|FAQ's Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Am I automatically certified each semester?
Answer: No - because there are countless different means of paying for education through VA benefits, financial aid, out of pocket, etc., we want to make sure each student makes a request to use their benefits each semester. Some students prefer to use their benefits at later dates and we would not want to use up their benefits if not initially requested by the student.
Question: When will I start receiving my benefits (checks/direct deposit)?
Answer: Normally, your checks/direct deposits will come on or around the first of the month after the month that has just passed. For example: if you start attending MCC in the Fall semester, you would receive your monthly payment on/around October 1 for the month of September. Sometimes this period is lengthened as a function of how much processing volume exists in the regional VA office. If you do not receive your benefits payment on/around the first of the month, you will receive backpay for anything that you are owed. Questions regarding payment should be directed to the VA hotline at 1-888-442-4551.
Question: How can I pay for my tuition and fees if my payments do not start as soon as I start school?
Answer: MCC Veteran Services can defer part or all of your tuition and fee payments for up to three months of the semester. To calculate how much can be deferred, multiply your monthly VA entitlement by the number of months in the semester. For example, if you are a full time student receiving Chapter 30 benefits, we can defer $1,473 per/month x 4 months or $5,892. In this scenario, the entire bill would be deferred. However, a student receiving full-time Chapter 1606 benefits, would only be able to defer $345 per/month x 4 months or $1380. In this scenario, the student would have to pay the excess (amount of the bill that exceeded $1380) up front or make other arrangements such as using financial aid, or setting up a payment plan with the Student Accounts Office.
Question: I am receiving Chapter 33 (Post 9/11) GI Bill benefits, can I also receive federal and state financial aid?
Answer: Yes...and no. If you are eligible for 100% Chapter 33 benefits, then you would only be eligible for federal financial aid such as Pell grants and student loans. If you are eligible for 40% - 90% Chapter 33 benefits, then you may receive federal financial aid as well as state financial aid such as TAP and/or VTA - but state aid and VA benefits may not exceed the cost of your tuition.
Question: MCC says I am a full-time student taking 12 credits, however for part of the semester the VA only paid for ¾ time status. Is this possible?
Answer: Yes, under certain circumstances this situation exists. The basis for VA benefits payments is attendance dates. When part of the 12-credit load covers a non-standard term (i.e. course length is less than the entire 15 week term) VA will only pay for the status that equates to the amount of credits taken at any given time. Thus, if part of the 12 credit load is a one credit course taken the last month of the term, VA will pay the student on a ¾ time status while taking 11 credits and on a full-time status while taking 12 credits.
Question: I am being deployed during the semester, what do I need to do?
Answer: If you discover that you are being deployed at any time during the semester, please contact the Veteran Services Office ASAP. We will want a copy of your orders so that we may work to ensure you do not acquire any costs related to withdrawing from courses. However, this is handled on a case-by-case basis and it is NOT guaranteed your bill will be fully-erased. If your training or orders will only last a few days or so, you will want to contact your professors IMMEDIATELY to ensure that your absences will not affect your class assignments and academic standing.
Question: Will the VA pay for courses outside of my major or courses that I want to repeat for a better grade?
Answer: You can only use your VA benefits for courses that fit in your academic program. Regarding repeat courses, you may only use your benefits to repeat a course in which your academic program requires a certain passing grade; or if you received a "W" or "F" for the course. This is also the same for financial aid use.
Question: I withdrew from my courses last semester and continued receiving my VA benefits throughout the term. Will this affect future benefits?
Answer: Yes-VA may allow a one-time drop of up to six credits without a penalty (recollection of funds). Under normal circumstances, however, if an overpayment situation exists, VA will collect this money back out of future VA payments. If the student decides not to return to school, then VA will normally start legal collection proceedings against the student, which will ultimately affect the student's credit rating. Appeals or questions regarding this should be handled by the VA at 1-888-442-4551.
Question: Are there any academic standards that I must maintain to keep my VA educational benefits?
Answer: Yes - you must maintain a "C" average or a Grade Point Average of 2.0 out of 4.0. The Veteran Services Office at MCC reviews academic transcripts at the end of every semester. Those students who consistently perform below the established standards of success must be reported to the VA Regional Office in Buffalo. The Veterans Administration is the final determining authority for suspension or revocation of benefits. You may also be put on academic probation and have a max credit load that may affect the amount of benefits you are eligible to receive.
Question: Will my VA education benefits cover tutoring?
Answer: In general, VA will cover tutoring costs under certain conditions. Generally the student must prove that they are either deficient and/or not meeting program standards to be considered for tutoring reimbursement. VA will reimburse up to $100 per month for six months, without entitlement being affected. If tutoring is required beyond this dollar amount, then these costs will be deducted from your VA entitlement, thus shortening the period of which you are eligible to receive benefits. For more information, please visit the GI Bill web site here: GI Bill Tutoring Information.
Question: I served a three year enlistment and left the service with a general discharge under honorable conditions and contributed my $1200 to the GI Bill during my service. Am I eligible for Veterans Education benefits?
Answer: You are only eligible for VA educational benefits if you received an honorable discharge.
Question: Will VA pay benefits for any program I want to take at MCC?
Answer: Most programs at MCC are supported with VA benefits. The Veterans Services office maintains a list of all programs covered by benefits. If you want to be certain that the program you are applying for is covered, contact the Veterans Services office at MCC.
Question: Is there any way that I can qualify for more than three years of VA educational benefits?
Answer: The standard award period for most benefit categories is three years of full-time benefits (Chapter 35 recipients can receive up to 45 months of benefits and five additional months for remedial/refresher training). Students receiving benefits, even though possibly qualified under more than one chapter, may only receive benefits under one category at a time. It is possible however, to have benefits extended for an additional year, if qualified under more than one chapter. Example: Joe Smith served a four-year term in the Army, got out, then enlisted in the NY National Guard for six years. Joe would be entitled to benefits under both Chapter 30 for his active service and under chapter 1606 for his National Guard service. In this scenario he would receive Chapter 30 benefits until they are exhausted (because the award is higher) then would receive full-time Chapter 1606 benefits for an additional year.
Question: What is a "kicker"?
Answer: A kicker is a supplement paid to certain VA educational benefit recipients that is awarded because the unit is a "high priority unit". Kickers generally range from $100 to several hundred dollars in extra benefits per month. If you are receiving benefits under Chapter 1606 (Reserve Component), be certain to inform the Veterans Services office if you are to receive a kicker. In certain cases, Chapter 30 recipients may also be receiving kickers if they are serving in reserve component units subsequent to their active duty service. In either case we will ask you to bring in a copy of your kicker contract to ensure that it is processed efficiently and without delay!!
Question: How do I sign up for the National Guard Tuition Assistance program?
Answer: The Tuition Assistance program is funded and administered by the State of New York. Questions regarding this program should be addressed through your National Guard unit, if applicable. This is also applicable to any DoD TA program.
Question: I've heard that I can receive some college credit for some of the work I did in the military. How does this work?
Answer: When you apply for your veterans education benefits, we will do an evaluation of your DD214 and any other military educational records that you want us to evaluate. Once we complete our evaluation, we will forward a copy to the Admissions office, where any credits you were awarded will be posted to your academic transcript. Most students will get a least two physical education credits for completing basic training. Other credits received normally are counted as general elective credit and can substitute for general elective requirements of your respective programs. The decision to award military credit for required program courses rests with the respective department chairpersons.