FAQ - Future Students

You must apply for your educational benefits through the VA, online at gibill.va.gov. Please call the VA education hotline for assistance 1-888-442-4551.

Many veterans are eligible for state veteran educational assistance programs in addition to federal and private grants, loans, and scholarships. Reach out to our Financial Aid office via finaid@gvsu.edu or 616-331-3234 for more information. 

As a veteran or dependent, your GVSU application fee is automatically waived.

Grand Valley provides in-state tuition, regardless of where you live, to all military veterans, as well as dependents and spouses who are eligible to receive VA educational benefits.

There is a special provision of the program that allows military members to share their remaining GI Bill (education) benefits with immediate family members. Learn more about the rules for transferring GI Bill benefits. 

Yes! You can receive both VA educational benefits and financial aid by filling out the FAFSA. You may be eligible for federal, state and/or institutional loans and scholarships in addition to your VA educational benefits. Veteran students may be considered independent students per FAFSA guidelines, and you likely will not need to report your parent financial data. Contact our financial aid office for more information. 

NOTE: When FAFSA calculates the amount of your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), GI Bill benefits will not affect that calculation. However, other types of VA education assistance such as the Work/Study Allowance does count against the EFC. So does any VA Disability, Dependency & Indemnity Compensation you might receive. If it is taxable, it may count against your EFC.

DEADLINES: The FAFSA is available starting October 1 for the following academic year and the priority deadline to be considered for state and institutional grants is March 1 (federal deadline is June 30) — so don’t forget to complete the FAFSA early!

First, you’ll need to obtain your military records. If you do not have your military records, obtain a Standard Form 180 and submit to receive military records. The SF-180 can be located at www.archives.gov/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf.  

College credit for military training may or may not be offered within the major of your choice. You will need to discuss the nature of your military service with an admissions counselor to see what may receive college credit and what may not. 

It’s best to have your transcripts available from any courses you took during military service, and make a list of all training you received such as leadership, quality management, and job-specific schooling such as mechanical or electrical systems, computer networks, etc. 

You may be able to request transcripts from military technical schools, language institutes, etc. The nature and amount of college credit that transfers will depend on the department, applicable state or federal law, and the nature of your military experiences.

CLEP and DSST are great tools for service members to earn college credit hours by demonstrating competency in various subject areas. If you are a service member interested in taking advantage of FREE CLEP exams, please reach out to us to get step-by-step instructions on how to set it up. The DANTES website also provides study resources for various subjects and practice tests. Explore the DANTES website at http://www.dantes.doded.mil   

Grand Valley has excellent resources for military-connected students to obtain their degrees online while still serving. Check out our LEADS for Vets program for more details.

You must apply for your educational benefits through the VA, online at gibill.va.gov. Please call the VA education hotline for assistance 1-888-442-4551.

FAQ - Current Students

Reducing the time it takes to pick a major is critical, especially for veterans who often have a limited number of months to complete their degree. Grand Valley’s University-wide Academic Advising services can help explore your interests and goals. Interested in an accelerated bachelor’s program? Reach out to our LEADS for Vets team to learn more about how you can complete your degree in less time and with other adult students.

Grand Valley’s chapter of the Student Veterans of America, known as the Laker Vets, is the best place to connect with other veterans. You can learn more about the organization via the Laker Vets’ Laker Link page.

Log into myBanner and click on myProfile to update any personal information.

Students can check on their assigned registration date by reviewing our When To Register information. New students will register at Orientation. In some instances students may need to request a registration override to register for a particular course. Registration can be completed in myBanner or by using the Registration Drop/Add Form. No signatures are required during registration unless a student has a hold on their account, has a time conflict, or other extenuating circumstances.

