Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for my VA benefits?

  • Go to the VA website at and click on the blue “Apply for Benefits” box in the lower half of the page.
  • Once you apply for your benefits, the VA will send you correspondence regarding your application that includes your eligibility status and length of benefits. Depending on the volume of work at the VA (heavier around the start of a semester) this could take 4-10 weeks until it arrives in your mailbox.
  • If you have any questions regarding your application, call the VA at 1-888-442-4551.

Where is the best place to compare my VA benefits options?

  • Use the VA's "Roadmap to Success" to help you determine which benefit is best for you.
  • For those eligible to receive tuition assistance through National Guard or Army Reserves, please factor those programs into your VA benefit choice. A lower percentage of Chapter 33 eligibility might not be as valuable as tuition assistance coupled with Chapter 1607.
  • Understand your cost of attendance for the program of study you wish to pursue when determining your benefit choice. You can find this information at
  • If you have questions about your VA benefits eligibility, please contact the VA at 1-888-442-4551 or use the VA's "Ask a Question" website.

How do I transfer my Post 9/11 Chapter 33 benefits to my dependent or spouse?

  • You can find all the information you need at this GI Bill website, including information regarding eligibility, nature of transfer, and how to apply.
  • Step one is to go to this DoD website and transfer your benefits. If you have never used educational benefits before, then you should have 36 months of benefits to transfer. You will transfer the benefit by months. The 36 months can be divided amongst multiple people.
    • You will receive a confirmation letter from the DoD regarding the transfer.
  • Step two is for the dependent or spouse who will use the benefit to apply through the VA.
    • The dependent or spouse is now considered the veteran and will use their social security number to apply with the VA for benefits.
    • The dependent or spouse will receive a Certificate of Eligibility regarding the Chapter 33 eligibility percentage and the months available.

How do I get started on Army Reserve or National Guard tuition assistance?

Do I have to do WAVES?

  • Chapters 1606, 1607, and 30 must verify attendance on the last day of each month you are attending through the VA’s Waves system online or call in at 1-877-823-2378.
  • Students receiving benefits under Chapter 33 (Post 9/11), Chapter 31 (Voc Rehab), or Chapter 35 (DEA), do not do WAVES.

Why haven’t I been paid? So, you think you’ve done everything you need to do to receive your benefit payments. Let’s double check.

  • Have you completed the VA application process ENTIRELY, including making a benefit choice? If you have any questions, call the VA 1-888-442-4551.
  • Have you submitted the school’s Veterans Certification of Enrollment Card (Green Card) to our Financial Aid office? That is how we know you want to use your benefits for the semester, and it tells us to verify your enrollment with the VA. Without it, there is no money coming to you. You must complete and submit one EVERY SEMESTER.
  • When did you submit your Green Card? The closer to the start of the semester you submit your Green Card the LONGER it takes the VA to process the certification we submit on your behalf.
  • Did you do WAVES? If you are Chapter 1606, 1607, or 30, you have to verify your attendance the last day of each month during the semester through the VA WAVES system or by phone at 1-877-823-2378. If you are not in the VA system when you attempt WAVES AND your enrollment certification was done within the last 30 days, the VA has not processed your enrollment certification yet. There is nothing else that needs completed. Our advice is to continue attempting WAVES every couple days until your registration is confirmed. If this persists past 40 days, contact the VA at 1-888-442-4551 and verify the status of your enrollment certification.
  • Understand that the VA pays in arrears. If you start a fall semester on August 23rd than you will not get paid until September. This payment will be prorated to reflect the 8 days in August you attended (Aug 23-30).
  • If you’re transferring Chapter 33 entitlement, please verify the process is complete. Once the veteran submits his/her application to the Dept. of Defense and the DoD responds with your approval, the beneficiary must apply with the VA through their VONAPP system (VA Form 22-1990e). The student’s social security number, not the veteran's, will be the claim number with the VA.

BAH and things you might not understand.

