VA/Lipscomb Regulations & Procedures
- Academic Dismissal and Reinstatement
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will be notified of "Unsatisfactory Progress" for VA students who are academically dismissed from Lipscomb. If a student is permitted to re-enroll by the university, the VA will automatically be notified of reinstatement WHEN THE VA STUDENT REQUESTS NEW CERTIFICATION for VA benefits in the Office of Veterans Services.
- Alternative Calendar
The VA defines courses that do not meet on the official start and end date of a standard semester as an “accelerated term.” The following is a quote from The VA Handbook for Certifying Officials. “If a school offers training on a nonstandard term basis, or if there are nonstandard formats or terms within standard terms, the beginning and ending dates of each term must be shown separately from the standard semester or quarter.” Your monthly VA education benefits will be affected if you enroll for an accelerated term course. If you plan to enroll in a course that meets on dates other than the official start and end date of a standard semester, you must notify our office immediately. Proper changes to your enrollment certification will be submitted to the VA as soon as possible to help decrease any overpayment of VA education benefits.
- Admissions Requirements
In order to be eligible to receive VA Educational Benefits of any type, the following criteria must be met:
- Have turned in an application to the Admissions Office for a future term; or
- Be cleared for readmission as a Former Student Returning; or
- Have her or his admission status updated for a future term; or
- Be admitted (either provisionally or final) for the semester for which a student is requesting VA benefits.
The VA requires that a VA student attend classes regularly. If a student stops attending, the university is required to report his or her last date of attendance (pursuit) in any given class. Please, immediately, notify Veterans Services, if you decide to drop any classes.
Under NO circumstances will the VA pay for a course taken for audit.
- Break/Interval Pay
Payments will be made for all breaks in enrollment except as noted below. Payment will not be made for:
- Breaks between terms at the same school, which exceed eight weeks or the term preceding or following the break is shorter than the break.
- Breaks between terms which exceed eight weeks or the term preceding or following the break is shorter than the break if the student transfers from one school to another, but is not charged with a change of program.
- Breaks of any length when the student transfers from one school to another and is charged with a change of program. (If a change of program occurs and the student remains in the same school, normal break pay rules apply).
- Any break of any length between terms if the student is:
- On active duty or,
- The student is training at the less than half-time rate on the last day preceding the break.
- Any breaks for which the student requests that pay not be made as long as the request is made before the award is authorized.
- Breaks where it is to the student's advantage not to receive benefits, e.g., where entitlement would otherwise be exhausted during the break, but before the beginning of the following enrollment period.
- Any break of any length where a student withdraws from all courses in the term preceding the break.
BREAK PAY - SUMMER TERMS OR SESSIONS (breaks between individual summer sessions and between summer sessions and the winter/spring or fall terms)
- The rules for paying breaks which occur before, during or after summer terms or sessions are the same as for Fall, Winter and Spring terms with the following exception: If a student is enrolled for a combination of summer terms/sessions, then the length of that period is measured from the start of the first summer session to the end of the last summer session for purposes of the Eight Week Rule for break pay for breaks which immediately precede or follow the summer period. This provision does not apply if a student fails to enroll during a summer session, which intervenes between the first and last summer sessions. Additionally, a break between summer sessions cannot be paid if it exceeds 30 days and the term preceding or following the break is less than eight weeks in length.
- Payment for overlapping periods is based on the equivalent semester hours for each term for the overlapping periods only.
- Break pay when overlapping terms are involved:
- Compare break pay using all the possible combinations of beginning and ending dates for the break.
- Pay whatever rate is the highest.
Certification is the process by which the administrative specialist in Veterans Services verifies to the VA a student's date of attendance, program (degree, major or teacher certification), and number of credits. The VA will not pay any student without receiving this certification. This certification of a student's attendance is not automatic. The VA student must request VA certification on a form called the "VA Benefits Request Form," obtained in Veterans Services. This paperwork should be done six to eight weeks prior to the start of the semester to ensure timely receipt of VA benefits.
