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Education and Training

Understanding Your Award Letter

This step-by step guide will help you understand your Award Letter, including next steps to obtain your benefits. In most cases, you can use either an Award Letter or a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to prove eligibility to your school.

Also see Understanding your Certificate of Eligibility

Every document you receive from VA will be unique to your case, so please use the following information for advisory purposes only.

Eligibility Percentage Tuition and Fees Housing Books and Supplies
Remaining Benefits Change in Class Schedule Appealing Decision Questions

Section: What Our Records Show

Eligibility Percentage

This section describes the percentage of benefits you’re entitled to and the service information used to calculate that percentage.

If your benefits percentage is less than 100 percent, the VA only pays the equivalent portion for tuition, books, and housing benefits. For example, if your benefit was calculated at 70 percent, the VA only pays 70 percent of your tuition bill; you would be expected to cover the remaining 30 percent of the cost. Assuming you’re enrolled at more than half-time, this means the VA only pays 70 percent of the housing cost based on where your facility is located.  See the current payment rate tables.

From a Template Award Letter

ELIGIBILITY PERCENTAGE

Our records show, as of January 15, 2021 you are entitled to receive 100% of the benefits payable under the Post-9/11 GI Bill program. We determined this percentage based on your length of creditable active duty service. We based our decision on the following service information:

Begin Date

End Date

Service Length (in days)

Training Length (in days)

Total (Service/Training)

01/01/2010

05/15/2010

135

0

135

Total:

135

0

135

 

Section: What Benefits Will You Receive

Tuition and Fees

This section lists information related to your tuition and fees, to include:

   ● Certified school or training program enrollment
   ● Tuition charges and what amount the VA will pay to your school based on your benefits percentage

If your enrollment information is incorrect, you can have your school make a correction.

From a Template Award Letter

TUITION AND FEES

As of October 22, 2020 you are entitled to receive 100% of the amount(s) payable under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND GLOBAL CAMPUS certified that you were charged $1,500.00 for 6 credit hours, which consists of 6 distance and 0 residence hours for the term dates October 22, 2020 through December 16, 2020.

We issued a tuition and fees payment to your school(s) on your behalf in the amount of $1,500.00 for the academic year beginning August 1, 2020 and ending July 31, 2021.

Monthly Housing Allowance

This section shows the amount of the housing benefit you can receive based on your benefits percentage. There are several important takeaways:

  • You must be enrolled more than half-time to receive any housing benefit.
  • Your housing payment is based on where your facility is located, not the main campus.
  • If you are taking online classes or training, you’ll be paid a different amount than if your classes are in-person or hybrid.
  • You will likely not receive the listed amount every month because your monthly housing payment is prorated from the amount shown based on the number of days per month you’re enrolled in classes.

From a Template Award Letter

MONTHLY HOUSING ALLOWANCE

Your monthly housing allowance payable under the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) is as follows:

Since you are eligible at the 100% rate you will receive –

$916.50 a month for each full month of training during the certified period beginning October 22, 2020 and ending December 16, 2020 (38 CFR 21.9640; 38 CFR 21.9560; 38 CFR 21.9680; 38 USC 3313).

You will receive a prorated amount for any partial months of training.

NOTE: Section 113 of the Forever GI Bill, and Public Law 115-62, requires VA to prorate the monthly housing allowance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill for everyone who enters or is released from Active Duty (AD) during an enrollment period beginning on or after August 1, 2018.

NOTE: Section 107 of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, requires VA to determine your in residence monthly housing allowance based on where you physically attend the majority of your classes. The rate provided is based on information received from your school. Please contact your School Certifying Official if you have specific questions regarding the certification of your attendance.

Books and Supplies Stipend

This section shows your stipend amount for books and supplies. It will only be included if you are entitled to a books and supplies stipend. The amount of your stipend is based on enrollment. Half of the overall amount will be paid each semester.

From a Template Award Letter

BOOKS AND SUPPLIES STIPEND

For training at an Institute of Higher Learning (IHL), VA pays a portion of the books and supplies stipend for each credit hour pursued during the year up to 24 credit hours. Your school(s) certified that you were enrolled in multiple terms for a total of 6 credit hours.

We sent you an aggregate payment of $500.00 for books and supplies.

Remaining Benefits

Every semester or term, you should receive a new award letter. This section shows your remaining entitlement and the time limit on your GI Bill benefits.

