The Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense require certain policies to be followed for institutions receiving benefits under GI Bill® or Federal Tuition Assistance. Within these policies are your rights and responsibilities, as well as The Citadel’s, when it comes to certifying and processing these benefits.
Standards of Progress
All students receiving VA Education Benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs are required to maintain academic progress according to the standards established by The Citadel. Students who do not maintain satisfactory academic progress will have their benefits discounted and the Certifying Official will inform the VA of this action. The VA determines conditions for reinstatement of benefits.
VA Education Benefits interruption may occur by:
- The student registers for classes that are not specified as necessary for the declared program of study. Depending on circumstances, deficiency or remedial course may be certified for benefits.
- The failure to submit all previous college transcripts for evaluation.
- The student registers for two or more courses and received “F” (fail), “NC” (no credit)/”NP” (no pass), or “IP” (in progress) grades for all courses for one semester.
- The failure to convert an “I” (incomplete) grade to a letter grade within one year from receipt of the “I” grade.
- The student doesn’t attend class for the semester paid for by VA benefits.
Audits, Withdrawals, Non-required Courses and Repeating Courses
The VA Education Benefits exclude any course not required for graduation. This includes repeated courses of a “D” or better. There is an exception for a required higher grade. In addition, the VA will not pay for withdrawals or excessive electives. This excludes courses that have failing grades and are required for graduation. If you are a veteran and have any questions, please contact out office at 843-953-9824 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Veteran students using VA Education Benefits are required by law to keep The Citadel’s Certifying Official informed of all of the following:
- Audits and/or withdrawals
- Change of major
- Course substitutions
- Address change
- Student called to active duty
Dropping below your initial enrollment with the VA may result in a reduction in benefits and a debt to the VA and the school. If a student has mitigating circumstances, they may need to provide documentation to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The following are examples of possible mitigating circumstances:
- 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 them 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 made for the period during which they are attending classes.
Federal Tuition Assistance
The Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA) benefit is paid to eligible active duty and members of the National Guard or Reserves. There is authorization for specific eligibility criteria for each branch of service. Service members should contact their local Education Service Officer (ESO) or representative prior to enrolling in college. These benefits are not the same as VA Educational Benefits.
Prospective students should visit the following websites before deciding to attend The Citadel.
Tuition Assistance (TA) Decide provides a comparison tool to assist participants of DoD’s TA program in making an informed choice on schools and education programs. Although the website is designed for individuals, your ESO can also be of assistance in the process.
Steps you should take in using Tuition Assistance:
- Contact your ESO or representative at your local military installation. Please keep in mind that the availability of TA funds varies by your branch of service or command.
- If you are eligible for TA, explore The Citadel’s degree programs and apply for admissions.
- Steps to follow once you are admitted to The Citadel:
- Contact your Citadel academic advisor for your degree program and select your classes each semester
- Complete your TA with your respective branch of service. Once approved, submit your approved TA voucher or authorization to the Office of the Treasurer by email at TRSR@citadel.edu. If you are using TA along with VA Educational Benefits, please submit a copy of your TA authorization to the Veteran Student Success Center by email at email@example.com
Military Tuition Assistance Resources
Refer to the Department of Defense for general guidelines and assistance as well as the branch of service for specifics. We also encourage you to visit Tuition Assistance (TA) Decide.
Called to Active Duty
Citadel students in the National Guard, Reserves and active duty personnel who may be called/recalled to active duty or have active duty assignments significantly changed unexpectedly.
The Citadel recognizes and appreciates the important contributions made by these men and women to our country. In support of these students, The Citadel has developed the following procedures to provide each college with maximum flexibility in assisting these students. Students who are activated for full time military service during a time of national crisis (SC Code of Law 59-101-395), with activation orders or other official documentation will be provided the following options:
- Withdraw from all classes and 100% of the tuition and mandatory fees would be refunded and the students will be awarded “W” grades for each course. In addition, cadets would be given a pro-rated refund of all auxiliary fees.
- Student arranges with his/her instructor(s) for a grade and/or an incomplete (to be made up in the specified time period) in the course(s). The registration would remain intact and tuition and mandatory fees would be assessed in full.
If arrangements are made with only some of the student’s instructors for a grade and/or an incomplete, the registration for those courses would remain intact and tuition and mandatory fees would be assessed for those courses. Any courses for which arrangements cannot be made for a grade and/or an incomplete could be dropped and the tuition and mandatory fees for those courses would be refunded.
To be eligible for any of the above options, a copy of activation orders or other official documentation must be provided to the Office of the Registrar.
Financial aid is refunded in accordance with existing Citadel and Federal policies for each of the above situations. Inquiries should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid.
These procedures do not apply to national guardsmen or reservists who are fulfilling their annual two-week active duty training, or to students that enlist into active duty during the semester/term.
Questions regarding this policy or for assistance in withdrawing may reach out to the Office of the Registrar or the Veteran Student Success Center.
Title 38 USC 3679(e) Compliance
The following policies and procedures are of primary concern to veterans, servicepersons, members of guard and selected reserves, and other eligible persons who receive VA educational benefits while enrolled at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina.
