US Veterans Affairs Benefits
The US Department of Veterans Affairs offers education benefits to qualifying students.
Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19) for 2020-2021 students
The US Department of Veterans Affairs has worked with Congress to preserve GI Bill benefits for impacted students during this difficult time. For programmes approved prior to 1st March 2020 the new law allows for VA to continue to pay benefits even though the programme has changed from resident training to hybrid or online training until 21st December 2021. Students will continue to receive benefits, including monthly housing allowance payments at the resident rate until December 21, 2021 or until the school resumes normal operations of resident training, whichever comes first. For programmes approved on or after 1st March 2020 the VA cannot award benefits for programmes solely taught by online learning, only those delivered on a hybrid basis.
Institutional Eligibility for Veterans Affairs Benefits
The University of Edinburgh is approved to process Veterans Affairs Benefits.
Individual Eligibility for Veterans Affairs Benefits
Students may be eligible for Veterans Affairs benefits, if they are a:
- Veteran, Veteran's dependent
- Surviving spouse, child or parent of a deceased Veteran
- Uniformed service member
- Present or former reservist or National Guard member
The University is not involved in determining individual eligibility - students should contact the Department of Veterans Affairs directly for confirmation of their eligibility for benefits made under programmes such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill or the Montgomery GI Bill.
The University of Edinburgh is unable to process Yellow Ribbon Benefits.
Programme Eligibility for Veterans Affairs Benefits
As well as being personally eligible to claim US Veterans Affairs Benefits, students must have their intended programme of study approved. Students can check either with the Department of Veterans Affairs or with the University of Edinburgh whether their chosen programme of study has already been approved.
Please note that any programme with an element of study away or placement is not eligible.
If the programme of study has not already been approved, the University can seek approval, but this can only be done when the student concerned has received an offer of admission. Please email the University's Finanacial Aid Office quoting your University applicant number to request programme approval.
Restriction on Programme Eligibility - please note that programmes which are normally delivered by online learning cannot be approved for students at foreign schools. The current relaxation of regulations, allowing hybrid/online learning, applies only to programmes which are normally delivered on campus in Edinburgh.
The VA Office have confirmed that processing times for Programme Approval is approximately 60-90 days.
Certification of Enrollment
Providing the programme of study has been approved and the offer of admission has been accepted the University can provide certification of enrollment of the student to the Department of Veterans Affairs. This should then trigger the release of payments at the appropriate time, according to the dates of the period of study. If a programme of study involves study away from Edinburgh for a period of time, students are advised to check whether the study away period can be certified for the purpose of receiving benefits.
Enrollment is normally certified for one academic year at a time. For 2020-21 we were initially restricted to confirming details of the first semester but can now proceed with second semester confirmations. Continuing students who wish to continue claiming benefits should request renewed certification for each year of study by emailing the University's Financial Aid Office.
Tuition Fee Payments
The Department of Veterans Affairs does not allow the University of Edinburgh to invoice them directly for tuition fees relating to Chapter 33 benefits. Instead tuition fees are invoiced to the student and any payments received from the Department of Veterans Affairs are converted to British Pounds at the prevailing exchange rate before being credited to the student’s tuition fee account to reduce the outstanding balance. There is a maximum dollar amount payable by the Department of Veterans Affairs for tuition fees in an academic year at a foreign school such as the 2020-2021 limit Please refer separately to the limits for 2019-2020
As well as the tuition fee cap exchange rate differentials may result in the amount paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs not fully covering the tuition fee charged by the university. The dollar amount payable is calculated by the Department of Veterans Affairs using a theoretical exchange rate as at 1st July each year whereas the dollar payments released are converted using an actual exchange rate at the time the payment is received by the university. In all cases where there is a shortfall it is the student’s responsibility to make payment themselves or arrange alternative funding such as Federal Loans (subject to eligibility) or Private Loans. There are different invoicing arrangements for students in receipt of Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits but this type of funding may also result in a shortfall being payable by the student.
For further advice on making tuition fee payments and for information about US loans please refer to the related links below.