You must use all your benefits by this time or lose what’s left. This will help you know if you will be able to finish your education or training by the time your benefits run out.

In most cases, your GI Bill entitlements are charged according to the training time. For example, training full-time for 4 months means you use 4 months of entitlement. If you are training at one-half time for 4 months, you use 2 months of entitlement.

If you are enrolled in an apprenticeship or on-the-job training program, your entitlement is charged according to the amount of benefits you’re receiving. Click here for more information.

If you’re enrolled in an accelerated training program, your entitlement is charged based on the amount of benefits you use.

From a Template Award Letter

REMAINING BENEFITS

You have 21 months and 7 days remaining (38 USC 3312). You will remain eligible under the Post-9/11 GI Bill until May 16, 2025 (38 USC 3321).


Section: What You Must Do

In most cases, you can use either a COE or your most recent Award Letter to prove eligibility to your school. This section explains what you must do if you:

  • Have a change of enrollment
  • Drop or withdraw from a class
  • Don’t attend classes or the training programs

In some of these instances, you may create a debt to the VA if you’re overpaid for tuition, books, or housing. Click here for additional information about debts to the VA

From a Template Award Letter

To assist VA in paying you correctly, you must promptly notify your school's veterans certifying official and VA if there is any change in your enrollment (38 CFR 21.9635; 38 CFR 21.9675). Generally, we can't pay you for:

  • Courses you do not attend or withdraw from.
  • Courses you complete but receive a grade which will not count towards graduation.
  • Changes in active duty status.

If you have a change of enrollment which resulted in an overpayment of tuition and fees or Yellow Ribbon, you may see that debt indicated as a tuition and fee or Yellow Ribbon debt amount to be collected.  However, VA will not collect the tuition and fee or Yellow Ribbon debt from you.   Rather, VA will collect this amount from your school. (Authority 38 U.S.C. 3685(b)) In turn, your school may require you to pay them any outstanding balance for tuition and fees or Yellow Ribbon.  VA will not manage your tuition and fee or Yellow Ribbon debts anymore - schools will hold these debts.  You will have to go through your school if you owe money for dropping a class or withdrawing from school. The school may be reaching out to you for the debt. It is important that you contact the school and work through any issues.

For additional information regarding debts, please visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/resources/education_resources/debt_info.asp

Section:  What You Should Do If You Disagree With Our Decision

This section explains your options for appealing the COE if you disagree with any part of the decision. The VA form mentioned in this section (20-0998, Your Rights to Seek Further Review of Our Decision) is attached at the end of the letter.

Please click on each link below to access and download applications:

From a Template Award Letter

If you do not agree with this decision, you have one year from the date of this letter to select a review option to preserve your earliest effective benefit date. The review options and their proper applications are as follows, for a(n):

  • Supplemental Claim, complete VA Form 20-0995, Decision Review Request: Supplemental Claim
  • Higher-Level Review, complete VA Form 20-0996, Decision Review Request: Higher-Level Review
  • Appeal to the Board, complete VA Form 10182, Decision Review Request: Board Appeal (Notice of Disagreement)

Please see the enclosed VA Form 20-0998, Your Rights to Seek Further Review of Our Decision. It explains your options for an additional review. You may obtain any of the required applications by downloading them from www.va.gov/vaforms/ or by contacting us at 1 (888) GI BILL 1 (1-888-442-4551). You can also learn more about the disagreement process at www.va.gov/decision-reviews. If you would like to obtain or access evidence used in making this decision, please contact us as noted below. Some evidence may be obtained by signing in at www.va.gov.


Section:  If You Have Questions or Need Assistance

This section lists different ways you can reach out to ask questions, and it provides contact information for other useful resources.

Website www.va.gov
VA Forms www.va.gov/vaforms
Frequently Asked Questions https://gibill.custhelp.va.gov/app/answers/list
Ask A Question:
Include your full name and VA file number
https://gibill.custhelp.va.gov/app/
Mailing Address:
Include your full name and VA file number on the inside of mailed correspondence (not on envelope)
See address at the top of this letter
Education Call Center 1-888-GI-BILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) (inside the U.S)
001-918-781-5678 (outside the U.S.)
TTY, Federal Relay 711
Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 and press 1
VA Regional Office Location www.va.gov/find-locations
GI Bill® Comparison Tool:
This tool allows you to get information on a school’s value and affordability; and to compare estimated benefits by school.
www.va.gov/gi-bill-comparison-tool