VA Enrollment Information

Full-Time Status Requirements

Full-time status for standard semesters is outlined in SMU's catalog. SMU also offers courses in non-standard terms, including Intersessions. If you plan to take classes during a non-standard term, your full-time status will differ and your benefits will vary based on your program, the number of credits you take, and the length of your classes. For specific information regarding enrollment status, contact the School Certifying Officials.

Less than Full-Time Status

Chapter 30, 35, 1606

If you enroll less than half-time, your education benefit rates will be reduced proportionality and paid as a lump sum. You would receive reimbursement of the actual charges for tuition and fees or the established maximum, whichever is less. See VA’s rate tables for more information.

Chapter 33

You must be registered for at least one credit more than half-time in order to receive your Monthly Housing Allowance (e.g. 7-11 undergraduate or 5-8 graduate credits). Your MHA will be based on the prorated monthly rate of payment. If you are enrolled half-time or less, you are not eligible to receive a MHA. 

Military Transfer Credit

SMU does not accept credit for military experience; however, undergraduate veteran and active duty students may petition for their military experience to meet Common Curriculum requirements. Please talk to your academic advisor for these procedures. Military transcripts must be submitted to the Veteran Services Office in order to use your benefits at SMU.

Course Applicability

Only courses that meet degree requirements can be certified for VA purposes. If you enroll in a course that does not fulfill a degree requirement, the course and its corresponding tuition and fees will not be certified to VA. Excessive free electives, for example, cannot be certified. Audited courses cannot be certified.

Repeating Courses

If you withdraw or do not receive a passing grade, the VA will pay for you to repeat the course until you receive a passing grade. If you pass a course but want to try for a better grade (example: you received a C but you want to get an A), the VA will not pay for you to repeat it. However, VA will pay for repeats with a passing grade if a course requires a minimum grade to meet a requirement and that minimum grade was not met.

Major Declaration

Undergraduate students cannot be certified beyond their sophomore year unless a major is declared. Only UC or CC-required courses can be certified prior to the declaration of a major. 

Study Abroad

VA will only pay educational fees for a study abroad program if you are required to study abroad as part of that program. VA will never pay for airfare, travel, or boarding costs. If you want to study abroad, but it is not required by your program, your benefits will pay up to the equivalent cost of taking those courses on campus.

Supplemental and Concurrent Enrollments

VA can pay benefits for courses taken at other institutions as long as the courses apply to your degree. Approval to take coursework elsewhere must be obtained before our office will supply a Primary School Letter to the other institution’s School Certifying Official. To obtain approval, you must complete a Petition for Advanced Approval of Transfer Work. Please contact the School Certifying Officials for more information.

Practical Training

Practical training is academic training that incudes actual job experience. Examples are externship, internship, student teaching, and practicum. These courses can be certified in credit or clock hours (the number of hours you are required to work per week), whichever is to your advantage for your enrollment status.

Rounding Out

In your last semester, you may enroll in courses for the purpose of increasing your enrollment status to full-time. These courses, while not required for you to graduate, must be included within your program and would otherwise count towards graduation requirements. These cannot be courses that you have already completed.


If you drop a course or withdraw from the university, notify us immediately. All changes to enrollment must be reported to VA in a timely manner. You will be responsible for paying back any debt associated with the drop/withdrawal to VA. Please see VA debt for additional information about VA debt and repayment. All drop/withdrawal deadlines are found on the University's Academic Calendar.


Students are able to drop courses online via their Student Dashboard in my.SMU through the add/drop date. After the add/drop dates, students receiving Chapter 33 and 31 benefits have a hold placed on their account which prevents them from dropping course without first contacting the School Certifying Officials. This hold allows us to provide you with information regarding potential enrollment and debt ramifications. 

Effective fall 2017, SMU students are allowed to drop a course after the 5th class day up through the 10th class day. During that time, the dropped course will be removed from the transcript; however, tuition charges will remain the same. VA certification with tuition and fees occurs after the 10th class day and SMU only reports degree-required courses that appear on the transcript and the corresponding tuition/fees only. Therefore, if you drop a course between the 5th and 10th class day, students using VA benefits may incur a tuition charge that is not covered by VA. It is in your best interest to simply adhere to the add/drop deadline of the 5th class day, to avoid incurring personal charges.


Undergraduate students desiring to withdraw from the University must contact the Office of Student Success and Retention at One of their team members will send you an Undergraduate Student Leave, Withdrawal and Cancellation request Form to complete. The effective date of the withdrawal is the date the form is processed in the University Registrar’s Office. Discontinuance of class attendance or notification to the instructors of intention to withdraw does not constitute an official withdrawal and may result in a debt with VA and/or SMU. Students who reside in University housing must secure clearance from the Office of Residence Life and Student Housing.

Graduate students who need to withdraw from the University must contact their academic school of record or deans office.

Medical Withdrawals

Students who wish to pursue a medical withdrawal should click here for information regarding this process. Medical withdrawals provide a pro rata refund of tuition and fees, and have conditions that must be met prior to re-enrollment at SMU. Medical withdrawals can only be authorized by a licensed physician or psychologist/ counselor in the SMU Health Center. The University does not grant retroactive medical withdrawals. The last day you can request a medical withdrawal is the last day of class instruction of the semester/term from which you are requesting to withdraw. Withdrawing students living in SMU housing must check out of the residence halls with Residence Life and Student Housing per established procedures.  

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 isn’t received, VA will not pay for the course(s) in question.

Grade of F

If you receive a grade of F in a course, our office will determine if you received the F due to non-attendance. Instructors are required to report a last day of attendance for students who stop attending their courses per Federal guidelines. Grades of F due to non-attendance must be reported to VA and may result in the creation of a debt with VA and/or SMU as VA will not pay for courses in which students stop attending.

Academic Suspension

VA uses the same progress and conduct standards as Southern Methodist University. If your low grades lead to an academic suspension, it will be reported to to VA and educational assistance benefits will be discontinued. Benefits can be resumed if the student reenrolls in the same educational institution and same program. 

Called to Active Duty Service

If you are called to active duty during your semester, please contact the Dean of Students Office and the School Certifying Officials to assist you with your enrollment options.