FAQ - VA Benefits

To qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, applicants must have 90 days minimum active duty service after Sept. 10, 2001, and are still on active duty. Also eligible are honorably discharged veterans or those discharged with service-connected disabilities after 30 days. Or, if you received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service

The Forever GI Bill is a modification of current GI Bill policies in a variety of areas. Your eligibility under the Post 9/11 GI Bill may affect how and when you may begin taking advantage of Forever GI Bill. BAH housing stipend (reduced for some, higher for others who began using the GI Bill before the new BAH calculations went into effect) Individuals who first used the Post-9/11 GI Bill program on or after January 1, 2018 will receive monthly housing allowance based on DoD’s reduced basic housing allowance (BAH) for monthly housing rates. Those that began using benefits prior to January 1, 2018 will continue to receive a higher monthly housing rate based in the non-adjusted BAH rates.

Basically, the Forever GI Bill is an enhancement of the existing Post 9/11 GI Bill program and while some of those enhancements took effect immediately, others are phased in over time. Learn more about the latest changes and when they take effect by reaching out to our Registrar’s office.

You can discuss your education needs in person at your nearest VA office, but the fastest way to learn what student veteran education benefits are open to you is to use the Department of Veterans Affairs GI Bill comparison tool for VA benefits. Michigan residents can check with michiganveterans.com/categories/Education or call 1-800-MICH-VET to see what state-specific programs for veterans might be available.

Because of a variety of factors affecting your eligibility and the system, it’s very difficult to give a specific timeframe. At GVSU, we automatically certify students that we know qualify (unless they contact us indicating they don’t want to use their benefits) according to the VA timelines and it usually takes several weeks to get through all of our students. It can take anywhere from one week to a couple months before a certification is processed, depending on the VA case manager's caseload. If you’re concerned, please reach out to our Registrar’s office.

GI Bill payments are calculated based on classroom hours. During the break, when no classes are held, you are not paid for that time. Your GI Bill payment “clock” resumes when you attend classes in the new semester.

Much depends on how long the summer session lasts — depending on the class, it can be 4, 6 even 12 weeks long. Reach out to our Registrar’s office to learn how long our summer terms are and the maximum credit hours you are allowed to carry. Some programs (four weeks) may offer a three-credit hour workload that allows the student to draw 100% BAH, but the housing allowance is only paid for the time actually attending classes including weekends and holidays, etc. You cannot draw the GI Bill housing allowance when you are not attending classes in the summer.

The amount of time in service after September 10, 2001, may affect your GI Bill benefits. For example, those who served at least 90 days but fewer than six months are eligible for 40% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit at the time of this writing. However, in 2020, that 40% eligibility will be eliminated (thanks to the Forever GI Bill) in favor of a higher percentage, but the time-in-service requirement for 100% benefits remains the same. Applicants who serve 36 months or more after September 10, 2001, are eligible for 100% of the GI Bill.

Yes. GI Bill benefits including the housing allowance are affected by the number of credit hours you take. Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, if you are enrolled above half-time you qualify for a monthly housing allowance (the BAH rate for an E-5 with dependents). The VA calculates the BAH percentage by dividing the number of credit hours by the number of credits considered to be full-time. A student with a rate of pursuit greater than 50% can qualify for the housing allowance, prorated as a percentage of the full-time attendance amount.

NOTE: If you are attending half-time you are only using a half-day of the benefit for each day you are half-time. (This is rarely known by many of our veteran students!)

In order to receive the minimum amount of BAH, you need to be ABOVE ½ time. So for undergraduates for Fall and Spring semesters you need AT LEAST 6.5 credits and Summer you need AT LEAST 4.5 credits to receive any BAH (graduate students need at least 5.5 in Fall/Spring and 3.5 for Summer) If you are below ½ time, you will NOT receive any BAH.

Online Courses and BAH

If you enroll in only online courses for a semester, the VA will only pay you 50% of the national average of BAH, even if you are full-time. If at least ONE of your classes is an on-campus class (meaning a class you go to), then you will receive the amount of BAH you’d normally get. You can take online courses, but if you want to receive normal BAH, at least one class has to be on campus. The VA pays you directly for BAH.

