➢ How do I apply for benefits?

You will need to complete the V.A. Educational Benefits Application HERE. After you submit your application, you will receive a Certificate of Eligibility from the V.A. in the mail within 30 days. Once you receive this document:

  1. Please provide the Office of Veteran Services with a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility.
  2. You will then need to request that your enrollment at FSW be certified to the V.A. by submitting a Veteran Deferment Form. V.A. benefits cannot be processed without this request. The Veteran Deferment Form is completed through your Student Portal under the Home Tab, at the bottom of the page under “additional links.”

If you have used previously used your V.A. benefits at another institution, you will need to complete a Request of Change of Program or Place of Training Form:

VA Form 22-1995 (For Veterans)

VA Form 22-5495 (For Dependents)

➢ When should students expect to receive B.A.H. (Housing Allowance) payments?

Disbursement of payments varies by benefit chapter. The Department of Veteran Affairs typically pays on the first of every month for the previous month. For example, you’ll receive a check in February for the month of January, meaning that you will not receive your housing allowance until the month following your classes being certified by a School Certifying Official.

For the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding payment dates and amounts, students should always contact the GI Bill® Education Hotline. They can be reached at 1-888-442-4551.

➢ How does the Veteran Deferment Form work?

Students must submit a Veteran Deferment Form via their Student Portal every semester. Once the form runs through its various checks for registration, courses, and eligibility, you will be notified via email if your request was approved or denied.

Please note that a deferment is not a method of payment. The deferment allows our office to extend the tuition due date, allowing the V.A. or student an extended period of time to send payment. It is the student’s responsibility to submit this form every semester AND whenever there is any kind of changes made to your schedule (add/drop/withdraw from a course). In the event that the V.A. does not pay, the student remains responsible for payment of the associated tuition and fees of their enrollment. Please click HERE for more information.

➢ What must a V.A. student do in order to receive V.A. education benefits?

Students must be working toward an approved degree or certification program in order to receive V.A. benefits. Once the Veteran Deferment Form is received, Academic Advising will review the student’s schedule to ensure all classes the student plans to take are required for their chosen degree. This will avoid the possibility of overpayment for classes not required. Students will not be paid for courses repeated to earn a higher grade unless they receive a grade that is not considered “passing.”

➢ Are students utilizing V.A. benefits entitled to priority registration?

Yes, veterans are granted priority registration. Please see the Official College Calendar for specific dates and the most up to date information: FSW Academic Calendars.

➢ Does the V.A. Office at FSW offer Work-Study opportunities?

The VA work-study allowance is available to persons receiving V.A. approved funding for at least 3/4-time basis under the following programs:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill®— (38 U.S.C. Chapter 33) (Veterans and transfer-of-entitlement recipients)
  • Montgomery GI Bill®—Active Duty (38 U.S.C. Chapter 30)
  • REAP Participants
  • Montgomery GI Bill®—Selected Reserve (10 U.S.C. Chapter 1606)
  • Post-Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program (38 U.S.C. Chapter 32)
  • Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (38 U.S.C. Chapter 35)
  • Eligible dependents under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35 may use work-study only while training in a State
  • National Call to Service Participants
  • Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Program — (38 U.S.C. Chapter 31)

As a work-study student, you will earn an hourly wage equal to the federal minimum wage or your State minimum wage, whichever is greater. If you are interested in applying for V.A. work-study, please reach out to Steve or Ian for more details.

➢ Will I still receive V.A. benefits if a portion of my tuition and fees is already met through state or institutional waivers?

The VA is considered the last method of payment. If you are awarded a scholarship or any other aid that is specific to tuition and fees, the remaining portion is what will be reported to the V.A. when using the Post-9/11 GI Bill®. This also includes employee tuition scholarships and waivers. For example: Your tuition and fees are $1,000. You are receiving a scholarship for tuition and fees for $500. The amount our office would report to the V.A. is the remaining unpaid portion of $500.

➢ I am eligible for financial aid; can I use it alongside my V.A. benefits?

Yes. We encourage all students to complete a FAFSA application. Scholarships and grants do not need to be paid back. There are additional expenses such as books, housing, etc., that financial aid can oftentimes cover when V.A. benefits do not. Our dedicated Financial Aid team is available to answer any questions you may have and assist you in explaining your options with any aid package you’ve been offered.

➢ What do I need to be aware of as a student transferring to FSW?

A transfer student must have transcripts from previous colleges forwarded to Florida SouthWestern State College prior to transferring, including Military Transcripts. The Veterans Administration (V.A.) must give credit for all previous credits earned. The VA requires that we evaluate all transcripts, including the Joint Service Transcripts, within a student’s first two semesters. Failure to have the certification finalized will delay the veteran’s benefit check(s). You can find instructions on how to request your J.S.T. transcripts HERE.

➢ I have used my V.A. education benefits at another institution. How do I transfer them to FSW?

To change from one school or training program to another, individuals receiving benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, MGIB-AD, MGIB-SR, VEAP, or REAP will need to submit a VA Form 22-1995 “Request for Change of Program or Place of Training” to the Regional Processing Office serving your state.

