Using your VA Educational Benefits
As a Veteran you may have specific benefits that will help you in achieving your educational journey. The College is here to help you understand these benefits and ensure you’re provided as many benefits as possible here at SUNY Schenectady.
Please use the links corresponding to your student status to learn further details about how you should proceed:
New | Transfer | Continuing | Guest
SUNY Schenectady is a Military Friendly School, and part of Service Members Opportunity Colleges.
Before you apply, make sure to register for your educational benefits on VONAPP (Veterans Online Application Process). If you need help picking out the right education benefit this website will help you determine which benefit may be the best fit for you: Education and Training Comparison Tool.
For all students, don't forget to submit your Enrollment Certification Request to the VA School Certifying Official (SCO) in Student Affairs located in Elston 222. This must be done every semester to verify that your benefits are used as you'd like them to be. You will not be certified to the VA for your enrollment at SUNY Schenectady without it. Please note: If you are unsure whether you have a GI Bill® entitlement, you should stop by the Schenectady County Veterans Service Agency located at 797 Broadway Schenectady, New York 12305-2704 or by phone at (518) 377-2423. You may also contact the VA Education Center at (888) GI-BILL-1 [888-442-4551]. For general veterans affairs information please use 1-800-827-1000.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.
Each semester that you want to use your benefits, you must submit an Enrollment Certification Request Form.
Submit this form after you have registered for classes. All completed forms can be mailed, faxed, e-mailed or hand delivered to Student Affairs:
Elston Hall, Room 222
SUNY Schenectady County Community College
78 Washington Ave
Schenectady, NY 12305
Once your form is received, the SCO will submit your certification to the Veterans’ Regional Office for processing.
To be certified you must meet the following requirements:
- Be admitted to a degree or certificate program.
- Take classes that meet your degree program requirements.
- Have a Certificate of Eligibility from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs or other proof of eligibility.
VA School Certifying Official (SCO)
Anna Westerman is the VA School Certifying Official (SCO) for students who receive veteran’s benefits under Chapter 30, 31, 33, 35, 1606 and 1607. She may be reached by telephone at 518-381-1200 x1185 or e-mail at email@example.com. New students must schedule an appointment prior to meeting with the SCO.
Please be advised that if you are receiving 100% of the Post 9-11 GI Bill® benefit, you will not be eligible for TAP. However, you may be eligible for a student loan or a Pell Grant, so please do the FAFSA form every spring after you do your income taxes, for future semesters. It is your responsibility to be sure you don’t get duplicate benefits. Tuition Assistance is money only for tuition, and it may be a duplicate of other forms of education benefits. NEW RULE – you cannot get Federal Tuition Assistance and the Montgomery GI Bill®.
Any VA students may use the WAVE system to: change a mailing address, change Direct Deposit, view an enrollment period and monthly benefits, etc. All VA students are encouraged to sign up for an ebenefits account. If you need copies of your VA documents, this site will be helpful. The premium account is the most complete type.
All VA students may call the VA Education Center, 1-888-442-4551, for information. If you need help from the VA and the phone system is not helpful, please remember you may use the www.gibill.va.gov site and look for “Ask a Question” under the education benefits section. Enter your SS#, and the reply will come from Buffalo to your e-mail.
For persons receiving Chapter 31 benefits, the local Vocational Rehab and Education Specialists are Brian Klim at 518-626-5692 or Jason Peryea at 518-626-5693. The mailing address is Box 272K, 113 Holland Avenue, Albany, NY 12208, located at the VA Hospital, room 308-7.
- To initiate your VA Education Benefits you must first complete the VONAPP online through the GI Bill® website. This application can take up to 90 days for the VA to process. If you are an active service member looking to transfer your benefits to a dependent, please see the following link: Transferring benefits to dependents.
For more information visit Transfer of Benefits. Eligible transferees may access their benefits by creating an account and signing up with VA Form 22-1990E on VONAPP. Children of service members who died in the line of duty are eligible for the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship, which entitles full Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to each eligible child.
- Next, Apply Now to SUNY Schenectady. To utilize VA Educational Benefits you must be matriculated in an approved program. You can use your benefits for no more than two semesters as a non-matriculated student.