Book Money

The VA will pay you up to $1000 per academic year for books under the Post 911 GI Bill. The $1000 is if you are at the 100% rating (if you are at a different percentage you will receive a percentage of the $1000 per year, for example, someone at the 80% rating would get up to $800 per academic year).

The way the VA calculates book money is based on the number of credits you are registered for each semester. They have a per credit hour charge of $41.67 per credit. They will multiply that amount by the number of approved credits you are registered for. For example, you are registered for 12 credits for Fall: $41.67X12 = $504.00 for books for Fall (if at the 100% rating). This also means that for Spring, you will have $496.00 available from the $1000 per academic year.

You do not need to save receipts for books. If you can find your books for cheap online, or better yet, for free, you can still keep the book money. It is recommended that if your books cost less than what you receive for a given semester, that you save the rest for future semesters as you may not receive as much.

Tuition and Fees

The VA will pay your tuition directly to the school only for classes that are approved (meaning required for your degree). The VA usually doesn’t pay tuition by the tuition deadline, but you do not need to worry about the tuition deadline. As long as you make sure you have filled out a request for benefits (contact your Certifying Official) for the semester, we will have you on a list that is sent down to the tuition office to prevent Post 911 GI Bill students from being dropped or charged late fees.

You will have until the end of the semester to make sure your tuition gets paid by the VA before you will be required to pay anything. It is not recommended that you wait until the end of the semester to check — we will put a hold on your account until the issue is resolved.

The Full Chapter 33 BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) is based on the student’s entitlement percentage. For example, if you are at 100% entitlement and you are enrolled in 12 or more undergraduate hours you will receive the full BAH amount. This is for FALL and WINTER semesters only.

To determine the full-time rate for your zip code and pay rate, please visit the BAH calculator website: http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm

UNDERGRADUATE CREDIT HOURS (BAH ALLOWANCE):

  • 12 (100% BAH Allowance)
  • 11 (90%)
  • 10 (80%)
  • 9 (80%)
  • 8 (70%)
  • 7 (60%)
  • 6-1 (0%)

GRADUATE CREDIT HOURS (BAH ALLOWANCE): 

  • 9 (100% BAH Allowance)
  • 8 (90%)
  • 7 (80%)
  • 6 (70%)
  • 5 (60%)
  • 4-1 (0%)

UNDERGRADUATE:

  • FULL TIME = 12 SEMESTER HOURS
  • 3/4 TIME = 9 TO 11 SEMESTER HOURS
  • 1/2 TIME = 6 TO 8 SEMESTER HOURS
  • LESS THAN 1/2 =  5 SEMESTER HOURS OR LESS

GRADUATE:

  • FULL TIME = 9 SEMESTER HOURS
  • 3/4 TIME = 8 TO 6 SEMESTER HOURS
  • 1/2 TIME = 5 SEMESTER HOURS
  • LESS THAN 1/2 = 4 SEMESTER HOURS OR LESS

First, you’ll need to obtain your military records. If you do not have your military records, obtain a Standard Form 180 and submit to receive military records. The SF-180 can be located here.  College credit for military training may or may not be offered within the major of your choice. You will need to discuss the nature of your military service with an admissions counselor to see what may receive college credit and what may not. It’s best to have your transcripts available from any courses you took during military service, and make a list of all training you received such as leadership, quality management, and job-specific schooling such as mechanical or electrical systems, computer networks, etc. You may be able to request transcripts from military technical schools, language institutes, etc. The nature and amount of college credit that transfers will depend on the department, applicable state or federal law, and the nature of your military experiences.