It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that he or she has requested certification for each semester attending. It only takes a few minutes to sign your course schedule. REMEMBER: NO CERTIFICATION = NO MONEY
The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA), provides health care benefits for the children and spouses of veterans who
- have been rated by VA as having a total and permanent disability,
- died from VA-related service-connected conditions, or who at the time of death, were rated permanently and totally disabled from a VA-rated service-connected condition, or
- died in the line of duty and not due to misconduct who are not otherwise entitled to DoD Tricare benefits, and
- are not eligible for Medicare, Part A
CHAMPVA is administered by the VA's Health Administration Center in Denver, Colorado. For more information on CHAMPVA eligibility and application procedures, go to the CHAMPVA web site.
To remain eligible for CHAMPVA benefits, a dependent child over the age of 18 must be certified as a full-time student. It is important that you notify Lipscomb Veterans Services that you are receiving CHAMPVA benefits. Veterans Services will then send a certification letter to the Health Administration Center each term of your enrollment upon your request. A copy of the letter will be kept with your student record, if any, in Veterans Services.
General CHAMPVA Guidelines:
Change of Address: If you change your address, it is vital that you let the Health Administration Center know your new address. You should mail the information to: CHAMPVA, PO Box 65023, Denver, CO, 80206.
- Change of Address
It is very important that you notify the VA when your address changes. The post office, in most cases, does not forward Treasury checks; instead it sends them back to the Treasury and your benefits will be suspended. Therefore, the quickest way to notify the VA of an address change is to call the toll free number, 1-888-442-4551 or 1-800-827-1000.
Students should also correct their local address for school records and in the Veterans Services office.
- Credit for Prior Training
Under the federal regulations governing the payment of VA education benefits, all schools are required to review each VA student's prior education, training and experience. The school should then grant credit to a VA student's current program as appropriate under the school's rules and established policies. It is required that Veterans Services report any credit for prior training to the VA within two semesters. After that time period the VA will suspend a student's future benefits.
- Cross Enrollment
In order to receive VA educational benefits for a course taken at an institution other than Lipscomb (the parent institution), you must obtain from Veterans Services the Cross Enrollment Form. Not only will this form serve as an authorization to dually enroll, but it will also direct the other institution to certify you to the VA for the course taken at their institution. Since this form is sent to the other institution, there will be a delay with the VA in awarding the full amount of training time due. This form is required in addition to the university's Cross Enrollment form.
- Definition of a Veteran
To be considered as an independent student, based on veteran status, the Department of Education uses the following definition:
A veteran is a former member of the Armed Forces of the United States (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) who served on active duty and was discharged under conditions, which were other than dishonorable. There is no minimum number of days a student must have served on active duty to be considered a veteran. However, periods of active duty for training, pursuant to an enlistment in the National Guard or Reserves, do not qualify a student as a veteran. Thus former or current members of the National Guard or Reserves are not considered to be veterans unless they had prior or subsequent service with an active component of the Armed Forces. (Reservists called to active duty by Executive Order qualify as veterans.) Since the DD Form 214 is issued to those leaving the active military as well as to members of the National Guard and Reserves completing their initial active duty for training, possession of this document does not necessarily mean the student is a veteran.
Persons who attended military academies are now considered veterans for financial aid purposes.
Applicants who meet the criteria of the definition should check "yes" to the vet question on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Dual Objective
A VA student may receive VA educational benefits for courses leading to a dual major, or a dual degree. Before starting the program, approval must be received from the State Approving Agency (SAA), Department of Education. The request for approval must be received by the SAA prior to the earning of 90 credit hours of a baccalaureate degree program. For graduate students the request must be submitted during the second semester of the VA student's enrollment in graduate school. Contact Veterans Services for the paperwork needed for a dual major/degree.
