The 85/15 Rule
35 Percent Exemption
Department of Defense (DoD) Exemption
Education Service Waiver
Supported and Non-Supported Students
Suspension and Review
The 85/15 Rule
What is the purpose of the 85 Percent Rule?
The 85 percent rule, or 85/15 rule, requires that a minimal number of non-Veterans find a program worthwhile and valuable or the payment of Federal funds to Veterans who enroll in the program will not be authorized. This rule prohibits Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from paying benefits to students enrolling in a program when more than 85 percent of the students enrolled in that program are having any portion of their tuition, fees, or other mandatory charges paid for them by the educational and training institution (ETI) or by VA under Title 38 and Title 10. When the ratio of supported students to non-supported students exceeds 85 percent, only students maintaining continuous enrollment may continue to receive benefits for that program.
The provisions of the 85/15 rule do not apply to:
All other approved programs offered at non-exempted educational and training institutions must comply with 85/15.
An ETI that is structured on a term, quarter, or semester basis the routine 85/15 calculations must be provided to the Education Liaison Representative (ELR) of jurisdiction no later than 30 days after the start of each regular term.
If an ETI that is structured on a non-term basis, the previous quarter’s 85/15 calculations must be submitted to the ELR of jurisdiction no later than 30 days after the beginning of each calendar quarter. For VA purposes these calendar quarters align with the quarters of VA’s Fiscal Year.
Enrollment Periods Beginning
October 1 through December 31
January 1 through March 31
April 1 through June 30
July 1 through September 30
Calculations for an educational institution not structured on a term basis must be submitted for all enrollment periods in the previous calendar quarter. One comprehensive calculation is not acceptable, each individual enrollment period must be individually calculated and reported.
The ELR of jurisdiction can confirm your schedule will meet requirements.
When calculating 85/15 for programs offered on a non-term basis (i.e., modular, cohort, etc.) the school administrators will review and report on all students enrolled in a program at the start of each module or cohort. The submission of these multiple reports is due within 30 days of the end of the quarter. This submission must include separate reports for all enrollment periods beginning during the quarter upon which the ETI is reporting.
Note: This does not apply to those programs typically referred to as “mini-mesters” offered at an otherwise traditionally term-structured institution.
Submit the 85/15 calculations to the ELR of jurisdiction for the ETI via email using the:
Note: The VA Form 22-10215a is a continuation of the primary form. It is only to be used if you need additional space and will not be accepted in place of the VA Form 22-10215.
For schools offering vocational flight programs, a Statement of Assurance of Compliance with 85 Percent Ratios for Vocational Flight is currently in review. VA will accept 85/15 reporting in the format currently in use until such time as the VA format for this vocational flight program data collection is approved.
Each approved campus must calculate separately and submit calculations to the ELR having jurisdiction over the campus upon which the report is based. Note: With few exceptions, extension campuses are not approved independently of the parent campus. Enrollments in programs where some or all the courses are taken at an extension campus that does NOT maintain administrative capability must be reported under the parent campus facility code. (An "extension campus" is an approved teaching site, not a separately approved branch campus, and is identified as an extension campus with a letter "X" as the third character in the VA-issued facility code. Teaching sites are not approved independently of a parent campus.)
Anytime there is difference in program attendance, cost, equipment, length, or objective, a separate calculation is required. Some examples are (not limited to):
Maybe. If the dual degree is approved by the State Approving Agency (SAA) of jurisdiction as a single program, then the students would only be counted in that one single program that awards a dual degree. However, if a student is enrolled in multiple degrees, in the case that the multiple degrees are not approved by the SAA as a single program, just as we would for dual majors, the student must be counted in each separately approved program under which that student is pursuing a degree-this is true for both supported and non-supported students–and is counted as a full-time or part-time student under each degree program based on the total number of credits the student is pursuing during the enrollment period.
No. There is no existing requirement to calculate or report guest, non-matriculated or undeclared students.
Yes. Both chapter 35 and chapter 31 students are counted as supported students when calculating 85/15.
Yes. VET-TEC students enrolled in SAA-approved courses are counted as supported students for the purposes of 85/15.
Yes. VRRAP students enrolled in SAA-approved courses are counted as non-supported students for the purposes of 85/15.
For ETIs not otherwise exempted from the 85/15 rule, all program names, alterations and their supported student enrollments must listed on the Statement of Assurance of Compliance with 85 Percent Enrollment Ratios, VA Form 22-10215. The 85/15 enrollment calculations are required for all approved programs with 10 or more supported students enrolled, even in situations where there are no VA beneficiaries in a program.
Effective for enrollment periods beginning on or after August 26, 2022, when fewer than 10 supported students are enrolled, any non-accredited ETI and ETIs without a 35 percent exemption must continue to use the current version of VA Form 22-10215 and 22-10215a to monitor and, when required, report 85/15 ratios to VA.
35 percent exemption calculations are based on the overall percentage of the total enrollment of students who are Veterans, eligible persons, and reservists receiving assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapters 30, 31, 32, 33, 35 and 36, and 10 U.S.C. chapter 1606, and are based on actual student enrollment.
Example: 100 students are enrolled at an ETI. Of these, 25 students use assistance under Title 38 and Title 10 (i.e., “VA beneficiaries”). By dividing the number of VA beneficiaries by the total student enrollment (25 ÷ 100 = .25), the calculation for this ETI is 25%.
More information on how to perform this calculation are provided on the exemption request form.
85/15 calculations are based on the percentage of supported vs. non-supported students and are based on full time equivalency. Full time equivalency is determined by training time, not rate of pursuit like Post-9/11 benefits.
