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Education and Training

85/15 Frequently Asked Questions

The 85/15 Rule
Reporting Requirements
35 Percent Exemption
Department of Defense (DoD) Exemption
Education Service Waiver
Supported and Non-Supported Students
Restricted Aid
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 school 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:

  • Farm cooperative training courses
  • Flying clubs (also known as "aero clubs") operating under regulations of the Armed Forces as "non-appropriated sundry fund activities”
  • Veterans in pursuit of a program leading to a high school diploma, equivalency certificate, or a refresher, remedial, or deficiency course
  • Educational and training institutions that do not assess tuition, fees, or other mandatory charges [commonly, but not limited to, on-the-job (OJT) and apprenticeship (APP) training facilities]
  • Approved programs offered at accredited educational institutions and vocational flight schools approved under 38 CFR 3672 with a current 35 percent exemption
  • Approved programs with fewer than 10 supported students enrolled 

All other approved programs offered at non-exempted educational and training institutions must comply with 85/15.

Reporting Requirements

When should the school submit reports?

A school that is structured on a term, quarter, or semester basis the routine 85/15 calculations must be provided to VA no later than 30 days after the start of each regular term.

For a school 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.

Due Date

Enrollment Periods Beginning

January 30th

October 1 through December 31

April 30th

January 1 through March 31

July 30th

April 1 through June 30

October 30th

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.

Does an educational and training institution, not organized on a standard term, quarter or semester basis, but instead offers multiple modules during a calendar quarter, have to report one combined 85/15 report or individual 85/15 reports for each module?

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 school is reporting.

Note: This does not apply to those programs typically referred to as “mini-mesters” offered at an otherwise traditionally term-structured institution.

How should a school submit 85/15 reports to VA?

Submit the 85/15 calculations to VA for all approved programs via the Education File Upload Portal 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.

How should a school that participates in centralized certification submit 85/15 reports to VA?

Each approved campus must calculate separately and submit calculations to VA. 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.)

When should a school separate out any alterations to a program?

Anytime there is difference in program attendance, cost, equipment, length, or objective, a separate calculation is required. Some examples are (not limited to):

  • Modality (resident vs. distance)
  • Concentrations
  • Specializations
  • Tracks
  • Emphases

The school offers a dual degree, would they need to report the students enrolled in the dual degree program separately (i.e., separate them out into the respective degrees for reporting)?

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.

Does the school need to calculate guest, non-matriculated or undeclared students?

No. There is no existing requirement to calculate or report guest, non-matriculated or undeclared students.

Are chapter 35 and chapter 31 students included in the calculations for 85/15?

Yes. Both chapter 35 and chapter 31 students are counted as supported students when calculating 85/15.

Are students participating in the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) program counted?

Yes. VRRAP students enrolled in SAA-approved courses are counted as non-supported students for the purposes of 85/15.

If the school does not currently have any VA students, is it still required to submit the 85/15 report?

For schools 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.

What information is the school required to provide for programs with fewer than 10 supported students?

Effective for enrollment periods beginning on or after August 26, 2022, when fewer than 10 supported students are enrolled, any non-accredited school and all schools 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.

  1. List the program name in the "Program Name" block.
  2. In parentheses, immediately following the program name, provide the total number of supported students. Example: BA English (6)
  3. Complete the program line entry by including a dash sign (---) in the next four blocks where no information is required.
  4. Add the date of calculation in the final block where indicated.
  5. Move to the next program entry line.

35 Percent Exemption

What is the difference in calculations for the 35 percent exemption and the 85/15 calculations?

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 a school. 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 school 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. 

Why were 35 percent exemptions rescinded on October 1, 2021?

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.

If a school previously had a 35 percent exemption, after the reset on October 1, 2021, will the school need to apply for a new one?

Yes. 35 percent exemption requests were accepted with the submission of 85/15 enrollment ratios for reporting dates beginning on or after October 1, 2021.

When granted, does the 35 percent exemption expire?

Yes. For all types of schools, the 35 percent exemption expires 24 months from the date of issue.

Does the school have to retain 85/15 calculations if the school has a 35 percent exemption?

Yes. Schools must provide 85/15 calculations for programs not otherwise exempted from provisions of the 85/15 rule whenever requested by VA, SAA, and authorized Government representatives, such as during a compliance survey. Certain periods are excluded from this requirement if the school is accredited or is a vocational flight school approved under 38 CFR 3672.

