To start using your VA Educational Benefits you must complete the following steps:
1. You have to apply to use your VA Educational Benefits. Initial claim sent to Atlanta takes anywhere from 60-90+ days to process. You can apply online by going to www.gibill.va.gov, click on apply and that will take you to VONAPP. You can also request an application by contacting CSU's Veterans Services Office at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 843-863-7050. You will need to provide your name, mailing address and VA Chapter.
2. If you apply online you will have to submit supporting documents to the Atlanta VA Regional Office. These include your DD214 (for Chapter 30* or Chapter 33), or your NOBE (Notice Of Basic Eligibility available through your National Guard Unit for Chapter 1606 and Chapter 1607). Even if you register online using VONAPP, Atlanta requires documents to complete the initial process. If you bring your documents to the Veterans Services Office at CSU, these documents will be mailed to Atlanta VA Regional Office at no cost to you.
* If you paid in an additional $600.00 under Chapter 30, Atlanta will require all copies of your pay sheets showing the additional payment.
After you are in Atlanta's system and you continue taking classes (with less than a 30 day break in enrollment) the certification process will not take as long. You will have to verify your enrollment under Chapter 30, Chapter 1606 & Chapter 1607 at the beginning of the month. Example: If you are certified for classes starting the end of August, you will need to verify the first part of September in order for your check to be released by Atlanta.
3. If you are planning to attend classes for the first time in the fall you will need to apply to CSU the prior spring in order to be admitted and be able to register for classes. You will also need to begin the initial VA Educational application process. Once you have applied and Muskogee has processed your paperwork, you will receive a letter from the VA (Chapter 33 students will receive a Certificate of Eligibility). You will need to take the letter to the Veterans Services Office at CSU so you can be certified. A file will be started and all of your certifications will be kept for inspection by the Commission on Higher Education in South Carolina and by the state VA Regional Office.
All VA Educational Benefits are part of what is known as the GI BILL. Veterans using benefits are identified by the different chapters of the bill. Before you apply to use VA Educational Benefits you will need to know which chapter you are eligible for.
Complete an undergraduate application as a degree seeking* veteran student, and submit to Enrollment Services (located in the Hunter Center). Graduate students need to apply to CSU's Graduate School located in the Strom Thurmond Center (second floor).
*Students have to be degree seeking in order to meet requirements to use their VA Educational Benefits. If you have questions concerning this please contact the Veterans Services Office.
If you are only attending CSU for one semester, or the summer, you must provide the Military Services Coordinator with a copy of an approved cross-registration form. This form is available through the Registrar's Office at your home college. This form must show that the courses taken at CSU will be accepted by your home college and applied to your degree.
The VA only pays VA Educational Benefits if a veteran student is enrolled. You must not change your enrollment (drop, add, withdraw) without notifying the Military Services Coordinator at CSU. Any change can result in a VA overpayment that has to be reported by the Military Services Coordinator to the Atlanta VA Regional Office. If a VA overpayment occurs, then the VA will request money back from the beginning of the term, unless you furnish documents that prove mitigating circumstances. Mitigating circumstances include: change in job hours, child care issues, veteran student's extended illness, or death in family. Supporting documents have to be furnished to Atlanta VA Regional Office for their decision.
Veteran students who receive VA Educational Benefits may qualify for Financial Aid (which may include grants, federal work-study and loans). You should apply for Financial Aid when you apply to attend CSU. The Financial Aid Office is also located in the Hunter Center.