CLEP and DSST are great tools for service members to earn college credit hours by demonstrating competency in various subject areas. If you are a service member interested in taking advantage of FREE CLEP exams, please reach out to us to get step-by-step instructions on how to set it up. The DANTES website also provides study resources for various subjects and practice tests. Explore the DANTES website at http://www.dantes.doded.mil   

No. Any veterans’ benefits paid under any law administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should not be reported as income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

We have an entire team devoted to helping our students with their GI Bill certification. You can contact them at vetrec@gvsu.edu or (616) 331-3327.

Yes and no. Your GI Bill benefits (BAH, tuition payments, book stipend, etc.) do not count against you as they are considered entitlements. That is true for both need-based loans and need-based grants. Combat Zone pay is also NOT counted against you except the portion that is taxable where commissioned officers exceed the non-taxable amount. Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) is counted against you.

When FAFSA calculates the amount of your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), GI Bill benefits will not affect that calculation. However, other types of VA education assistance such as the Work/Study Allowance does count against the EFC. So does any VA Disability, Dependency & Indemnity Compensation you might receive. If it is taxable, it may count against your EFC.

DEADLINES: In order to be eligible for many forms of financial aid, you must fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). It’s available starting October 1 for the following academic year and the priority deadline to be considered for state and institutional grants is March 1 (the federal deadline is June 30) — so don’t forget to complete the FAFSA early!

Students must contact the VA for this information at 1-888-442-4551, or log into Ebenefits at ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/homepage.

You can update your direct deposit information in your VA.gov profile. You'll need your bank's routing number and account number to make the updates. You can do this at ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/homepage as well.

Note: You'll need to sign in to VA.gov to update your direct deposit information. Once signed in, you'll have to verify your identity and set up 2-factor authentication, but only if you've haven't done this already.

If you have questions, please call the VA at 800-827-1000, Monday through Friday, 0800 to 2100 p.m. ET.

There are many things that affect when you receive your payments. This depends heavily on your VA case manager and is usually in reference to tuition payments only. Books and housing benefits are usually awarded in a timely manner. If you’re concerned, contact your Certifying Official to see if it can be expedited. Processing times are longer during fall semesters than during other terms due to the volume of claims VA receives.   

If you are receiving benefits under MGIB-AD (Chapter 30) or MGIB-SR (Chapter 1606), you must also verify your enrollment at the end of each month in order to receive payment for that month  (instructions from the VA on how to verify your enrollment). Benefits are paid after each month of school is completed.

You will generally receive a payment within two weeks of verifying your enrollment at the end of the month (or within one week if using Direct Deposit).

To check on the status of an Education benefit payment, please call 888-GIBILL-1 (888-442-4551). You can select the option for an automated update, or speak to a claims specialist.

The VA will only pay for classes that are REQUIRED for your degree. This includes general education requirements, major requirements, pre-requisites and classes needed to meet the 120 credits required to graduate (electives).

To find out if a class is required, current students should check your MyPath Degree Planning and Evaluation in Banner. NOTE: The minimum number of credits to graduate is 120. Always should check requirements with your academic advisor — myPath isn’t always true and accurate.

If you failed a required course or did not receive the minimum grade considered “passing” (for example, you received a C- in the course but need a C or better to actually receive credit), the VA will pay for you to repeat the course. They will not pay for repeated courses in order to boost GPA or to get a better grade (if you passed the course). The VA will not cover any repeat course fees if you are charged one.

NOTE: You need to be aware that repeat courses can result in over-payments from VA. If you repeat the course more than one time, and the VA pays for it each time you retake it, the VA may create a debt against you and make you repay the money from the first time you took the course.

This only happens if you repeat the class more than once. It is in your best interest to make sure you pass the class the first time you repeat it, otherwise the VA may create a debt against you.

Yes, the VA will pay for all mandated remedial or deficiency courses in a classroom/on-site situation only. Given recent changes due to the pandemic, check with your Certifying Official to make sure that your classes will be covered.

