Applying for Veteran Educational Benefits at RACC
Listed below shows how to apply for the GI Bill® and other VA education benefits as a Veteran, service member, or qualified family member. To assist with your enrollment and payment, RACC has five designated staff to assist with the VA process. Our Enrollment Services Counselor, Katherine Reimert, will help with admissions and enrollment and the following VA Certifying Officials will assist with seeking information on the TA program, Title IV funding, or VA education benefits and are familiar with institutional services to Service members who are seeking information about academic counseling, financial aid counseling, job search support, or other student support services at Reading Area Community College:
- Ivy Copeland: VA Certifying Official - Fin. Aid/Recrds. Officer
- Maholy Lahoz: VA Certifying Official - Fin. Aid/Recrds. Asst.
- Kathleen Evans: VA Certifying Official - Asst. Dir. Fin.Aid/Regstr
- Ben Rosenberger: VA Certifying Official - Dir. Fin.Aid/Regstr
How do I prepare before starting my benefits application?
- Find out if you're eligible for VA education benefits.
- Gather the documents and information listed below that will be needed to apply for education benefits.
- Social Security number
- Bank account direct deposit information
- Education and military history
- Basic information about the school or training facility you want to attend or are attending now
- See what benefits you'll get at the school you want to attend with the GI Bill® Comparison Tool.
- How to Use the Military Tuition Assistance Program
Note: To apply for Veteran Readiness and Employment (also called Chapter 31) or educational and career counseling (also called Chapter 36) benefits and services, you will need to use a different application.
- Find out how to apply for Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E)
- Learn more about Educational and Career Counseling
How do I apply for VA benefits?
You can apply online right now. Just answer a few questions, and we'll help you get started with the education benefits form that's right for you.
You can also apply:
- By mail
Call 888-442-4551, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET, to request that we send the application to you. Fill it out and mail it to the VA regional claims processing office that's in the same location as your school.
See a list of regional claims processing offices
- In person
Go to a VA regional office and have a VA employee help you.
Find a VA regional office near you
Work with your school's certifying official. This person is usually in the Registrar or Financial Aid office at the school.
- With the help of a trained professional
You can work with a trained professional called an accredited representative to get help applying for education benefits.
Get help filing your claim
What happens after I apply for education benefits?
Find out what happens after you apply
You can't make changes to your application, but if you have questions about VA education benefits, please call 888-442-4551, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET.
How long does it take VA to make a decision?
30 days Average time to process education claims.
After the processing time, you will receive a Certificate of Eligibility.
Take the Certificate of Eligibility to the Financial Aid Office, B106. Upon receipt of the COE, the Cashiers Office will place a registration hold to secure classes until benefits are received. If you having difficulty getting the COE, please review the link with these instructions.
If a service member is called up to active duty under Title 10 or Title 32, see description below, RACC will allow readmissions to their program upon return and allow suspension of their studies without penalties.
Federal authority over service members falls under Title 10 of the U.S. Code. These laws apply to active duty, reservists, and Guard members who are ordered to federal-level active duty for federal-level missions. Funding comes from the federal government. The president is the boss.
Federal authority over National Guard members falls under Title 32 of the U.S. Code. This is considered federal active duty for specific state missions and full-time Guard positions. This type of state-level activation is guided by state laws and policies, but it is funded by the federal government after approval from the president. This typically happens with large-scale, state-related missions: major natural disasters, for example. The governor is the boss even though the state mission is sanctioned and funded by the federal government.
Tuition Assistance Withdrawals
For the Tuition Assistance Program, Reading Area Community College will return funds to the Department of Defense up through to the 60% period for each section for which the veteran withdraws. The funds returned are considered unearned. To determine the value earned, we will look at each section and take the beginning date and ending date to determine the denominator for the equation. Then we will count the days from day one through the withdrawal date. That will create a percentage earned. The percentage earned will be retained and the rest will be returned to the Department of Defense. The reason for the section by section philosophy is that we have multiple modules within a semester. The sample is as follows:
- A veteran is scheduled for ENV-130-1111, Environment, which begins 8/22/22 and ends 12/7/22. The student attended through October 7th 2022 and withdrew. There are 10 days August, 30 days September, 31 days October, 30 days November and 7 days in December. The denominator is 108 days. The student attended 47 days. The formula is as follows: 47/108 = 43%
Summary: The college will bill 43% of that section and return the other 57%. If the tuition and fees were $600, we would retain $258 and return $342.
VA Work-Study Program
Veterans who train at the three-quarter or full-time rate may be eligible for a work-study program in which they work for VA and receive hourly wages. Students under the work-study program must be supervised by a VA employee and all duties performed must relate to VA. The types of work allowed include:
- VA paperwork processing at schools or other training facilities.
- Assistance with patient care at VA hospitals or domiciliary care facilities.
- Work at national or state veterans' cemeteries.
- Various jobs within any VA regional office.
- Other VA-approved activities.