Covid-19 Information Affecting Education Benefits for Students
As you may be aware, special Covid-19 rules impacting your Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits have been extended to December 21, 2021. Among other things, these rules mean that if you pursue resident (physically in person) courses converted to online solely due to Covid-19 at a rate of pursuit more than 50%, you will continue to receive the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) rate for resident training. To help you better understand these rules and find answers to many of your questions, please see the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) recently updated Student Covid-19 FAQs. If you have specific questions around enrolment or classes, please reach out to me or call VA’s GI Bill hotline at 888-442-4551.
Veterans Affairs (VA) Educational Funding is a benefit paid to former US service personnel to fund their education or the education of a close family member.
As a US Veteran, you can use your Chapter 33 (post-9/11 GI Bill) and Chapter 35 benefits to fund your studies at BU.
Distance or online learning are not eligible for VA funding at foreign schools outside of the US. Please see above for Covid-19 exemptions until December 2021.
BU has been approved to process VA benefits with the US Department of Veterans Affairs. However, we are unable to process the Yellow Ribbon Benefits Program.
Who is eligible for VA Educational Funding?
To apply for VA benefits, you must be one of the following:
- US Veteran
- US Veteran’s dependent
- The surviving spouse, child or parent of a deceased veteran
- Uniformed service member
- Present or former reservist or National Guard member.
Please contact the US Department of Veterans Affairs directly to find out if you are eligible. We are unable to assess your eligibility for this benefit.
BU courses approved by the US Department of Veterans Affairs
In order to receive funding for overseas study, the course you are applying for needs to be approved by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
BU already has several courses that have been approved by the department. They are:
- BA (Hons) Film Production & Cinematography
- BSc (Hons) Forensic Science
- MA 3D Computer Animation
- MA Multimedia Journalism
- MA Social Work
- MBA Master of Business Administration
- MSc Cyber Security & Human Factors
- MSc Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship
- MSc Maritime Archaeology
- MSc Marketing Management
What to do if the course you want to study is not listed above
If the course you want to study is not one of those listed above, you must:
- Apply for your BU course
- Once you have your unconditional offer from BU, contact the Federal Aid Administrator at BU to provide your:
- full name and family name
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- date of birth
- Chapter of Benefits
- full US address
- BU student reference number (starting with 5).
- We will then contact the Department of Veterans Affairs to register your course for approval. The approval process can take several weeks, so it is important that you contact us as soon as you receive your unconditional offer letter to get the process started. To be eligible, a course must be on-campus only: distance learning, online or independent study courses at foreign schools are NOT eligible for this funding. Please see above for Covid-19 exemptions until December 2021.
How to apply for VA benefits
Before you can begin the application process
- you must confirm your own eligibility for VA funding
- your course must be approved by VA (see list above).
You then need to follow these steps:
- Review the VA Get started decision making tools page
- Submit your application online via the US Department of Veterans Affairs or request a paper form by calling 1-888-442-4551. If you are approved, VA will send you a Certificate of Eligibility Letter
- If you intend to pay for your tuition fees with VA funding, you MUST email email@example.com with all of the following:
- scanned copy of your Certificate of Eligibility Letter
- official proof of how much of your VA funding you have used to date: a screenshot from the VA website showing your individual entitlement is sufficient
- confirm any previous time period when you have received VA funding
- your full name (first, middle and last name)
- your Social Security Number (SSN)
- your date of birth
- your Chapter of Benefits
- your full US address
- your BU student reference number (starting with 5).
- We will use all the above information to consider whether this is enough evidence of sponsorship
- If this is accepted, we will be able to certify your enrolment at BU with the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Without this, your benefits will not be released.
- It’s very important that you contact us as soon as your Certificate of Eligibility letter is sent out. The US Department of Veterans Affairs will not inform BU that you have applied for your VA benefits, which is why we need you to contact us directly.
- Please note:
- we are not able to certify any student enrolment earlier than 120 days before the course start date
- we are responsible for promptly informing VA of any enrolment change and any change due to unsatisfactory academic progress, conduct or attendance.
How and when will you receive your funds?
The US Department of Veterans Affairs can only pay your maintenance benefits into your US bank account. It will be your responsibility to transfer them to your UK bank account so that you can access them.
Your tuition fee payments will be made directly to BU by the US Department of Veterans Affairs after the enrolment certificate has been submitted. If, after your fees have been covered, there is any remaining balance, BU will raise a GBP £ cheque and pass this on to you.
Currently, the US Department of Veterans Affairs does not provide a timeframe of when students will receive their funding once the enrolment certificate has been submitted. Due to data protection laws, VA will never share your funding details with BU. We will not, therefore, be able to assist if you have specific queries about your funding. If you have any questions about the payment of your benefits, you must contact the US Department of Veterans Affairs directly.
Is there anything else you need to know?
Because we cannot guarantee that your tuition fees will be paid in part or in whole by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, you must have sufficient funds to cover any shortfall between the funding you receive and the tuition fees you are expected to pay.
You will also need to have sufficient funds to cover the cost of your tuition fees and living expenses in the UK to apply for a Student visa with the UKVI. Your VA funding will not be accepted as proof that you can financially support yourself during your time in the UK.