VA Benefits

VA Benefits FAQs

  • How do I apply for VA benefits?

    Visit the VA website to apply for educational benefits.


  • How do I know if I am eligible for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) educational assistance? 

    Contact VA at 1-888-442-4551 or visit the VA website.


  • I have a parent who is a veteran. How can I receive VA education benefits because of their service time?

    The veteran should contact VA at 1-888-442-4551 and find out what paperwork needs to be completed to start the process of transferring his/her VA educational benefits to a dependent.


  • How do I start my VA educational assistance benefits at SMU?

    Visit our website for specific instructions.


  • Do I have to reapply for benefits if I am transferring to SMU?

    If you’ve used VA benefits at another institution, then you need to complete the VA Form 22-1995 (Change of Program/Change of Place) on the VA website or on the e-Benefits portal.  SMU will also need an updated Certificate of Eligibility showing current VA eligibility.


  • Will the VA pay my application fees?

    No, VA will not pay the application fee.


  • If I am receiving Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) how much will I receive?

    See the BAH calculator and enter the calendar year, school zip code (75205), and E-5.  E-5 with dependents is the correct amount.


  • How do I get a copy of my DD214?

    Visit Veteran’s Service Records to request a copy of your DD-214.


  • Veterans Affairs (VA) educational benefits are divided into different “chapters.” How do I know which chapter I qualify for?

    Contact the VA at 1-888-442-4551 or visit the VA website.


  • How is the process different if I'm using the Montgomery GI Bill?

    VA does not pay SMU for tuition and fees under Chapter 30, Montgomery GI Bill.  The student is responsible for paying their tuition/fees.  VA only pays the veteran a monthly stipend and a books/supplies stipend.


  • How many months of VA educational benefits (or entitlement) do I have left?

    VA determines how many months/days of entitlement are remaining.  Contact VA at 1-888-442-4551.


  • When do I start to receive my VA educational benefits?

    After 1) VA approves you for benefits, 2) SMU receives a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility, 3) SMU certifies your enrollment, and 4) the term begins.


  • I qualify for Chapter 33 benefits. When can I expect to receive my textbook stipend and housing allowance?

    The books and supplies stipend is a lump sum payment for each term sent after the VA processes SMU’s enrollment certification.  (NOTE:  Active Duty students are not eligible for this stipend.) 

    The housing allowance (aka BAH payment) is processed by VA on a monthly basis.  It is paid directly to the student at the beginning of each month for the previous month.  It is prorated based on the percentage of eligibility and the student’s rate of pursuit.  Rate of pursuit must be more than 50%.  (NOTE:  Active duty students and spouses are not eligible for BAH.  Students who are only enrolled in distance learning courses are eligible for a monthly housing allowance equal to 50% of the national average of all Basic Allowances for Housing.)

    SMU submits a pre-certification to the VA before the term begin date in order for students to receive both their books/supplies stipend and BAH payments shortly after the start of the term.  (This pre-certification is based on the number of hours students are enrolled in at the time the pre-certification is submitted.  Only one pre-certification is submitted.)   


  • What level of VA educational benefits am I entitled to if I’m not classified as a fulltime student?

    Chapter 33 students:  Regardless of the number of hours a student is enrolled in, VA will pay SMU the tuition/fee amount based on the percentage of eligibility and no more than the prorated (if less than 100%) VA yearly maximum.  Both the books/supplies stipend and the BAH will be determined by the enrollment status of the student and percentage of eligibility.

    Other VA chapters:  The monthly stipend is dependent upon the number of hours in which a student is enrolled.


  • How are VA educational benefits calculated during summer semesters at SMU?

    VA benefits are used based on enrollment status and length of term. 


  • Does part-time status affect other VA educational benefits?

    If you are not a full-time student, then you use fewer VA benefits.  Also, you will not receive a full BAH while enrolled less than full-time.


  • Do I have to maintain a certain GPA to keep my VA educational benefits?

    If you qualify for and are receiving Yellow Ribbon, then you must maintain satisfactory academic progress, conduct, and attendance.  Students who are on academic probation may not receive Yellow Ribbon benefits.


  • If I fail a class, will I have to pay anything back to the VA?

    If an F is earned, SMU reports the last day of attendance to the VA.  The student may be required to pay the VA back for the class. 

    If a student completes a term with all F’s, SMU reports the last day of attendance to the VA.  If the student is suspended, SMU reports unsatisfactory progress to VA.