- Evaluation of Military Credit
As a member of the Servicepersons Opportunity College, Veterans Services can recommend credit to the Lipscomb Admissions Office for military experience. In order to be a school approved for VA educational assistance to students, it is required that all prior training (military included) be evaluated for possible credit. All veterans and reservists must have their military experience evaluated. Veterans Services needs either a copy of your DD Form 214 or DD Form 295 (evaluation of military experience). Credit may be awarded for Army, Coast Guard, Marine and Navy experience as well as for specific Department of Defense courses.
Courses administered by the Air Force are all shown on an official copy of the Community College of the Air Force transcript. This college is an accredited school and transcripts should be submitted to the Office of Admissions for evaluation. Transcripts may also be acquired for the Army veteran (AARTS transcripts) and Marine\Navy veteran (SMART transcripts). Transcript orders for AARTS can be made at http://aarts.army.mil/. Transcript orders for SMART can be found at https://www.smart.navy.mil. Transcript orders for the Coast Guard can be found at http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cgi/. Consult Veterans Services office for assistance if needed. Courses taken from the War Colleges and Defense Language Institute are also accredited and transcripts are required. Courses taken by correspondence, such as those offered by the Marine Corps Institute are accepted for credit under certain circumstances.
- Extension of 10-year Delimiting Date
A veteran student's eligibility to receive benefits ceases at the end of ten years from the veteran's release from active duty (called delimiting date). Veterans who were prevented from initiating or completing a program of education within their period of eligibility because of a physical or mental disability, POW/MIA Status, or upgrade of Character of Discharge may be eligible for an extension of their 10-year delimiting date. Spouses and children attending school under Chapter 35 may also be eligible. For Chapter 1606 the delimiting period is the date of separation from the Selected Reserve OR 14 years from the date original eligibility began. If an individual is separated from the reserves due to a disability, an extension of the delimiting date may be made. There is no fixed delimiting period for Chapter 1607 unless separated for disability. Questions should be directed to the VA in writing or by phone.
- Extension of Educational Entitlement
The maximum allowable entitlement under any combination of two or more programs is forty-eight months.
Chapter 30: maximum entitlement is 36 months of full time training (or the equivalent if less than full time training); if entitlement is exhausted during the semester, a student's entitlement will be extended to pay through the end of the semester.
Chapter 32: maximum entitlement is 36 months (based upon the amount of contributions) with no extensions allowed.
Chapter 35: maximum entitlement is 45 months with no extensions allowed; a dependent child with a mental or physical disability could be approved for a program of Special Restorative Training exceeding 45 months. In addition, Chapter 35 provides for up to 5 months of training with no charge to entitlement for required remedial or deficiency courses.
Chapter 1606 and 1607: maximum entitlement is 36 months with no extensions allowed.
- Financial Aid Verification of VA Educational Benefits
Federal regulations require that any student who applies for financial aid and expects to receive veterans’ educational benefits provide the Financial Aid Office with verification of the amount being received for each month during the annual reporting period of 1 July through June 30. Submitting the VA educational benefits award letter sent to you from the VA at the beginning of each enrollment period can provide verification. If you participate in the VA Work Study Program, earnings will be considered an income for the campus-based programs.
- Graduate Student Taking An Undergraduate Course
Graduate students concurrently enrolled in undergraduate courses are paid based on the total credit-hour load or training time certified, whichever is greater. Students who are enrolled in undergraduate classes solely will be paid at the undergraduate rate.
- Mitigating Circumstances
Mitigating circumstances are unanticipated and unavoidable situations beyond a student's control that prevent a student from completing a course. The VA expects some documentation to substantiate the student's statement. The VA student must submit a description of the circumstances in writing to the VA within 1 year from the date the VA notified the student. The following are some general categories of mitigating circumstances (this list is not all-inclusive):
- A serious illness or injury.
- A serious illness or death in the VA student's immediate family.
- Unforseen family or financial obligations which requires a student to suspend pursuit of the educational program, to obtain employment or to change hours or place of employment.
- Cancellation of a course by the university.
- Unanticipated active duty military service, including active duty for training.
