VA Benefits Certification
Please remember to submit your certification card within 10 days of registration to MJC Veterans Services. As a best practice, we encourage you to submit the certification worksheet to our office (VRC/VSO) as soon as you register.
Once you submit the Certification Worksheet to MJC Veterans Services, our office contacts Enrollment Services to inform them that your tuition will be paid for by the V.A. Once you register for courses on your education plan, it is best practice to immediately submit your certification worksheet to the MJC Veteran Services.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the difference between the VSO and the Veterans Affairs Department (VA)?
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is a federal institution that provides and regulates veteran benefits, including educational benefits. The VA determines a student's eligibility for educational benefits. The VA Regional Processing Center is responsible for processing your education benefits. Questions regarding benefits or payments must be directed to the VA. The Veterans Service Office (VSO) is not involved in the disbursement of VA benefit payments.
The VSO is a student services office on campus that acts as a liaison between the student and the VA. In addition to assisting veteran and dependent students with the application for VA educational benefits, the VSO can connect students with on and off campus resources to assist with the transition into the college life. The VSO's School Certifying Official certifies your courses to the VA for processing. If you have any questions regarding the courses that were submitted to the VA for processing or any additional resources to assist you with your education, please contact the VSO.
Why do I need to declare a goal?
The Department of Veterans Affairs require the declaration of an educational objective. An undecided major is accepted for Transfer programs, but only general education courses will be certified for payment.
Can I change my goal?
Yes. You will need to inform the VRC/VSO of this change. You will need to turn in a new educational plan matching the new major. If the change is not effective until the next term, please wait to turn it in when you turn in the Certification Worksheet with the new educational plan for the next term when you're completely registered.
I dropped or added a class this semester. Is there anything I need to do?
Yes. Fill out the Certification Worksheet at the VRC/VSO so your certification can be adjusted. Failure to contact the VRC/VSO could lead to an overpayment or underpayment.
Can I apply for Financial Aid in addition to using by VA Educational Benefits?
Yes, veterans and their dependents can apply for financial aid in addition to using VA Educational Benefits. The VRC/VSO office strongly recommends that all students complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every academic year. By filling out the FAFSA, you will be applying for federal and state student aid such as grants, federal work-study, loans, and the California College Promise Grant (formerly known as the Board of Governors Fee Waiver or BOGW).
I have been certified and still haven't received my payment from the VA. Who do I speak to?
Any concerns regarding payment should be directed to the Department of Veterans Affairs at 888-442-4551. The VRC/VSO has no information on the amount or disbursement of your payments. Payments are typically made during the first week of each month for the training pursued during the previous month. For example, if you attend classes in February, you should expect to receive your payment around the first week of March. Filling out your initial application for benefits the same time you turn in a certification request can cause delays on processing payment with the VA even if your classes have already been certified for the term. Also, you will need to consider when you turn in your certification request in the VRC/VSO. Submitting your documents to the VRC/VSO late can delay your certification and, as a result, your payment may also be late.
When will my benefits be effective?
Benefits are effective the first day of the term being certified and will remain effective until the end of the certified term.
When will I get paid and for how much?
You will get paid depending on when you get certified and when the VA processes your payment. The sooner you turn in your paperwork, the sooner it will get processed. Once you file your initial application for education benefits and the VA establishes a file on your behalf, the subsequent processing usually takes 30-45 days. Peak periods for certification request, such as the start of the semester may cause a longer processing time, so it will also depend on when you turn in the Certification Request Forms. Assuming you turned in your paperwork in a timely manner, you should get your first payment on the first week of each month for the training you earned the previous month. How much will depend on your rating (e.g. for Post 9/11 students, it can be anywhere from 40% to 100%) and how many days of training/school days there was the previous month. However, payment questions should ALWAYS be addressed to the VA by calling them at 1-888-442-4551. They will be able to tell you specifics on how much you should be able to get.
Why haven't I been certified yet?
New and Continuing students must always turn in the Certification Request Worksheet
after the student registers for approved classes. Also, it will depend on when this
form was turned in. It could take up to 4 weeks to get a student certified during
peak periods. There may be other issues about your certification, so please check
with the VRC/VSO office to see if there are pending documents that may be causing
delays on your certification (ex: Pending ed plans, transcripts, etc.) It is important
that the email and phone information are up to date in your VRC/VSO file in case a
staff member contacts you with any issues regarding your certification.
Students should ALWAYS turn in their certification request forms as soon as the Registration opens. This ensures that certification gets submitted in a timely manner to the VA.