Students must be enrolled in courses that apply to their program. The program at the “host” school in the foreign country school must be approved. VA cannot pay study abroad fees unless it is required as part of the student's program. More information about study abroad from the VA: https://www.va.gov/education/about-gi-bill-benefits/how-to-use-benefits/study-at-foreign-schools/

If you change your course/training time (for example, go from being a full-time student to a 3/4 time student), you must contact GVSU’s Certifying Officials (vetrec@gvsu.edu or 616-331-3327). The official will send documentation to VA to adjust your benefits.

If you fail a class you may receive what is called a "punitive grade" for that class. This means that the grade you’ll earn the credit but it is included in your GPA calculation. Since this grade counts towards your degree requirements (even negatively) you are entitled to GI Bill benefits for any class you receive such a grade in.

A "non-punitive grade" is a grade that doesn't earn credit towards your degree. An example of this may be withdrawal after the drop period or auditing a class. Since non-punitive grades don't count towards your degree you may be required to repay any GI Bill money you received for such classes.

Maybe. Tests that may be reimbursable by VA include licensing and/or certification for a job as a mechanic, medical technician, therapist, computer network engineer, website developer, and other professional. There is no limit to the number of tests you may take or the number of times you may take the same test. And, VA will pay for tests even if you fail them.

VA pays only the test costs, or up to $2,000 for each test. Fees connected with obtaining a license or certification are not reimbursable. Payment is issued after you submit proof of payment to VA. Find out how your GI Bill entitlement will be charged for taking a Licensing and Certification benefit. More info here: https://benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/factsheets/education/LCTR.pdf

If you drop or withdraw from a course after we have already submitted your enrollment certification to the VA, you may be required to pay money back to the VA. If you plan to drop after you have been certified, then please notify your Certifying Official to discuss how this may affect your benefit.

You can fail a class and the VA will not create a debt against you and will pay for you to retake the class as long as you attended the course through the end of the semester. The VA considers a failing grade to be any grade in which you did not meet the minimum grade to “complete” the course. Failing grades are anything below D- that you don’t receive credit for; however, unsatisfactory grades are those that do not meet the grade requirement for particular programs for certain courses.

Incomplete grades are expected to be made up the end of the following semester or they will be reported to the VA and could impact their benefit.

Currently, the VA will not pay for academic minors unless they are required by your degree or you can complete them within the 120 credits required to graduate. The VA will pay for double majors, you will just need to make sure you get it declared with the University first.

NOTE: The minimum number of credits to graduate is 120, but you can go beyond 120 if you add a minor, a 2nd major or an emphasis area.

If you are an undeclared major, the VA will only pay for classes that meet general education requirements. Any class that does not fulfill a general education requirement will not be covered by VA benefits. This can continue for two years only.

If you are planning on changing your major, you MUST to contact your Certifying Official to let them know you changed your major. Be sure to update your major online via myBanner. NOTE: If you don't notify the Registrar's Office, you could be charged tuition for classes that don't qualify or aren't certified.

Any source of funds that is meant to be applied only to tuition and fees will be subtracted out of what we report to VA for your tuition. Most scholarships and grants do not fall into this category, but if they are not cash awards, they will need to be taken out of what is reported to VA. If you have a question about how something might affect what the VA pays for your tuition, you can contact your Certifying Official and we will tell you if it affects anything.

GVSU realizes students who are members of the U.S. Armed Forces may be called to active duty, specialized training, or as part of disaster relief efforts with little notice. While the following policy does NOT pertain to initial active duty training (i.e. basic training), this policy is provided in order to minimize disruptions or inconveniences for students fulfilling their unanticipated U.S. military responsibilities in the midst of an academic term/session.

  • Any student called to active duty, specialized training or as part of disaster relief efforts may withdraw from all courses and receive a 100% refund of tuition and fees, including parking passes and book purchases from the GVSU bookstore.
  • With the permission of the instructor(s), a student may receive an incomplete or a final grade in some or all of the courses taken.