Example: Student enrolled in 9 credit hours would equal 3/4 training when weighting the value of the student in the report.
Instructions on how to calculate full-time equivalency are on the Full-time Equivalency webpage.
Reviews conducted by VA of 85/15 compliance found that a number of schools were not correctly computing the ratio of supported to non-supported students, especially schools with a generally applicable 35 percent exemption.
Yes. 35 percent exemption requests are accepted with the submission of 85/15 enrollment ratios for reporting dates beginning on or after October 1, 2021.
Yes. For all types of educational and training institutions, the 35 percent exemption expires 24 months from the date of issue.
Yes. ETI must provide 85/15 calculations when requested by VA, SAA, and authorized Government representatives, such as during a compliance survey. Certain periods are excluded from this requirement if the ETI is accredited or is a vocational flight school.
Yes. There is no exclusion that would prohibit a vocational flight school from applying for the exemption.
Any ETI interested in requesting the 35 percent exemption should submit the following form to the ELR of jurisdiction via email.
Non-accredited ETIs must include the following documents with the 35 percent exemption request:
For schools offering vocational flight programs, a Statement of Assurance of Compliance with 85 Percent Ratios for Vocational Flight is currently under review. VA will accept the reports in the format currently in use until such time as the VA format for this vocational flight program data collection is approved.
All forms submitted must correspond with the current reporting period. For ETIs organized on a non-term basis, the exemption request is tied to the last enrollment period beginning during the period the report is being submitted.
Not necessarily. The ETI must meet all conditions listed in 38 CFR 21.4201.
An ETI interested in confirming that has a Department of Defense exemption must contact its ELR of jurisdiction. The Memorandum of Understanding between the ETI and the Unit, or Base, Commander is typically the only document needed to confirm of this exemption. You will receive written confirmation of the DoD exemption from VA for your records.
If it meets all the requirements listed in 38 CFR 21.4201 and maintains its own administrative capabilities, an extension campus may qualify for a DoD exemption.
If your ETI receives an education service waiver, the ETI does not need to comply with 85/15 limitations for only the program(s) explicitly listed in the waiver letter for the period specified. Any other approved programs offered at the ETI are subject to the 85/15 Rule and the ETI is required to calculate and report 85/15 enrollment ratios in accordance with normal reporting requirements.
Use of funds from another Federal or State agency to pay for tuition, fees, and other charges does not make the student supported. If the same student receives funds from VA or restricted aid from the educational and training institute in addition to those other funds, the student would only then be counted as supported.
A student receiving Federal or State funded assistance alone would be considered non-supported.
If the student is receiving multiple types of aid and any of it is supported, the student must be counted as a supported student.
State grants, such as those available under the Hazelwood Act, Illinois Veterans Grant, the California College Promise Grant, are considered third party aid. Students receiving third party aid and no other aid that would require they be counted as supported students, are considered non-supported.
If the aid somehow disqualifies all students receiving VA benefits, all students in receipt of the aid must be counted as supported students.
If students receiving GI Bill® benefits can access the aid, without having to relinquish their GI Bill benefits, then the aid is considered unrestricted and other students receiving that aid can be counted non-supported students.
If the terms for awarding institutional aid, either in writing OR in application, serve to exclude VA beneficiaries from receiving that aid, then the aid is considered to be "unequal."
Yes, but all students receiving the scholarship then become supported students.
Graduate students in receipt of institutional aid are considered non-supported for purposes of 85/15 calculations. Graduate students who meet other supported student criteria (i.e., are using GI Bill® benefits) must be counted as supported students.
The ELR suspends a program for payment because of 85/15 violation. SAA suspends approval for failure to produce records. A program can be suspended for both at the same time.
If a violation occurs, the program is given a payment suspension (which should not be confused with an approval suspension). This payment suspension means that payment for certifications will automatically be denied for any newly enrolling VA beneficiaries receiving benefits under Title 38 or Title 10 (except those VA beneficiaries utilizing chapters 31 and 35).
Continuously enrolled VA beneficiary students may continue to be certified for a program suspended for 85/15 provided they were enrolled in, and attending, the program during the previous term without a break in enrollment (a break over a summer term at an ETI organized on a quarter, semester, or term-basis is not considered a break in enrollment).
The 85/15 suspension alone does not affect the approval of the program as SAA maintain program approval authority.
Exceeding the 85/15 ratio prohibits an ETI from certifying any new supported students. If the program exceeds 85 percent enrollment of supported students at the beginning of the term, no additional supported students may be certified until the program is compliant.
Note: If on compliance it is found that an ETI certified a supported student when the overall enrollment ratio of supported students already exceeded 85 percent, then the surveyor will review for patterns of this type of occurrence. Multiple or habitual occurrences would be identified as a risk factor and would require a full review of the institution, which may lead to a referral for school liability, and/or investigation to identify possible fraud.
If the ETI is not otherwise exempt, the surveyor will request all 85/15 reports for the survey period.
Yes, if the ETI is non-accredited. The 35 percent exemption does not de-obligate the school from calculating 85/15 for each enrollment period and producing those reports during a compliance survey. Accredited ETIs and vocational flight schools will only need to provide reports for enrollment periods that begin prior to August 26, 2022 or prior to the effective date of the exemption, whichever date is later.
|Additional 85/15 Webpages|
|The 85/15 Rule||Full-Time Equivalency||Suspension and Review|
|Restricted Aid||Supported and Non-Supported Students||Reporting Requirements|
|35 Percent Exemption||DoD Exemption||Education Service Waiver|