Individuals receiving benefits under the Dependents Educational Assistance Program will need to submit VA Form 22-5495. Upon completing these forms, please be sure to provide the Office of Veteran Services at FSW your confirmation number for our records.

➢ What is Veteran Readiness and Employment?

Veteran Readiness and Employment (previously known as V.A. Vocational Rehabilitation) serves students with service-connected disabilities who need to change job fields in order to and other items necessary for attendance at FSW. The Vocational Rehabilitation Program is designed to assist veterans toward a goal in finding suitable employment. More information is available HERE.

➢ I’m in the Florida National Guard and I’ve heard they will pay for my tuition. How do I access that program?

Recommended Florida National Guard enlistees may be eligible for funding under Florida's tuition assistance program Educational Dollars for Duty (EDD). Contact the Florida National Guard Education Services Office. Once approved, please provide your EDD Authorization Form to the Bursar's Office on the Lee Campus.

➢ What are the Standards of Academic Progress for students utilizing V.A. benefits at FSW?

Veterans are required to meet the same standards of academic progress as all students at FSW. Students are considered in Good Academic Standing if they earn and maintain a 2.0 or higher cumulative GPA. Students who do not maintain a 2.0 may be place on Academic Warning. Students who do not earn a cumulative or term GPA of 2.0 or higher while on Academic Warning are placed on Academic Probation for one semester and will have to work with their advisor prior to registering for future semesters. Students who do not earn a 2.0 term GPA while on Academic Probation are suspended for one semester. Students may petition their suspension to continue their enrollment by completing an Academic Progress Petition obtained from the Florida SouthWestern State College advising web-page at www.fsw.edu/advising.

FSW is required to notify the VA when a student using VA education benefits has been place on Academic Suspension. The law requires that educational assistance benefits to Veterans and other eligible persons be discontinued when the student ceases to make satisfactory progress toward completion of his or her training objective. Benefits can be resumed if the student reenrolls in the same educational institution and in the same program. In other cases, benefits cannot be resumed unless VA finds that the cause of the unsatisfactory attendance, conduct or progress has been removed and the program of education or training to be pursued by the student is suitable to his or her aptitudes, interests, and abilities. In this case the student will need to reapply to use their benefits with the VA.

➢ What degrees or certificate programs can I pursue as a student under the V.A. Office at FSW?

The Florida Bureau of State Approving Agency has approved Florida Southwestern State College for veteran education and training.

Students must be working towards one of our degree or certificate programs in order to receive V.A. benefits. We encourage students to work closely with their academic advisor to ensure that the classes they plan to take are required for the degree/certificate selected. Only classes required for the student’s degree will be certified for V.A. funding.

➢ I am using Post-9/11 GI Bill®. Does the V.A. pay for all tuition and fees?

If you are receiving 100% benefit level, the V.A. will pay for all the in-state tuition charges for classes that have been approved as required for your degree or certificate program. If you are not considered at 100% benefit level, your payments will be prorated accordingly.

The VA will only pay for fees that are required to be paid by all students. The tuition rate at FSW for residential classes contains a parking fee of $2 per credit hour. As of Fall 2020, this parking fee is credited to the account of students who do not use the parking facilities on campus.

The VA determines that the parking fee is not something that they will pay for any student. Other non-standard fees, such as multiple attempt charges and book charges, are also not covered by the V.A.

➢ How can I find out how many months of education benefits I have remaining?

You can view this information if you have an eBenefits account. You can also call the V.A. Education Benefits hotline at 888-442-4551 to receive an update on the status of your remaining eligibility.

➢ What happens if I fail a class? Will I owe the V.A. money?

If you fail a class, the grade you receive counts, negatively, towards graduation in your curriculum. Therefore, you are not required to repay any V.A. benefits you received for that class. You may retake the class to receive a passing grade that will count towards graduation and during that time you can receive V.A. benefits.

➢ What happens if I add, drop, or withdraw from a class?

In the event that you add, drop, or withdraw from a course, this information must be reported to the FSW VA Office. Students should always consult with the V.A. School Certifying Official before withdrawing from a course as there may be repercussions and debt a student may incur due to the withdraw. Withdrawals and grades of “W” are retroactive to the beginning of the term, and the V.A. does not pay for courses in which the student receives a grade of “W.”

You may owe money to FSW or the Veteran Affairs Office, depending on when you add, drop, or withdraw from a course. You will be responsible for reimbursing the V.A. if an overpayment occurs. If you require assistance with a debt letter, please contact the V.A. Debt Management Center.

➢ I’m a transient student using VA education benefits. What do I need to do?

Transient or Guest students using VA education benefits at FSW must provide the Veteran Services office a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility and a ‘Parent School letter’ from your home school confirming which degree program you are working towards and what classes have been approved to take at FSW. Please contact the School Certifying official at your home institution to request this information. A Florida Shines approval may be used in lieu of a Parent School letter.

*GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.