  • Basic Allowance for Housing is a benefit under the Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill.
  • For those attending our institutions the new rate is $1,140 for vets eligible at 100%. For those at less than 100% eligibility, just multiply $1,155 by your eligible percentage to find your BAH rate.
  • It is paid based on your dates of enrollment and the number of hours enrolled within those dates.
  • You have to be enrolled at 51% of full-time to be eligible. What is 51%?
    • Fall or Spring semester is 7 hours for the entire semester. Remember, 8 week classes DO NOT last the entire semester.
    • Summer:
      • 10 week session is 4 hours
      • a 5 week session is 3 hour
  • How the number of hours you are enrolled affects BAH:
    • If you are enrolled in at least 1 credit hour that is on a campus throughout the semester AND a total of at least 12 hours (full time), you are eligible for the full rate. The one hour "on campus" does not have to be on the Main Campus in Fairmont.
    • If you are enrolled in at least 1 hour "on campus" but less than 12 hours total, your BAH will be prorated to the enrollment percentage rounded to the nearest ten.
      • Example: Enrolled in 9 hours with at least 1 hour on campus, you will receive 80% of BAH. 9/12 = 75%. 75% rounded to the nearest ten = 80%.
    • If you are enrolled in solely distance (online) classes, the VA will pay BAH at $673.50 for full time enrollment at 100% Post 9/11 eligibility.
      • You must be enrolled at least 51% of full-time to be eligible for BAH.
      • The VA will prorate less than full-time enrollment by dividing the hours enrolled by 12 and rounding to the nearest ten.

Summer enrollment status with the VA

  • Our school policy and financial aid definitions for full time are different than the VA's. Fairmont State considers all the summer sessions to be one term for enrollment status. Full time under this policy is 12 hours. If you take 3 hours in the 10 week session, 3 hours in the 1st 5 week session, and 4 hours in the 2nd 5 week session, you are taking 10 hours for the summer and are considered a 3/4 time student.
  • The VA' breaks their enrollment status down to time frames based on the length of our summer terms.
    • 5 week session enrollment breaks down like this:
      • enrolled in 4 hours = 14 hours to the VA
      • 3 hours = 10 hours to the VA
      • 2 hours = 7 hours to the VA and BAH eligible
        • If you take a 2 hour class during a 5 week summer session, the VA will state you are taking the equivalent of 7 hours, or half-time and deduct benefits at rate 7/12th each month.
        • If you take 2 hours or more on campus during the 5 week session and receive Chapter 33 benefits, you will receive BAH. The VA will calculate BAH as follows: 7/12 = 58% which they will round to 60%. Multiply $1,140 X .6 X Chapter 33 eligibility percentage.
    • 10 week session breaks down like this:
      • enrolled in 7+ hours = 12+ hours to the VA
      • 6 hrs = 10 hrs
      • 5 hrs = 9 hrs
      • 4 hrs = 7 hrs and BAH eligible
      • 3 hrs = 5 hrs
        • If you take a 4 hour class during the 10 week summer session, the VA will state you are taking the equivalent of 7 hours or half-time and deduct benefits at that rate.
        • If you only take 6 hours during the 10 week session and at least 1 hour is on campus, you will receive BAH. However, it will be prorated to 10/12 = 83% which the VA will round to 80%.

Break pay

  • The VA no longer pays breaks. If there is any break, even a weekend, the VA WILL NOT pay BAH or monthly stipend during those dates.

VA benefits, financial aid and special circumstances

  • Your VA benefits do not affect your Federal Title IV financial aid provided through the FAFSA. This includes Pell Grant, Subsidized, and Unsubsidized Loans.
  • However, any federal, state, or private scholarships or grants that are designated solely for tuition and fees, must be applied prior to billing the VA tuition and fee charges. The Promise Scholarship falls under this regulation.
  • VA Educational benefits are not considered income on your FAFSA and doe not reduce your eligibility for grants or loans.
  • Your active duty status can make you an Independent student as defined by the Department of Education for financial aid reasons. If you served active duty for AT LEAST ONE DAY OTHER THAN BASIC TRAINING or subsequent job training, you are considered an independent student and should mark Veteran on your FAFSA.
  • Basic training or job training alone does NOT qualify you as an Independent student. Do NOT mark Veteran on your FAFSA.
  • If the military was your job prior to coming to school and now you are no longer working, your current financial situation can be reviewed as a Special Circumstance and an adjustment can be made to your FAFSA financial information. If you now have zero income or are earning less -income, please contact our financial aid office 304-367-4141 about the details of completing a Special Circumstance.

How do I get credit at Fairmont State for my military experience and course work?