Academic Progress for Veterans

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When you enroll at Kirkwood with benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), you need to choose an educational, professional, or vocational objective: What do you want to study? What do you want to do with your education?

Talk to an advisor if you're not sure. Kirkwood also has a set of regulations that you need to comply with regarding your program. Here's what you can expect as a veteran or military member studying at Kirkwood.

Academic Requirements for Veteran and Military Students

You are expected to avoid the status of Academic Warning or Academic Probation. Here’s what those terms mean.

Academic Warning: When students begin their college experience, Kirkwood allows for a period of adjustment. Students with less than 12 hours and a low grade point average (GPA) will not be placed on warning. However, students with 12-18 credit hours and a GPA of less than 1.80 will be placed on academic warning.

Academic Probation: If a student has attempted from 19-29 credit hours and has a GPA of less than 1.80, he or she will be placed on academic probation. Additionally, if a student has attempted 30.0 or more credit hours and has a GPA of less than 2.00, he/she will be placed on academic probation.

All students placed on academic probation or warning will remain on that status until his/her cumulative GPA is raised to the appropriate level. Students on academic warning/probation for two consecutive semesters will be placed on mandatory hold, which requires counselor approval for continued registration.

If a student remains on academic probation beyond two semesters without an improvement in standing, they will be reported to the DVA and his/her account will be placed in a suspended status. The student will then be required to go through a reinstatement process. The process usually results in reinstatement, but it can cause a lengthy delay in, and disruption of, benefits. To avoid these difficulties, keep your GPA above 2.0.

Non-punitive: The DVA will not pay for a course in which a non-punitive grade is assigned. The following grades are considered non-punitive:

N: Assigned for an audit of a course

W: Assigned for withdrawal from a course

If either of these grades will result in a change of your benefit status, an overpayment may be generated. You may contact the VA certifying official for help in determining the affect this would have on your benefits.

Repeating Courses: Kirkwood will allow you to repeat any course for a better grade. The DVA will not pay you to repeat a course if you received a grade of "D" or better the first time. The DVA will pay you to repeat a course under the following conditions:

  • You received a grade of "F" for the course. The DVA will only pay for the first repeat of the course.
  • You received a grade of "D" for the course, but the department requires a "C" or better for graduation.

Change in Enrollment

You need to notify the VA certifying official if you change your enrollment status (full-time vs. part-time) by adding or dropping a class or withdrawing from school.

If you withdraw from a course or courses, you may have to repay part or all of the benefits you received for the course, depending on how the change affects your benefit status.

You may not be required to repay benefits received for a course if you can show that the change was due to mitigating circumstances. The DVA defines "mitigating circumstances" as unavoidable and unexpected events that directly interfere with pursuit of a course and are beyond your control. If you claim mitigating circumstances as the reason for withdrawing from the course, the DVA may request evidence to support your claim, such as statements from a doctor or from an employer.

It is your responsibility to notify the Veterans Affairs certifying official of any change in your enrollment status.

By law, the DVA is required to take prompt action to recover overpayments. These actions may include:

  • Adding interest and collection fees
  • Withholding future benefits until the debt is paid
  • Referring the debt to a private collection agency
  • Withholding federal income tax refunds
  • Filing a lawsuit in federal court to collect the debt

Change in Academic Major

You must initiate a special VA form in order to change your academic major with the Department of Veterans Affairs. These forms are available in the OneStop office at 216 Kirkwood Hall. Once you have completed the form, any certifications sent to the DVA will be in keeping with the curriculum from your new major. Only those classes that are assigned to your new major will be certified to the DVA for payment purposes.

Anyone receiving VA educational benefits is required to attend classes. If you stop attending classes, you must report any changes in your schedule to the VA certifying official. If you stop attending classes, your educational benefits will be terminated with an effective date of the last date you attended classes. This could have the effect of creating an overpayment and a debt owed to the government.

With the exception of Chapter 31 VA Vocational Rehabilitation, Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill and Chapter 35 Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance, VA students must verify their enrollment by utilizing one of two methods. Either call 877-823-2378 or log on to the VA’s website. This information is also on the back of your VA certifying official's business card.

The VA will not send payment until this is done. Remember to do this on the last day, or after, of each month.


Get Your Certification of Enrollment

The VA Certifying Official is responsible to notify the Department of Veterans Affairs that you are enrolled at Kirkwood Community College and for how many hours. The DVA will use that information to determine the correct amount of benefits you should be receiving.

How It Works

Your enrollment status (for those who are pursuing a degree) will be reviewed each term. Only those courses that meet graduation requirements are eligible for payment of benefits. Certification of those classes being taken is sent to the DVA each semester. It is your responsibility to ensure that the classes you take are going to count toward graduation and that the correct certification is sent to the DVA.

You can increase your chances for success by meeting with your advisor and the VA certifying official before the start of classes each semester.

It will generally take four to six weeks for the VA Regional Processing Center to process your certification and mail a response.

About Your Benefits

Students will usually be eligible for 24-36 months of benefits at the full-time rate. It is permissible to choose to be paid at less than the full-time rate for a particular semester. For example, you may choose to be paid at the half-time rate, even though you’re attending full-time. This has the effect of lengthening the number of months you will receive benefits, but will not increase the total dollar amount of benefits you can receive in the 10-year period.

Earn Credit for Prior Training

To obtain credit from previous colleges, contact the registrar’s office at the school where the courses were completed and request that an official transcript is sent directly to Kirkwood’s OneStop office. A student-carried transcript cannot be used to officially transfer credit.

You may receive credit for courses completed while in the military, provided the training is applicable to your current major, and that the course is listed in the ACE (American Council on Education) Guide. To receive credit, you must provide documentation, by submitting official copies of your military transcripts. All transcripts are evaluated by the VA certifying official.

How to Request Your Transcripts

To request your transcripts from the Army, Navy or Marines, request a Joint Services Transcript. For the Air Force, there are two ways to request transcripts once your record has been created: 

  1. Mail a letter to CCAF requesting a transcript which also will need to include your full name, the last four digits of your SSN, your date of birth, and the address you wish your transcript to be sent to. The address for CCAF is Community College of the Air Force, 100 South Turner Blvd, Maxwell AFB, Gunter Annex, AL 36114-3011. You must physically sign the letter to release your record.
  2. Credentials, Inc. does overnight and regular delivery using a service called TranscriptPLUS for a fee.

If you are pursuing a program that culminates in an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, or an Associate of Science/Career Option degree, the records evaluator will evaluate your credit. Military credit is required to be awarded as a technical elective credit only. No more than 16.0 hours of technical credit will count toward your degree.

Questions?

Read more about your veterans benefits or contact our veterans affairs department.