Financing your Education
All students (regardless of whether or not they are utilizing GI Bill Education Benefits) are strongly encouraged to apply for financial. The Office of Financial Aid assists in receiving grants, work, loans, and scholarships to finance higher education. FAFSA application is available online at www.fafsa.gov
New York State
The New York State Higher Education Department has approved Westchester Community College for the training of veterans and the dependents of veterans under the various Veterans Readjustment Acts. For further information, contact the Veteran’s Counselors in the Financial Aid Office (914-606-6994).
Veteran Tuition Award (VTA): Those veterans who served during the Vietnam Era, Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation Enduring Freedom are eligible to receive up to 98% of the resident SUNY, CUNY, or Community College tuition. Note that although the award is available regardless of income, students are now required to file both a FAFSA and TAP application in addition to the Veteran Tuition Award to be eligible for this award. Once TAP is processed, the TAP grant will pay the remaining 2% of the tuition. The CVTA application is available at the following site:
Complete the questionnaire on line and mail a copy of your DD-214 to HESC as instructed on the questionnaire.
National Guard Tuition Program
A new educational incentive program of the division of Military and Naval Affairs began January 1997 for members of the Army National Guard (ARNG), Air National Guard (ANG), and Naval Militia (MNNM) in the State of New York.
Guard members may be eligible if they meet specific criteria:
- Enrolled full-time or part-time (at least 6 credits)
- Working on first baccalaureate degree
- Attending an eligible New York institution
- Applied for a Federal PELL and NYS TAP; and
- Maintained good drill attendance
Students may receive up to $3,400/year ($1,700/semester) or tuition, whichever is less. Federal Pell and TAP awards will be deducted from tuition first, and the balance of tuition would be aid through this program. The Division of Military and Naval Affairs Educational Incentive Program Application is available from the National Guard. Students are responsible to pay the money back if they drop out of classes.
Child of Veteran (CV) or Corrections Officer (CO)
A child of a military service veteran who is deceased, 40% or more disabled, a former prisoner of war or missing in action as a result of service in World War I, World War II, Korean War or Vietnam War, or who died as a result of injuries sustained in the line of duty as a corrections officer may receive up to $450 each year for four years of full-time undergraduate study (or five years in an approved five-year bachelor’s degree program). The combined Child of Veteran and/or Child of Correction Officer and TAP award can never exceed the amount of tuition. For further information, contact the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (NYSHESC) in Albany and request a CV or CO Award Supplement. You must file a FAFSA application and a TAP application.
Military Service Recognition Scholarship for members of the armed services of the U.S or state organized militia who, while New York State residents, at any time on or after August 2, 1990, became severely and permanently disabled as a result of injury or illness incurred in a combat theatre or combat zone or during military training operations in preparation for duty in a combat theatre or combat zone of operation.
Also, children spouses and financial dependents of member of the above forces who were New York State residents at any time on or after August 2, 199, who died, became severely and permanently disabled as a result in injuries suffered or incurred, or are classified missing in action as a result of military activities as described above are also eligible.
Applicants must be a full time undergraduate student in an approved New York State post-secondary institution and must submit documentation supporting eligibility. In addition to applying for a TAP, award applicants must file the appropriate award supplement by May 1, 2011for he 2010-11 academic year. The Application Supplement may be requested from NYSHESC by calling 1-888-697-4372.
New York State Educational Incentive Program
Covers tuition for current New York State National Guard and New York State Naval Militia participants only. Apply through the Education Office at your reserve unit.
Vocational Rehab(Chapter 31)
Commonly called Vocational Rehabilitation, this program covers those service members with a service connected disability. Those looking to qualify for this program will first need to have the VA determine both their level of disability and the appropriate remedy. Note that the program of study will need to be approved prior to enrollment, and all classes attempted must lead to the specified degree. Tuition, fees, books, and supplies will be paid by the VA to the college directly. The student is responsible for presenting the form 1905-22 to the VA certifying official to insure payment. The student is responsible for reporting any changes in enrollment and academic progress to his or her VA counselor.
Survivor Benefits (Chapter 35)
Survivor benefits are paid to the children or spouse of a veteran declared 100% disabled, died as a result of a service connected disability, killed action, or missing in action. The benefit is a monthly stipend paid after school certification, and the student is not required to report attendance each month. Payment is prorated if the student is less than full time, and those taking less than 6 credits will only receive partial payment for the semester.
Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). Active Duty Educational Assistance Program (Chapter 30) Service beginning after June 30, 1985
This program is for active duty veterans who served after July 1st, 1985. The benefit is a monthly stipend paid after the school certifies registration. The amount paid is based on length of active duty service and number of credits taken. Those who served 4 years or longer receive the full payment while those who less than 4 years will have their awards reduced. Similarly, part time students will have their payments prorated. Those taking less than 6 credits will be paid only the tuition and fees associated with their class and do not receive a stipend to assist with living expenses. Students are responsible for certifying their attendance each month. If a student does not certify his or her attendance, the VA will withhold future payments until the student is in compliance.
GI Bill. Selected Reserved Educational Assistance Program (Chapter 1606).
This program is limited to reservists and National Guard personnel who have not been called to active duty. Similar to the Montgomery GI BILL, the benefit is a monthly stipend paid after the school certifies registration. The amount paid is the same regardless of length of service; however payment is prorated for those taking less than full time study. Those taking less than 6 credits will only receive partial payment for the semester. Also, the student is required to certify attendance each month, and payment will be withheld if this is not completed.
This program is for reservist and Guard personnel who served extended overseas tours of duty. Your monthly stipend will vary depending on how long you spent on active duty. The minimum length of active duty service is 90 days. Those who served less than 90 days are eligible for Chapter 1606 only. Note that active duty does not include training. Once the monthly payment had been decided, the program is similar to Chapters 30 and 1606. Students receive payment after certification by the school, and students must certify their attendance each month. Those who do not certify their attendance will not receive the next month’s payment. Also, payment is prorated for those taking less than full time study, and those taking less than 6 credits will only receive partial payment.
Post-9/11 GI bill effective August 1, 2009
This program creates a new veterans education benefits program for persons on active duty on or after September 11, 2001. It increases the maximum monthly veterans education benefits under the pre-existing Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB) from $1,101 to $1,321and allows active duty service members to transfer to family members MGIB and other veterans education benefits. Veterans will have 15 years to use the Post-9/11Bill benefits as compared to 10 under MGIB. Benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill are paid directly to the beneficiary.
Who Is Eligible
- Veterans who served in aggregate at least 90 days active duty after September 10, 2001.
- Those who served at least 36 months active duty are eligible for maximum benefits.
- Those who served less time are eligible for pro-rated benefits to a minimum of 40%.
- National Guard and Reserves members who served pursuant to a federal call to active duty.
- Veterans who serve at least 30 continuous days and sustained a service connected disability.
- Veterans discharged in some circumstances.
- Active duty service members
- In some cases, spouses and children of active service members.
Veterans enrolled more than half-time in an approved educational program are entitled to tuition benefits, monthly housing stipends and yearly books and supplies stipends. The tuition stipend would be that charged at Westchester Community College. Yearly stipend for books and supplies is up to $1,000. The housing stipend is based on military housing benefit rates based on the zip code of the college. Students enrolled in distance education are not eligible for a housing stipend. Students enrolled half-time or less are eligible for a reduced tuition and books and supplies stipend. They are, however, not eligible for a housing stipend.
Compared to the pre-existing veterans education benefits programs, which remain in effect, the Post-9/11 GI Bill generally provides a better benefits package in terms of eligibility criteria, eligibility period and financial value. However, please be aware that the best veterans education benefits program for a person who is eligible for multiple programs, including the Post-9/11 GI Bill will depend on the person’s individual circumstances.
NOTE: Once a veteran selects the Post- 9/11 GI bill program, he/she cannot revert back to the MGIB. Veterans are therefore cautioned to weigh carefully which of the two programs will serve them better.
The Fry Scholarship
This scholarship, administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, is named after Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry who died in Iraq in 2006. Children of military personnel who died in the line of duty since September 11, 2001 are eligible to apply for this scholarship. The scholarship covers tuition and fees for public, in state undergraduate students plus a monthly living stipend and book allowance. Eligible children are entitled to 36 months of benefits at the 100% level and have 15 years to use the benefit beginning on his/her 18th. birthday until the age of 33.
Eligible children serving or who have served in the armed forces who are eligible for benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty, Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve, and/or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) must relinquish eligibility under one of these programs to receive this benefit. A child on active duty will receive benefits at the active duty benefit rate, that is tuition and fees but not monthly housing allowance or books and supplies. Those eligible to transfer benefits to his or her dependents can transfer up to 36 months of eligibility. Applications are available online at www.gibill.va.gov. At the VONAPP site select VA Form 22-5490. For further information call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) or visit the VA GI Bill Website at http://www.gibill.va.gov.
For additional information, please contact the Veteran’s Counselor located in the Student Center (914) 606-6156 or e-mail Joshua.Gaccione@sunywcc.edu.