  • Accredited schools and vocational flight schools approved under 38 CFR 3672 with the 35 percent exemption must retain 85/15 calculations for any enrollment periods beginning prior to August 26, 2022, or prior to the effective date of their 35 percent exemption, whichever date is later.
  • Non-accredited schools with the 35 percent exemption must retain all 85/15 calculations.

Can vocational flight school receive the 35 percent exemption?

Yes. There is no exclusion that would prohibit a vocational flight school from applying for the exemption.

How should a school submit a request for the 35 percent exemption to submitting the 85/15 reports to VA?

Any school interested in requesting the 35 percent exemption should submit the following form to VA.

Non-accredited schools must include the following documents with the 35 percent exemption request:

All forms submitted must correspond with the current reporting period. For schools 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.

Department of Defense (DoD) Exemption

If my school is located on a military installation, are its programs exempt from the 85/15 Rule?

Maybe. The school's approved programs must meet all conditions listed in 38 CFR 21.4201.

  1. They must be offered under contract with the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security.
  2. The school must be located on, or immediately adjacent to, a military base or a facility
  3. The programs must be approved by the State Approving Agency of jurisdiction; AND
  4. They must be available only to:
    • Military personnel and their dependents;
    • Military personnel, their dependents and civilian employees of a base located in a State;
    • Persons authorized by the base commander to attend the program provided the base is located outside the United States; or
    • In the case of a program offered on or immediately adjacent to a facility of the National Guard, the Air National Guard or the Selected Reserve, members of the National Guard, Air National Guard, Selected Reserve and their dependents.

A school interested in confirming that has a Department of Defense exemption must contact its ELR of jurisdiction. The Memorandum of Understanding between the school 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.

Do extension campuses located on a military base qualify for the DoD exemption from 85/15 reporting?

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.

Education Service Waiver

Does a school have to calculate the 85/15 ratios for every semester if you get an Education Service Waiver?

If a program at your school receives an education service waiver, the school 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 school are subject to the 85/15 Rule and the school is required to calculate and report 85/15 enrollment ratios in accordance with normal reporting requirements.

Supported and Non-Supported Students

If a student is awarded payments from another Federal or State agency is the student counted as a supported student?

Use of funds from another Federal or State agency to pay for tuition, fees, and other charges does not make the student supported. Only if the same student receives funds from VA or restricted aid from the educational and training institute in addition to those other funds would the student need to be counted as supported.

If a student is using DoD or DHS Tuition Assistance, or some other type of federally funded program, but is not using any VA benefits or receiving any type of restricted aid from the institution, would they be considered a non-supported student?

A student receiving Federal or State funded assistance ONLY 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.

Some states offer a benefit that is available only after all other benefits, to include VA benefits, are fully exhausted. If the beneficiary is entitled to less than 100 percent benefit level for chapter 33, it would be available to cover the percentage not covered by chapter 33. Should a school count these students as supported if they are receiving this benefit?

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.

Restricted Aid

How can I tell if institutional aid is "restricted aid"?

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.

When determining if aid is restricted, what does "unequal" mean as it relates to institutional aid?

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."

Can a school obligate a student to decline an institutional scholarship to be certified for GI Bill® benefits?

Yes, but all students receiving the scholarship then become supported students.

Are graduate students calculated as non-supported when the student is receiving restricted aid?

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.

Suspension and Review

What is the difference in an 85/15 suspension vs SAA suspension? If the ELR sends a referral to the SAA due to neglect to comply who suspends the facility, the ELR or SAA?

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.

What is the process for a program suspended for a violation of the 85/15 Rule?

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 a school 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.

What if a student's enrollment shouldn't have been certified?

Exceeding the 85/15 ratio prohibits a school 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 a school 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.

When conducting a compliance survey, do surveyors ask for the 85/15 calculations that were last submitted to VA or obtain new calculations?

If programs at the school are not otherwise exempt, the surveyor will request all 85/15 reports for the survey period.

If a 35 percent exemption was recently approved, does the 85/15 calculation need to be reviewed by the surveyor?

Yes, if the school 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 schools and vocational flight schools approved under 38 CFR 3672 will 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