Please note: Academic standards of progress and attendance are covered under school standards of progress as specified by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, License Division, and are required by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
In accordance with Title 38 US Code 3679 subsection (e), this school adopts the following additional provisions for any students using U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Post 9/11 G.I. Bill® (Ch. 33) or Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Ch. 31) benefits, while payment to the institution is pending from the VA. This school will not:
- Prevent the student’s enrollment;
- Assess a late penalty fee to;
- Require student 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:
- Provide Chapter 33 Certificate of Eligibility (or its equivalent) or for Chapter 31, VA VR&E’s contract with the school on VA Form 28-1905 by the first day of class.
Note: Chapter 33 students can register at the VA Regional Office to use va.gov to get the equivalent of a Chapter 33 Certificate of Eligibility. Chapter 31 student cannot get a completed VA Form 28-1905 (or any equivalent) before the VA VR&E case-manager issues it to the school.
- Provide written request to be certified;
- Provide additional information needed to properly certify the enrollment as described in other institutional policies
Section 702 of Veterans Choice Act 2014
The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina complies with the following laws that grant instate tuition to covered individuals using certain VA educational benefits:
- Section 702 of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (“Choice Act”), requires VA to disapprove programs of education for payment of benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill® and Montgomery GI Bill®-Active Duty at public institutions of higher learning if the schools charge qualifying Veterans and dependents tuition and fees in excess of the rate for resident students for terms beginning after July 1, 2015.
- Section 417 of Public Law 114-315 requires VA to disapprove programs of education for payment of benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill® and Montgomery GI Bill®-Active Duty at public Institutions of Higher Learning (IHLs) if the school charges qualifying Veterans and dependents tuition and fees in excess of the rate for resident students for terms beginning after July 1, 2017; includes adding dependents of active duty service members and removing the 3 year requirement for Fry Scholarship recipients.
- The Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 (Public Law 116-315 Section 1005) amends the definition of covered individuals in Title 38 USC 3679(c)(2)(A) by removing the requirement to be within 3 years of discharge in order to receive in-state tuition for individuals using Chapter 30, Post-9/11 and transferred Post-9/11 benefits, effective August 1, 2021.
- The Colonel John M. McHugh Tuition Fairness for Survivors Act of 2021 (Public Law 117-68) amends the definition of covered individuals for instate tuition to include Chapter 35 Dependents’ Educational Assistance, effective 8/1/2022.
*Currently effective only for the 2022-2023 Academic Year under Proviso 117.173 of Act 239 signed by Governor McMaster on 6/29/2022.
To remain approved for VA’s GI Bill® programs, schools must charge in-state tuition and fee amounts to “covered individuals.” A covered individual is defined as:
- A Veteran who lives in the state where the Institution of Higher Learning (IHL) is located (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) and was discharged or released after a minimum of 90 days of military service and using Post-9/11 or Chapter 30 benefits.
- An individual using transferred Post-9/11 benefits who lives in the state where the IHL is located (regardless of his/her formal state of residence).
- Anyone using transferred Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits who lives in the state where the IHL is located and the transferor is a member of the uniformed service who is serving on active duty. Effective 7/1/2017
- Anyone using benefits under the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship who lives in the state where the IHL is located (regardless of his/her formal state of residence). Effective 7/1/2017
- Anyone using educational assistance under chapter 31, Veterans Readiness and Employment (VR&E) who lives in South Carolina while attending a school located in South Carolina (regardless of his/her formal State of residence) Effective 3/1/2019.
- Anyone using Chapter 35 Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA) benefits who lives in the state where the IHL is located while attending classes (regardless of their formal state of residence). Effective 8/1/2022
Anyone described above while he or she remains continuously enrolled (other than during regularly scheduled breaks between courses, semesters, or terms) at the same school. The person must be eligible and receiving educational benefits under either Chapter 30, Chapter 31, Chapter 33 or Chapter 35, of title 38, United States Code.
The in-state tuition provisions do not apply to those individuals on active duty using benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill® and Montgomery GI Bill®-Active Duty.
These requirements ensure our nation’s recently discharged Veterans, and their eligible family members, will not bear the cost of out-of-state charges while using their well-deserved education benefits.
What documentation/requirements are needed in order to qualify for instate tuition under the above provision?
- Post-9/11 and Chapter 30 Recipients: Veterans and service members; dependents of active duty, separated or retired service members:
- Certificate of Eligibility showing student’s approval for Post-9/11 (dependent or Veteran) or Chapter 30 COE for Veterans
- Must be living in South Carolina area while attending classes
- Must be using Post-9/11 or Chapter 30 benefits (VA Enrollment Request Form required each semester)
- Student may not qualify if they are serving on active duty
- Fry Scholarship recipients:
- Certificate of Eligibility showing student’s approval for the Fry Scholarship
- Must be living in South Carolina area while attending classes
- Must be using Fry Scholarship benefits (VA Enrollment Request Form required each semester)
- Chapter 35 recipients:
- Certificate of Eligibility showing student’s approval for Chapter 35 DEA benefits
- Must be living in South Carolina area while attending classes
- Must be using Chapter 35 benefits (VA Enrollment Request Form required each semester)
The Certificate of Eligibility/Award Letter should be submitted to the School Certifying Official and the Registrar’s Office each semester no later than the first day of classes in order to be considered for instate tuition under the Choice Act provision. If the student claims eligibility but the COE is not available, the Veteran’s Coordinator can verify eligibility with Veterans Affairs. In this case, student’s VA benefit application must be approved with VA.