Veterans Affairs education benefits are available to qualified veterans, veterans’ dependents, National Guard members and Reserve members. To receive the benefits, the recipient must be enrolled in an approved program of study.
Benefits differ according to the Chapter of VA educational benefits for which the student qualifies. For more information about benefits or to apply, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website or call 1-888-442-4551. For issues regarding benefits, submit a complaint to the VA GI Bill Feedback System.
Veterans Affairs Education Benefits
All new/transfer students to Gadsden State should provide a copy of the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) letter sent to the student by VA indicating approval for benefits. The document may also be accessed through ebenefits.va.gov or vets.gov.
Students transferring to Gadsden State from a prior college who were already approved and received VA education benefits should also complete the Request for Change of Place of Training form (22-1995 for Veterans) and form 22-5495 for dependents and spouse of a veteran.
All veterans must submit an official military transcript and all official transcripts from prior attendance at any institution. Certifications of enrollment may be placed on hold until this requirement is met. Air Force military transcripts may be requested via the Air University website. All other military branches may request transcripts via the Joint Services Transcript (JST) website.
Students must apply for admission, be admitted to Gadsden State and enroll in an approved program of study. Disabled veterans attending under Veteran Readiness & Employment (VR&E) must have a VA authorization from their case manager before benefits may be authorized.
Students approved for VA education benefits must notify Gadsden State’s certifying official each semester after their registration is complete to request submission of an enrollment certification. Students under Chapters 31 and 33 must also request authorization of tuition, which is based on the approved percentage of VA benefit coverage. Enrollment certifications will be submitted online via VA-Once beginning the day after add/drop ends or as time permits prior to this date.
Students using veteran’s benefits are responsible for registering only for courses that are required for the declared major and must promptly notify the Gadsden State VA Office when dropping or adding classes or when withdrawing from all classes.
Incomplete grades are not considered a grade by the VA. See Policies for Students Receiving VA Benefits in the catalog.
Veterans Upward Bound Program
Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) is a federally funded TRIO program designed to help veterans develop and expand the essential skills required to successfully enroll in and complete an academic or technical college degree. This program serves veterans in Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Cleburne, DeKalb, Etowah, Jefferson, Marshall, St. Clair and Talladega counties. Program eligibility is not limited to veterans planning to attend Gadsden State. Learn more at www.GadsdenState.edu/VUB
Alabama GI Dependents Scholarship Program
The Alabama GI Dependents Scholarship Program is another possible source of financial assistance for eligible students. This program is administered by the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs for the benefit of an eligible dependent – a child, stepchild, spouse or unmarried widow/widower – of a disabled veteran (living or deceased) who was a permanent civilian in Alabama for at least one year immediately prior to entry into military service and a current resident for at least two years immediately prior to the date of the application. Special consideration is given to dependents of permanently and totally disabled veterans who are bona fide residents or who were bona fide residents prior to their death. Other categories are dependents of former prisoners of war (POW), dependents of veterans declared missing in action (MIA) and dependents of those who died in service.
Students must complete a FAFSA application before registration. All grants and/or scholarships must be applied before ALGI will pay. Maximum education benefits include tuition (minus fees), required textbooks and laboratory fees for five standard academic years (10 semesters) or a prescribed technical course at any state-supported community college, university or technical school. Remedial coursework is not funded under the Alabama G.I. Dependents' Scholarship Program.
Veterans and the FAFSA
The Department of Education and the Department of Veterans Affairs have varying criteria for individuals to claim veteran status. Please note, the criteria listed here are specifically addressing the requirements of the Department of Education to direct students how to answer the question regarding veteran status on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who meet these criteria are considered independent for the purposes of federal student aid.
A veteran is a former member of the Armed Forces of the United States (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard) who served on active duty and was discharged under conditions, which were other than dishonorable.
There is no minimum number of days a student must have served on active duty to be considered a veteran. However, periods of active duty for training, pursuant to an enlistment in the National Guard or Reserves, do not qualify a student as a veteran. Thus former or current members of the National Guard or Reserves are not considered to be veterans unless they had prior or subsequent service with an active component of the Armed Forces. (Reservists called to active duty by Executive Order qualify as veterans.) Since the DD Form 214 is issued to those leaving the active military as well as to members of the National Guard and Reserves completing their initial active duty for training, possession of this document does not necessarily mean the student is a veteran.
Applicants who meet these criteria should check "yes" to the veteran question on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).