VA Debt

If you make enrollment changes after you have been certified for the term, this may create a debt with VA and/or SMU. When a debt occurs, VA will contact the school for the return of a portion or all funds they sent for your tuition and fees and/or Yellow Ribbon. SMU will return the requested funds to VA and adjust your student account to reflect the repayment. Any resulting balance is your responsibility to pay to SMU. Unpaid student account balances may result in late payment fees, a financial hold preventing you from registering for future classes, obtaining official transcripts or receiving your diploma, and a potential referral of the delinquent account to a collection agency if no attempts are made to bring your account current.

VA will contact you directly about your housing and book stipend overpayment and how to repay that debt. We recommend paying this debt as quickly as possible or making other arrangements with the Debt Management Center to insure that your future benefits are not impacted.

If your plans change and you no longer wish to be certified for a specific term, you must contact us so we can cancel your certification. Any charges associated with a cancelled certification must also be repaid to VA and/or SMU.

Mitigating Circumstances

Mitigating circumstances are circumstances beyond the student’s control that prevent the student from continuing in school or that cause the student to reduce credits. VA will reduce benefits effective the first day of the term unless mitigating circumstances are found. You must provide documentation to our office in order for us to report mitigating circumstances to VA.

Examples are:

  • An illness or death in the student’s immediate family.
  • An illness or injury afflicting the student during the enrollment period.
  • An unavoidable change in the student’s conditions of employment.
  • An unavoidable geographical transfer resulting from the student’s employment.
  • Immediate family or financial obligations beyond the control of the claimant that require him or her to suspend pursuit of the program of education to obtain employment.
  • Discontinuance of the course by the school.
  • Unanticipated active military service, including active duty for training.
  • Unanticipated difficulties with childcare arrangements the student has made for the period during which he or she is attending classes.

If mitigating circumstances are needed and adequate evidence of mitigating circumstances is not received, VA will not pay for the course(s) in question.

Contact VA Debt Management Center

For additional information on education benefit debt or to manage your VA debt, please visit VA's website.

Online support: Ask VA
Phone: 1-800-827-0648

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Debt Management Center
P.O. Box 11930
St. Paul, MN 55111