- Once all admission requirements are satisfied you should meet with an advisor in the advisement center to pick out classes. Advisement is located in Elston Hall 222, by phone at 518-381-1277 and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, only classes that apply towards your degree program can be certified for VA benefits. You should use your DegreeWorks audit as tool to determine which courses apply to your program.
- Schedule an appointment to meet with the VA School Certifying official, Anna Westerman, 518-381-1200 x1185 or e-mail at email@example.com. You will need to provide a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility and member-4 DD214 (if you are no longer active duty) for verification that you have been approved by the VA for benefits. Please include a copy of your schedule and Enrollment Certification Request. A deferral request towards tuition and fees can be completed, in conjunction with the VA SCO and Student Business Office, based on the amount of benefits you are entitled to receive. Please contact the VA School Certifying Official on campus to request a deferral.
- You will need to complete a Certificate of Residency (COR) form with the Student Business office every year. Veterans and active duty members are charged in-state tuition regardless of residency. Please visit the Student Business Office located in Elston Hall, Room 219, or contact them by phone at 518-381-1346 if you have questions.
- Complete all steps on the general “New Student Checklist.”
Students who have not yet used all of their entitlement may transfer benefits to SUNY Schenectady after having using a portion of benefits at another school. You may only have one home institution. If you plan to continue taking classes at your home institution and wish to also register at SUNY Schenectady please see the Guest portion of this page. Students may take courses at multiple campuses and receive benefits for those classes as long as they count towards the degree program at the home institution.
- APPLY NOW to SUNY Schenectady County Community College. To utilize VA Educational Benefits you must be matriculated in an approved program. You can use your benefits for no more than two semesters as a non-matriculated student.
- Submit all previous academic transcripts to the Admissions Office:
SUNY Schenectady County Community College
Stockade Building, Room 120
Schenectady, NY 12305
- Once all admission requirements are satisfied you should meet with an advisor in the advisement center to pick out classes. Advisement is located in Elston Hall, Room 222, by phone at 518-381-1277 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, only classes that apply towards your degree program can be certified for VA benefits. You should use your DegreeWorks audit as tool to determine which courses apply to your program.
- Schedule an appointment to meet with SUNY Schenectady’s VA School Certifying official, Anna Westerman, 518-381-1200 x1185 or e-mail at email@example.com. You will need to provide a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility and member-4 DD214 (if you are no longer active duty) for verification that you have been approved by the VA for benefits. A deferral request towards tuition and fees can be completed, in conjunction with the VA SCO and Student Business Office, based on the amount of benefits you are entitled to receive. Please contact the VA School Certifying Official on SUNY Schenectady’s campus to request a deferral. Additionally, you will need to complete a VA Request For Change of Program or Place of Training form. There is one form for Service Members and another for Dependents.
Complete the form that corresponds to your status and mail it to the Buffalo Region Processing office listed on the last page. The VA SCO must also receive a copy of this form. Additionally, submit a copy of your schedule and Enrollment Certification Request to the Office of Student Affairs in Elston Hall, Room 222. A deferral request towards tuition and fees can be completed, in conjunction with the VA SCO and Student Business Office, based on the amount of benefits you are entitled to receive. Please contact the VA School Certifying Official on campus to request a deferral.
- You will need to complete a Certificate of Residency (COR) form with the Student Business Office every year. Veterans and active duty members are charged in-state tuition regardless of residency. Please visit the Student Business Office located in Elston Hall, Room 219, or contact them by phone at 518-381-1346 if you have questions.
- Complete all steps on the general “New Student Checklist.”
- Students should meet with their advisor and register for classes as early as possible. To register for classes you must obtain your alternative pin number through your advisor. This pin changes ever semester. Remember, only classes that apply towards your degree program can be certified for VA benefits. You should use your DegreeWorks audit as tool to determine which courses apply to your program.
- Students must request to have their enrollment certified with the VA every semester. We are now using a form which each of you will have to sign prior to the start of the semester, stating your wishes about using your VA benefits. As soon as you register for the upcoming semester you should complete the Enrollment Certification Request and return it to Elston Hall, Room 222. If you wish to complete a deferral, you may do so as well. Please bring a copy of your schedule and bill with you when meeting with the VA SCO in the Registrar’s Office. This process must be completed every semester and is NOT automatic.
