U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Principles of Excellence and the U.S. Department of Defense Voluntary Education Programs
The Office for Military-Affiliated Communities (OMAC) serves as the central hub for resources, programming, and support for the University’s military-affiliated community. In partnership with the University Registrar’s Office, OMAC ensures that the University complies with all federal, state, and agency regulations pertaining to Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits and Department of Defense (DoD) tuition assistance programs.
The University of Chicago is required to comply with the Principles of Excellence established by Executive Order 13607, and we participate in the Department of Defense Voluntary Education Partnership program so that eligible active-duty service members, reservists, and guardsmen are able to utilize Tuition Assistance from their military branch as administered by the DoD. The Veterans Affairs School Certifying Officials (SCOs) in the University Registrar and OMAC serve as the first point of contact for Veterans Affairs education benefits assistance and DoD tuition assistance.
The University of Chicago certifies enrollment for VA education benefits and DoD tuition assistance for students in degree-seeking programs and students in VA- and DoD-approved certificate programs. Non-matriculated and unapproved certificate programs are not eligible. All students eligible to receive Veterans education benefits or DoD tuition assistance while attending the University are urged to complete arrangements with the appropriate agency in advance of enrollment.
The University of Chicago is required to certify only those courses that meet minimum graduation requirements. Courses not directly related to a student's degree program or courses beyond those required for a specific degree program are not certified. Undergraduates should meet with an adviser to develop a course enrollment plan. Graduate students should have their departments approve their study lists as meeting graduation requirements on a quarterly basis.
To comply with federal regulations concerning credit for previous education and training (38 CFR 21.4253), the University of Chicago is required to evaluate all previous education and training completed elsewhere to determine what credit, if any, should be granted to students eligible to receive Veterans education benefits or DoD tuition assistance. Previous education and training is evaluated for credit toward the degree program registered with Veterans Affairs or DoD by the Office of the University Registrar and OMAC in conjunction with the relevant academic department(s) or program(s). All relevant University policies regarding transfer credit apply. In addition, this evaluation occurs each time a student's degree program is changed.
In accordance with the requirements of the Principles of Excellence (as codified in 38 U.S.C 3679(f)) and the DoD Voluntary Education Program, the University of Chicago will:
- Provide all covered individuals (students using chapter 30, 31, 32, 33, or 35 of title 38, U.S.C., or chapter 1606 of title 10, U.S.C., and DoD benefits) with:
- A College Financing Plan (CFP) prior to enrollment, or within 15 days after tuition and fees are determined for the academic year.
- Information about the availability of federal financial aid not administered by the VA or DoD, types of aid offered by the University, and their potential eligibility for such financial aid prior to packaging or arranging students’ loans or alternative financing for the student.
- Certify covered individuals with the VA and DoD each quarter, and not automatically renew their benefits.
- Comply with all certifying rules set forth in the VA’s SCO Handbook.
- Not enroll a covered individual in any course, degree or certificate program, or other educational program not approved for VA or DoD benefits.
- Not certify for VA or DoD benefits for any courses not part of the covered individual’s degree plan or program of study.
- Provide covered individuals with a timeline for graduation, including the requirements for graduation and transferability of credits accepted by the University and applicable academic unit(s), prior to enrolling into any courses.
- Not permit automatic renewal of a covered individual in a course and/or program. The University will receive approval of enrollment in a course and/or program from the covered individual before certifying benefits with the VA or DoD.
- Designate contacts at the University to serve as points of contact for covered individuals and family members seeking assistance with:
- Academic Counseling,
- Financial Counseling,
- Disability Counseling, and
- Other information regarding completing a course or program at the University.
All policies, contacts, and procedures for covered individuals can be found on the OMAC site here.
- The University will also ensure that its refund policies follow Title IV rules, which guide federal student financial aid programs.
Beginning August 1, 2019, and despite any policy to the contrary, the University of Chicago will not take any of the four following actions toward any student using U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Post 9/11 G.I. Bill® (Ch. 33)1 or Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Ch. 31) benefits, while their payment from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs is pending to the educational institution:
- Prevent their enrollment;
- Assess a late penalty fee to the covered individual;
- Require they secure alternative or additional funding;
- Deny their access to any resources (access to classes, libraries, or other institutional facilities) available to other students who have satisfied their tuition and fee bills to the institution.
However, to qualify for this provision, such students may be required to:
- Produce the VA’s Certificate of Eligibility by the first day of class;
- Provide written request to be certified;
- Provide additional information needed to properly certify the enrollment as described in other institutional policies (see our VA School Certifying Official for all requirements).
1GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website.