmission if: • Gives advance oral or written notice of the service • Cumulative length of absence and all previous absences for service ≤5 years • Gives oral or written notice of intent to return • Institution must designate office(s) • Notices may not have a required format • Notice of intent to return must be • Not later than 3 years after completion of period of service; OR • Not later than 2 years after end of period necessary for recovery from service-related illness or injury
Returning Servicemembers • Documentation • Student must provide documentation to establish that: • Student has not exceeded limitation on the cumulative length of absence • Student’s eligibility for readmission has not been terminated • Example: • Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30) • New rates went into effect Oct. 1, 2009
Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) • The Post-9/11 GI Bill consists of three components: • Tuition & fee payment • Paid directly to the institution. In Illinois, pays up to $578.08 per credit hour for tuition & $12,836 per term for fees • Additional expenses may be covered at participating Yellow Ribbon institutions • Housing stipend • Paid directly to the student based on the zip code of the institution • Equivalent to the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rate for an E-5 w/dependents • Must be training at greater than ½ time and have at least one course on-campus to qualify for the housing stipend • Books & supplies • Paid directly to the student • Prorated to about $42/credit up to $1,000/year
BAH Rate Protection • From the Federal Joint Travel Regulations, Volume 1, Chapter 10, Uniformed Service Members: • U10004 BAH RATE PROTECTION • The monthly BAH amount actually paid a member (i.e., BAH Rate Protection) must not be reduced as a result of changes in housing costs in the MHA, changes in the national monthly housing cost, or a member’s promotion. If the member is demoted, or loses authorization for BAH, then the member’s BAH rate protection at the current amount ceases on the date the member’s eligibility to BAH for a given MHA terminates. The current BAH rate at the current duty location becomes the member’s new protected BAH rate.
Post-9/11 GI Bill Lessons Learned With a semester of the Post-9/11 GI Bill behind us, we (the VA) are providing a list of “lessons learned” in hopes of working together for a smoother spring enrollment period • Early submission of enrollment certifications is essential to timely payment. • A Certificate of Eligibility is not required for submission of the enrollment certification. If a student has provided any documentation to show that he or she is a veteran or dependent that is likely entitled to benefits, an enrollment certification should be submitted as soon as the student enrolls in classes.
Post-9/11 GI Bill Lessons Learned “Lessons Learned,” continued: • The Post-9/11 GI Bill brought a new dimension to VA education benefits that now involves schools’ business offices. Many payment issues can be addressed by the school’s certifying official. • It is critical to VA’s processing that students are correctly identified as Chapter 33 participants to prevent misrouting of claims. • Correct direct deposit information is essential for accurate payment routing. If the school’s deposit account information changes the school VA certifying official should notify their Education Liaison Representative immediately.
Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship • Public Law 111-32 • Amends the Post-9/11 GI Bill to include the children of service members who die in the line of duty after Sept. 10, 2001. • Benefit is effective as of August 1, 2009 • Eligible children may receive up to the highest public, in-state undergraduate tuition and fees, plus a monthly living stipend and book allowance
Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship • Who is eligible? • Children of an active duty member of the Armed Forces who has died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001, are eligible for this benefit. • A child may be married or over 23 and still be eligible. • Eligible children: • are entitled to 36 months of benefits at the 100% level • have 15 years to use the benefit beginning on his/her 18th birthday • may use the benefit until his or her 33rd birthday • cannot use benefit before age 18, even if he or she has completed high school • are not eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program
Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship • Rules for eligible dependents serving or who have served in the Armed Forces • If the child is eligible under the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty, Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve, and/or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP), then he or she must relinquish eligibility under one of those programs to receive benefits under Post-9/11 GI Bill • A child’s character of discharge from his or her own service does not impact eligibility resulting from the line of duty death of a parent
Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship • Rules for eligible dependents serving or who have served in the Armed Forces • A child on active duty will receive benefits at the active duty benefit rate (eligible for unlimited tuition and fees but not eligible for monthly housing allowance or books and supplies stipend) • A child who meets the service requirements to transfer entitlement under Post-9/11 GI Bill may be eligible to transfer up to 36 months of entitlement to his or her dependents.
Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship • When will benefits be paid? • VA must begin issuing payments under this benefit no later than August 1, 2010. This includes retroactive payments for eligible children enrolled during the period of August 1, 2009, through July 31, 2010. • VA will begin accepting applications for this benefit May 1, 2010, and will begin issuing payments to eligible children by 8/1/10. Children enrolled from 8/1/09 through 7/31/10 may receive retroactive payments for that time.
Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship • Children currently enrolled in school may apply for benefits under VA’s Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program. • The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. • The application for this benefit is available online, and there is a link on the GI Bill website, www.gibill.va.gov. • The link takes the user to VONAPP, the online application. Select VA Form 22-5490, Application for Dependents' Educational Assistance, to apply. • If the son or daughter is under legal age, a parent or guardian must sign the application.
VA News • Beginning the week of Jan. 23, the VA to Begin Recovery of Post-9/11 GI Bill Advance Payments • Notification letters will be sent out explaining the repayment process. • The Department of Veterans Affairs Education Call Center is currently closed on Thursdays and Fridays so that staff can focus on processing education benefit claims. • They will be open for telephone calls Monday through Wednesday during normal business hours from 7:00am to 5:00pm Central Standard Time.
Educational Credits • From Instructions for Form 8863, http://www.irs.gov/instructions/i8863/index.html • Tax-Free Educational Assistance and Refunds of Qualified Education Expenses • Tax-free educational assistance includes a tax-free scholarship or Pell grant or tax-free employer-provided educational assistance. See chapter 1 of Pub. 970 for specific information. • For all credits, you must reduce the total of your qualified education expenses by any tax-free educational assistance and by any refunds of your expenses. If the refund or tax-free assistance is received in the same year in which the expenses were paid or in the following year before you file your tax return, simply reduce your qualified education expenses by the amount received and figure your education credits using the reduced amount of qualified expenses. If the refund or tax-free assistance is received after you file your return for the year in which the expenses were paid, you must recapture (repay) the excess credit. You do this by figuring the amount by which your education credits would have been reduced if the refund or tax-free assistance had been received in the year for which you claimed the education credits. Include that amount as an additional tax for the year the refund or tax-free assistance was received.