Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Am I automatically certified each semester?

Answer: No - because there are countless different means of paying for education through VA benefits, financial aid, out of pocket, etc., we want to make sure each student makes a request to use their benefits each semester. Some students prefer to use their benefits at later dates and we would not want to use their benefits if not requested by the student.  You can request to be certified by contacting the Veteran and Military Services Office in person, by phone (607-777-3668) or email (

Question: When will I start receiving my benefits (checks/direct deposit)?

Answer: Normally, your checks/direct deposits will come on or around the first of the month after the month that has just passed. For example: if you start attending BU in the Fall semester, you would receive your monthly payment on/around October 1 for the month of September. Sometimes this period is lengthened as a function of how much processing volume exists in the regional VA office. If you do not receive your benefits payment on/around the first of the month, you will receive back pay for anything that you are owed. Questions regarding payment should be directed to the VA hotline at 1-888-442-4551.

Question: How can I pay for my tuition and fees if my payments do not start as soon as I start school?

Answer:  Contact the Office of Student Accounts and inquire about using your VA education benefits to cover tuition and fee payments.

Question: I am receiving Chapter 33 (Post 9/11) GI Bill ® benefits, can I also receive federal and state financial aid?

Answer: Yes...and no. If you are eligible for 100% Chapter 33 benefits, then you would only be eligible for federal financial aid such as Pell grants and student loans. If you are eligible for 40% - 90% Chapter 33 benefits, then you may receive federal financial aid as well as state financial aid such as TAP and/or VTA - but state aid and VA benefits may not exceed the cost of your tuition.

Question: BU says I am a full-time student taking 12 credits, however for part of the semester the VA only paid for ¾ time status. Is this possible?

Answer: Yes, under certain circumstances this situation exists. The basis for VA benefits payments is attendance dates. When part of the 12-credit load covers a non-standard term (i.e. course length is less than the entire 15 week term) VA will only pay for the status that equates to the amount of credits taken at any given time. Thus, if part of the 12 credit load is a one credit course taken the last month of the term, VA will pay the student on a ¾ time status while taking 11 credits and on a full-time status while taking 12 credits.

Question: I am being deployed during the semester, what do I need to do?

Answer: If you discover that you are being deployed at any time during the semester, please contact the Veteran and Military Services Office ASAP. We will want a copy of your orders so that we may work to ensure you do not acquire any costs related to withdrawing from courses. However, this is handled on a case-by-case basis and it is NOT guaranteed your bill will be fully-erased. If your training or orders will only last a few days or so, you will want to contact your professors IMMEDIATELY to ensure that your absences will not affect your class assignments and academic standing.

Question: Will the VA pay for courses outside of my major or courses that I want to repeat for a better grade?

Answer: You can only use your VA benefits for courses that fit in your academic program. Regarding repeat courses, you may only use your benefits to repeat a course in which your academic program requires a certain passing grade; or if you received a "W" or "F" for the course. This is also the same for financial aid use.

Question: I withdrew from my courses last semester and continued receiving my VA benefits throughout the term. Will this affect future benefits?

Answer: Yes-VA may allow a one-time drop of up to six credits without a penalty (recollection of funds). Under normal circumstances, however, if an overpayment situation exists, VA will collect this money back out of future VA payments. If the student decides not to return to school, then VA will normally start legal collection proceedings against the student, which will ultimately affect the student's credit rating. Appeals or questions regarding this should be handled by the VA at 1-888-442-4551.

Question: Are there any academic standards that I must maintain to keep my VA educational benefits?

Answer: Yes - you must maintain a "C" average or a Grade Point Average of 2.0 out of 4.0. The Veteran and Military Services Office at BU reviews academic transcripts at the end of every semester. Those students who consistently perform below the established standards of success must be reported to the VA Regional Office in Buffalo. The Veterans Administration is the final determining authority for suspension or revocation of benefits. You may also be put on academic probation and have a max credit load that may affect the amount of benefits you are eligible to receive.

Question: Will my VA education benefits cover tutoring?

Answer: In general, VA will cover tutoring costs under certain conditions. Generally the student must prove that they are either deficient and/or not meeting program standards to be considered for tutoring reimbursement. VA will reimburse up to $100 per month for six months, without entitlement being affected. If tutoring is required beyond this dollar amount, then these costs will be deducted from your VA entitlement, thus shortening the period of which you are eligible to receive benefits. For more information, please visit the GI Bill ® web site here: GI Bill ® Tutoring Information.

Question: I served a three year enlistment and left the service with a general discharge under honorable conditions and contributed my $1200 to the GI Bill ® during my service. Am I eligible for Veterans Education benefits?

Answer: You are only eligible for VA educational benefits if you received an honorable discharge.

Question: Will VA pay benefits for any program I want to take at BU?

Answer: Most programs at BU are supported with VA benefits. If you have a question whether the program you are applying for is covered, contact the Veteran and Military Services Office.

Question: Is there any way that I can qualify for more than three years of VA educational benefits?

Answer: The standard award period for most benefit categories is three years of full-time benefits (Chapter 35recipients can receive up to 45 months of benefits and five additional months for remedial/refresher training). Students receiving benefits, even though possibly qualified under more than one chapter, may only receive benefits under one category at a time. It is possible however, to have benefits extended for an additional year, if qualified under more than one chapter. Example: Joe Smith served a four-year term in the Army, got out, then enlisted in the NY National Guard for six years. Joe would be entitled to benefits under both Chapter 30 for his active service and under chapter 1606 for his National Guard service. In this scenario he would receive Chapter 30 benefits until they are exhausted (because the award is higher) then would receive full-time Chapter 1606 benefits for an additional year.

Question: What is a "kicker"?

Answer: A kicker is a supplement paid to certain VA educational benefit recipients that is awarded because the unit is a "high priority unit". Kickers generally range from $100 to several hundred dollars in extra benefits per month.

Question: Am I eligible for a "Kicker"?

Answer: Selected Reservists establish kicker eligibility by enlisting for six years into a critical skill or critical selected unit. A kicker can also be authorized as part of a reenlistment package if the servicemember has not previously had a kicker.

Selected Reserve members can only establish kicker eligibility one-time over the course of a military career.

Question: How do I get my "Kicker" payment?

Answer: Servicemembers who have an authorized kicker must apply to draw on their kicker when they apply to use their GI Bill®.

To start getting kicker pay, a servicemember should send in documentation of their kicker along with their GI Bill® application. Otherwise, the VA has no way of knowing a kicker is authorized or the payment amount.

Question: How do I sign up for the National Guard Tuition Assistance program?

Answer: The Tuition Assistance program is funded and administered by the State of New York. Questions regarding this program should be addressed through your National Guard unit, if applicable. This is also applicable to any DoD TA program.

Question: I'm a veteran/dependent but not a resident of New York, will I billed out of state tuition and fees?

Answer: Here is a link to the in-state tuition eligibility chart for non-resident military and military-connected students at SUNY,

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government VA website.