Missouri State University
Veteran Student Services Blog

VA and the elusive summer “full time” status

Many students have asked us…what is “full-time” during the summer term according to the VA? This is a tricky question due to multiple available sessions and VA’s evaluation of credit based on start/end dates. Missouri State typically offers 4 standard terms and several non-standard short courses/workshops during the summer. It’s important to note that the VA only pays for the days you are actually enrolled in classes.

VA has a somewhat confusing chart available which can help you determine your rate of pursuit during the summer. I’m pasting it below for your reference.

Summer Enrollment Chart

Here’s an example. Let’s say Sally Benefit Recipient is enrolled for summer classes 2013. She wants to know whether she’ll be full-time. Her class schedule looks like this:

REC 490         3 credits          06/10/2013-08/02/2013

REC 360         3 credits          06/10/2013-07/11/2013

 

According to Sally’s academic advisor she is considered “full-time” for the summer session because the University and the Financial Aid office look solely at term (Summer 2013) and total credits (6). The VA is a little different and they evaluate start/end dates for her courses. When we certify her enrollment to VA and report the start/end dates the VA will consider Sally “full time” only between 06/10/2013 and 07/11/2013. After her Session 2 course ends she will drop to “half-time” for VA monthly payments. Sally must be continuously enrolled in 6 credit hours to maintain her full-time pay. Her option would be to add a Session 4 course which would begin on 07/08/2013-08/03/2013 in order to maintain her full-time status.

Summer benefits can be very confusing. Our office in Carrington Hall 314 is open M-F 8am-5pm and can help you determine your rate of pursuit for VA educational benefits.

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VA Debt Letters

Since 2009 when the “New GI Bill” also known as Post 9/11 (Chapter 33) became effective the way payments are made for VA education benefits has changed. Under the new program VA sends a tuition/fee payment directly to the school and in some cases an overpayment occurs. Overpayment can occur in a variety of ways; if you drop a class, change your class schedule or if your eligibility or entitlement changes mid-semester are among the most common reasons student-veterans at MSU experience an overpayment.

In order to mitigate payment delays and common billing issues for our Post 9/11 recipients Missouri State University uses a third-party billing system which “pre-pays” your tuition and handles all VA tuition/fee payments. This system allows consistency in payments for our Post 9/11 recipients but limits our ability to send refunds directly to students using this benefit when you drop a class during the refund schedule. If the VA determines that an overpayment has been made for tuition/fees because of a dropped class you may receive a debt letter from VA requesting that you send a portion or all of your tuition payment back to VA. If you do not make arrangements to pay this debt they can and will withhold your BAH or in some cases your social security/disability compensation until the debt has been satisfied.

The easiest and most effective way to handle these tuition/fee debt letters is to provide a copy of the letter to our office.We can investigate the debt on your behalf and in many cases pay the tuition/fee debt for you before they begin deducting your personal payments. Our third-party billing system makes it difficult to get refunds to you but overpayments can be returned to VA. You should recieve two letters, one from St. Louis Regional Processing Office and a second from Debt Management Center in St. Paul, MN. When you receive both letters please bring them to Carrington Hall 314. Before our school can send any money back to VA we must have both letters (one has a tear off slip) on file.

It is important that you keep your mailing address up to date with VA and ensure that you open all letters from VA so that debts can be handled in a timely manner. If you ever have questions regarding a debt with VA you can contact our office. We’re happy to help in anyway that we can!

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Missouri State is military friendly!

Military Friendly logoFor the second year in a row, Missouri State University was named a military friendly school by Victory Media, the parent company of G.I. Jobs Magazine. The 2013 list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s service members and veterans as students.

Inclusion on the list is based on a survey of more than 12,000 schools nationwide, which focused on the recruitment of students with military experience through scholarships, organizations, staffing and military credit for those who served. A total of 1,739 institutions were included on this year’s list, which will be highlighted in the annual “Guide to Military Friendly Schools” distributed to active and former military personnel, and G.I. Jobs, Military Spouse and Vetrepreneur magazines.

Read more about this honor on the News website.

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Mark your calendar for Veteran Appreciation Week

Veteran Student Services will host Missouri State’s first annual Veteran Appreciation Week Nov. 5-10. This week will be filled with great events that celebrate the contributions that our military veterans and active duty personnel have made to the nation and our campus.

More information

Details about the daily activities of Veteran Appreciation Week will be posted here and on our Facebook page as they come available. Check back often!

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