Benefit Programs & Eligibility
The Department of Veteran Affairs administers the benefit programs listed below. If you need additional assistance, please call VA's toll-free number 1-888-442-4551 to speak with a Veterans Benefits Counselor. These counselors are there to help you with your educational questions and benefits.
To inquire about your benefits, download forms and learn what is happening with VA, please visit the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Education Service home page.
Chapter 30: Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty Educational Assistance — Active Duty (MGIB)
The Montgomery GI Bill program provides up to 36 months of education benefits. Generally, benefits are payable for 10 years following your release from active duty. Benefits are paid monthly via direct deposit.
Eligibility: Persons who first entered active duty after June 30, 1985, are generally eligible. Some Vietnam Era veterans and certain veterans separated under special programs are also eligible. The bill also includes a program for certain reservist and National Guard members.
Chapter 33: Post 9/11 GI Bill
The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides active duty members and reservists who have served active duty time since September 11, 2001 a comprehensive education benefit. Generally this includes tuition and fees paid to the school, as well as a books and supplies stipend and a living stipend paid via direct deposit to the student. Transfer of Entitlement is a component of this program where an eligible active military member or member of a Reserve Component may transfer all or part of their Post 9/11 GI Bill to a spouse or child. This transfer must be approved by the specific military branch. For further information on Transfer of Entitlement visit the VA's website.
Yellow Ribbon Program under Post-9/11 Bill
The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program (Yellow Ribbon Program) is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. This program allows institutions of higher learning (degree granting institutions) in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with VA to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. The institution can contribute up to 50% of those expenses and VA will match the same amount as the institution.
Eligibility: Military members who have served at least 90 days of cumulative active duty time since September 11, 2001 or have served 30 days and been discharged due to a service connected disability are typically eligible. Percentage of the benefit ranges from 100% to 40% depending on how much active duty time was served.
Chapter 35: Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program (DEA)
DEA provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition, or who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits and is paid monthly via check.
Eligibility: Some family members of disabled or deceased veterans are eligible for educational benefits.
Chapter 1606: Montgomery GI Bill—Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)
The MGIB-SR program may be available to you if you are a member of the Selected Reserve. The Selected Reserve includes the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, and the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. Benefits are paid monthly via direct deposit.
Eligibility: Current actively drilling reservists and National Guard members are eligible.
Chapter 1607: Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)
REAP was established as a part of the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005. It is a new Department of Defense education benefit program designed to provide educational assistance to members of the Reserve components called or ordered to active duty in response to a war or national emergency (contingency operation) as declared by the President or Congress. This new program makes certain individuals who were activated after September 11, 2001, either eligible for education benefits or eligible for increased benefits. Benefits are paid monthly via direct deposit.
Eligibility: Current actively drilling reservists and National Guard members who have been deployed or upgraded to an active duty status via title 10 or title 32 of the US Code are eligible.
*Time Limits: Generally, veterans have 10 years from the date they were last released from active duty to use their educational benefits, with exception of the Post 9/11 GI Bill which is 15 years. Spouses generally have 10 years from the date they are found eligible. Children are generally eligible from age 18 until age 26.
To Apply for Benefits
To receive VA benefits at Catawba College, you must:
- Be admitted to Catawba College
- Register for courses
- Apply to the Department of Veterans Affairs for education benefits
- Provide a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility received from VA Office to the Catawba College Financial Aid Office.
How long does it take to begin receiving benefits after they have been initiated?
New applicants should expect to receive their first check 8–12 weeks from the time the enrollment certification is sent. You will be paid retroactively from the first day of class. Continuing students should receive checks more quickly, provided there have not been any changes to your program or changes that would affect your benefits.
Am I still eligible to receive financial aid if I am receiving VA educational benefits?
Yes! It is a common misconception that students receiving educational benefits are not eligible for financial aid. This is simply not true. You are eligible to apply for financial aid as any other student would.
How do I verify my monthly enrollment for educational benefits?
Everyone receiving MGIB-Active Duty (Chapter 30) benefits, as well as those in the Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606) and REAP (Chapter 1607), must verify their enrollment each month to receive payment for that month. Your enrollment can be verified on the last calendar day of the month by using the Web Automated Verification of Enrollment (WAVE) at www.gibill.va.gov/wave or by calling the toll free Interactive Voice Response (IVR) telephone line at 1-877-823-2378.
Are there any academic standards I must maintain to keep my VA educational benefits?
Students must adhere to the Academic Standards Policy of the College. Students will be terminated for VA purposes if academically suspended. Catawba College notifies the VA within thirty days of any change in status or failure to meet satisfactory progress.
Do I have to attend full-time to receive my educational benefits?
No, but the amount of benefits you receive is directly proportional to the number of credits you take with the exception of chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill.
How do I find out if I have any benefits left?
Contact the Department of Veteran Affairs at 1-888-442-4551
Who do I contact if I have questions concerning my veteran benefit payments, such as direct deposit, payment amounts, etc.?
Contact the Department of Veteran Affairs at 1-888-GIBILL (1-888-442-4551) or visit www.gibill.va.gov and go to 1) Questions and Answers or 2) Wave Account (if you have not set one up, be sure to do so).
Do I have to pay tuition and fees?
Yes! With the exception of chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill, students are responsible for their own tuition and fees. VA benefits are a monthly allotment that gets paid via check or direct deposit.
I am the spouse of an active duty service member. Am I entitled to VA benefits?
Yes, possibly. Check the MyCAA program at https://aiportal.acc.af.mil/mycaa
- Education Assistance & Customer Service Helpline
- Enrollment Verification Line
- Direct Deposit Helpline
- Ch. 35 Dependents and Survivors Eligibility
- Voc Rehab Info