Please remember, if your enrollment status at SUNY Schenectady changes at any time, you must notify the school certifying official immediately. This includes changing from full-time status to part-time, changing degree programs, a change from an in-house class to an on-line class, and any add/drop or change in classes as well as withdrawals. Final tuition and fees will not be reported to the VA until after the end of the add/drop period in an effort to reduce over payments. You will receive a confirmation email from the VA when certification is submitted by SUNY Schenectady. Address, e-mail or telephone changes must also be reported to the school certifying official. The school certifying official as well as the Veterans Resource Office and will reach out to you through your campus e-mail throughout the semester. Please check your student e-mail account regularly.
If you plan to continue taking classes at your home institution and wish to also register at SUNY Schenectady you are considered a guest student.
- Register for coursework as a non-matriculated student at SUNY Schenectady through the Registrar’s Office located in Elston Hall, Room 212.
- Provide the VA SCO with a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility, DD214, Enrollment Certification Request and a Parent Letter from the home institution. Remember, courses taken at SUNY Schenectady MUST apply to a degree program at the home institution. Deferral paperwork may also be completed at the request of the student.
MGIB Enrollment Verification
All students who are receiving benefits under Chapter 30 (Montgomery GI Bill), Chapter 1606 (Selected Reserve) and Chapter 1607 (REAP) MUST verify his/her enrollment monthly to receive or to continue to receive payments. Chapter 35 dependents also must certify monthly if you are matriculated in a certificate program. This cannot be done sooner than the last calendar day of each month. You may do this in one of two ways: Use the Web Automated Verification of Enrollment WAVE (if you prefer, you may use the telephone automated system: 1-877-823-2378, and follow the prompts). Please note: The Internet is the recommended method. The automated systems replace the mail-in student certification of enrollment used in the past.
VA Work Study and Student Veterans of America
There is a Veterans Resource Office located in Elston Hall, Room 220H. This office provides Veterans and their family members attending SUNY Schenectady information about benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and resources within the campus as well as community. The unique feature of this Office is that staffing is done with Veterans who are students at the College. The Office, consequently, provides a space where Veterans and their family members attending SUNY Schenectady are not only able to obtain important information, but can also link up with others on campus who may have similar experiences and concerns. Please stop by the Office and get to know the people there. If you are interested in being a student worker for that Office, please see Dr. Ellen Wertlieb in the Student Affairs Office (Elston 222).
SUNY Schenectady has a Veterans Club (Student Veterans of America). You can contact Dr. Ellen Wertlieb (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Harry Buffardi (email@example.com), the Club’s faculty advisors for more information. All are welcome and encouraged to attend and participate in the club meetings and activities.
Academic credit for training completed while in service is reviewed by the Registrar’s Office in conjunction with the Deans. If you wish to have your military record reviewed please submit an official Joint Services Transcript (JST) to admissions when applying to SUNY Schenectady. As of March 1, 2013 AARTS (Army Transcript), SMART (Navy Transcript) and Coast Guard Institution Transcript have moved to the Joint Services Transcript. The JST is a uniform transcript of all military training and experience for service members of all branches, except the Air Force, which has its own, regionally accredited transcript. This new electronic transcript service includes Officer and Warrant Officer training, joint military training conducted by other services, and DANTES funded test scores.
Request official military transcripts be sent to SUNY Schenectady and download an unofficial copy for yourself or request an additional copy be sent to your home address for your personal records. (Please note: if the links below prompt you with a security warning, simply accept the security certificate or follow the instructions to add an exception to your browser.)
Air Force - Air University/Community College of the Air Force - Sent via conventional mail to SUNY Schenectady Office of Admissions and the Registrar, and plan on 1-2 weeks delivery time).
Army, Coast Guard, Navy and Marines - Joint Service Transcript (JST) - JSTs are sent electronically upon request and are received the next business day by SUNY Schenectady Office of Admissions and the Registrar.
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