Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long does it take the VA to process an original education claim?
A: An original claim is the first education claim you file with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Original claims generally take a longer time to process. You must first start by submitting an application to the VA to activate your benefits. You will be sent a Certificate of Eligibility in the mail from the VA once your benefits have been activated. Bring that document to the Veterans Affairs Coordinator at the school. Once you have done this and enrolled in classes, the VA will be notified of your enrollment status. The VA must gather the information necessary to determine if you are eligible for the benefit. Generally, the average time to process an original claim is 12 to 15 weeks.
Q: How long does it take the VA to process a supplemental or re-opened claim?
A: A supplemental or re-opened claim is any claim or enrollment document filed after the original claim; i.e., changes in program or study, transfer to another training institution. You must still establish contact with the Veterans Affairs Coordinator for the school so they can collect necessary documents and update your file. Generally, the average processing time is 6 to 8 weeks.
Q: When may I expect to receive my first check for fall semester?
A: It is difficult to give a specific time when the first check may be received. Student payments are paid at the end of the month. A first time claim may take longer to process because it cannot be submitted until the student has registered for classes. Continuing students that have pre-registered for the next term and have notified the Veterans Affairs Coordinator for the school should see their payments start on the regular schedule at the beginning of the next term. Please be aware that if you do not notify the Veterans Affairs Coordinator about your enrollment status, your claim cannot be submitted to the VA. The second or third week of October is usually when the first check is sent to students. Keep in mind this time varies and may be later or sooner depending on the volume of work at the VA Regional Processing Office. Be aware that this process is contingent on approval of the University current catalog.
Q: May I receive benefits if I attend on a part-time basis?
A: Yes, you are eligible to receive benefits. Benefits are paid based on your enrollment status. The check will be prorated accordingly.
Q: What if I am already on active duty and must stop school due to a new duty assignment or increased workload? Chapter 30
A: You are entitled to chapter 30 benefits through the date you dropped out of school. If you were called up under title 10 (federal authority), VA will restore the entitlement you were charged for the period that you received benefits. If you were called up under chapter 32 (state authority), you don't receive the entitlement restoration benefit. If you have been overpaid education benefits, VA will not pursue collection action if you are deployed to a combat area.
Q: May I receive benefits during the call-up period?
A: Yes, if you established chapter eligibility before the call-up.
Q: Is there a limit to the number of times I may change my major?
A: No, there is no limit to the number of times you may change your major. Please be aware that changing your major may affect how long it will take you to complete your degree program, and will be using valuable training time. You do not want to make many changes and lose a significant number of credits toward your degree. It is important to stay in contact with your academic advisor regarding your educational goals.
Q: Must I pursue a degree to receive benefits?
A: After being admitted to Winston-Salem State University, a student must be pursuing programs approved under the University Catalog by the State Approving Agency. Currently, Winston-Salem State University is approved for degree programs, and certain certification programs. Please be sure to consult the University Catalog to see if there is a program of study you would like to pursue. Be aware that a student may not simply register for random courses and receive their VA benefits. A student must be fully admitted to Winston-Salem State University to be eligible to receive VA Education Benefits. The only exception would be those students who already have an undergraduate degree and plan to take courses for certification or to earn a license.
Q: Do you know how many months of entitlement I have remaining?
A: We do not have access to this information in our files at WSSU; however, you may call the VA toll free at 1-888-442-4551 to obtain this information.
Q: May I also receive federal financial aid and VA Education Benefits during my enrollment?
A: Yes. Many students are eligible to receive both. You are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to determine your eligibility.
Q: May I receive benefits if I enroll for the summer sessions?
A: If you register for courses required for your degree, you are eligible to receive benefits. You must remember to notify the Veterans Affairs Coordinator about your enrollment during each summer session.
Q: May I receive benefits if I enroll in a foreign training program?
A: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may approve programs offered by institutions outside of the United States. For more information about this, please consult with the Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-888-442-4551. when they are pursued at educational institutions of higher learning and lead to an associate or higher degree, or the equivalent. Courses offered by schools in the Philippines are subject to approval by the Director of the Manila Regional Office. The educational institution you plan to attend should be able to advise you if the program you are interested in pursuing is approved for VA training. You must receive individual approval prior to attending or enrolling in any foreign program.
Q: Where can I get additional information?
A: Go to www.gibill.va.gov if you need more assistance.