Either option may occur anytime during the semester through the end of final examinations. If you give us a copy of your orders, we’ll drop you from the course at 100% then the course is removed completely. Students receiving financial aid will be subject to the refund policies as provided by the agencies sponsoring the aid.

You should submit your request to withdraw as soon as possible once you’ve received official notification by the military service.

Students who wish to withdraw from courses as a result of being called to active duty, specialized training, or disaster relief efforts must provide a copy of their orders to the Registrar’s Office (regdept@gvsu.edu or 616-331-3327), along with a signed note asking to be withdrawn.

The Registrar provides a one-point-of-contact process for withdrawals so students won’t need to visit various offices. Students or other responsible parties may wish to contact the Registrar’s Office first to begin the withdrawal process based on some official military documentation.

If you know with some certainty that the orders will be forthcoming (but don't yet have them), feel free to reach out to the Military and Veterans Resource Center at vets@gvsu.edu or 616-331-2369 if you need help navigating your classes or talking with your professors.

FAQ - Michigan National Guard Benefits (MING-STAP)

The Michigan National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program (MINGSTAP) is a State of Michigan funded tuition assistance program that pays for the tuition costs and eligible fees of eligible Michigan National Guard service members. https://mingstapapp.state.mi.us/

All National Guard traditional and AGR Soldiers/Airmen in an active drilling status are eligible. Mobilized or deployed Michigan National Guard soldiers and airmen are eligible. Any other criteria determined by the TAG consistent with Michigan National Guard recruiting and retention requirements.

Soldiers who are AWOL, under adverse action, those whose classes start before they enlist or end after they get out, and those who have two consecutive grading periods where their cumulative GPA is below a 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.

STAP pays tuition and fees up to $14,400 ($600/credit hours). The fees must be required as a condition of enrollment for each eligible student.

  • Associate Degree
  • Bachelor's Degree
  • Master's or First Professional Degree
  • Certificate
  • Vocational
  • Training

Applications must be submitted every academic year. They can be submitted as early as 60 days prior to the class but no later than 14 days after the class start date.

Yes. However, we will deduct any MINGSTAP or FTA from the total tuition billed to the VA for Chapter 33 recipients.

Yes, since a Pell Grant can be used to assist with other education-related expenses such as books, supplies, and other course-related materials.

No. STAP does not reimburse the cost of books and/or study materials.

Yes! We have created a deferment plan to help avoid forcing students to pay their GVSU tuition charges upfront to minimize student loan debt. NOTE: Any other charges on your Student Account besides tuition — i.e. housing, meal plans, books, parking permit, etc. — will still be due by the posted deadline dates every semester. 

The GVSU/MINGSTAP deferment plan only defers your tuition balance until the end of the semester, after grades are posted. At that time, you will need to submit a copy of your Student Account Statement along with your grades to MINGSTAP and wait for them to send you reimbursement.  We will give you 60 days after grades are released until your payment is due to GVSU.  After this 60 day grace period, your tuition will be due regardless of the status of your reimbursement.

Another new MINGSTAP rule requires you to apply for Federal Tuition Assistance first. This can be done by going to  https://www.goarmyed.com.  You will need to upload a copy of your GVSU schedule, a copy of your GVSU Student Account Statement.  You must also include a copy of the GVSU Tuition Rates. If you need help with navigating the GoARmyEd website, you can contact Joshua Fenner at the FTA office in Lansing at joshua.s.fenner.civ@mail.mil.

You will also need to submit a copy of the MINGSTAP Deferment Form. If you have applied and been approved to receive MINGSTAP, you can complete the fillable form and email it back to WHO.  We will verify your eligibility with the MINGSTAP office before applying the deferment to your Student Account. There is no fee associated with the deferment.

NOTE: Guard soldiers no longer have to apply for FTA first if they wish to use the GIBILL instead. There is an exclusion choice available on the app to not be required to apply for FTA when using Montgomery GIBILL.