- Unanticipated difficulties in child care arrangements during a semester.
- An unavoidable geographical transfer resulting from the student's employment.
Examples of unacceptable circumstances include: withdrawal to avoid a failing grade, dislike of an instructor, and too many courses attempted. If the VA does not accept the claim, a student can appeal the decision in writing.
The Six Credit exclusion: On or after June 1, 1989, the VA will consider mitigating circumstances to exist in the first instance of withdrawal from courses totaling not more than six semester hours.
Example: A VA student withdraws from 3-credit hours on June 5, 2006, and from an additional 3-credit hours on June 10, 2006. The exclusion applies to the first 3-credit withdrawal, but not to the second. This is because the 6-credit exclusion applies only to the first instance of withdrawal on or after June 1, 1989, regardless of how many credits are involved in that withdrawal.
- Non-Applicable Courses (Not required by degree program)
VA students may not take courses that do not apply to their degree program! A graduate student may not exceed minimum thesis or dissertation hours required by the degree program. Only during the last semester before graduation may a student "pad" her or his schedule with non-applicable courses in order to have enough hours to be full-time. In filling out a full-time schedule, VA students may use any credit hour unit subject, including a subject that they have previously successfully completed (received a passing grade). For example, if a student is soon to graduate and has to take only two more classes, 6 hours for example, but wishes to receive full-time benefits, he or she can register for 6 additional hours (or more) of classes that do not have to apply to the intended degree program.
Additionally, non-applicable courses may be approved for VA benefits if they are being taken to remove a deficiency in the student's grade point average, and this deficiency is preventing the student from graduating.
- Non-Degree Seeking (Non-Matriculated) Students
A non-degree seeking is, for VA purposes, exclusively Teacher Certification. All other recipients of VA educational benefits are degree-seeking non-matriculated students. Students who enroll at Lipscomb as Non-Degree Seeking may be eligible to receive VA educational benefits if they meet the requirements listed below. Certification will be processed for one term only and all requirements must be met before certification can be processed. A separate request must be submitted for each term if circumstances require that you enroll as a non-degree seeking student for more than one term. The VA will only pay for a maximum of two semesters (regardless of training rate) while a student is in the non-matriculated status.
- Non-Punitive Grade Policy
VA students are not entitled to VA benefits for courses in which non-punitive grades are assigned. A non-punitive grade is one that does not affect either hours earned or the GPA.
When a VA student has repeated an unsatisfactory grade and the grade is later "forgiven" by the school, the VA has no requirement for the "forgiven" grade to be reported as non-punitive.
Under certain circumstances the VA may accept mitigating circumstances of a personal, financial or academic nature and waive the overpayment created by the non-punitive grade(s) A waiver may also be considered for "good faith pursuit," including an attempt to remedy the situation. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL THE VA PAY FOR AN AUDITED COURSE. Contact Veterans Services for further information.
There may be a time that you will receive an overpayment of VA benefits while in attendance at Lipscomb. An overpayment can occur for the following reasons:
- Withdrawal from school.
- Withdrawal from one or more courses, which changes the benefit status.
- Taking courses that do not apply to the declared degree program.
This list is by no means all-inclusive, and other reasons may also cause an overpayment. If any of the above circumstances should occur, promptly notify Veterans Services so that the proper steps can be taken. Under certain circumstances, the VA will allow some of the money to be kept, depending on mitigating circumstances and/or a personal finance statement.
If the VA does not hear from the student within 30 days of notification, the overpayment will be recouped from future monthly benefits, and, possibly, with interest charges added to the unpaid balance due. If all else fails, and the VA still wants the money, a request for waiver of the overpayment may be made to the VA. If you have any questions concerning the amount of overpayment, you should call 1-888-442-4551.
- Repeating Courses
The VA will not pay benefits for a class you have previously taken and for which a satisfactory grade was received. If you must take a class again, either to pass the class or to earn a high enough grade to meet the requirements of your degree program, then the VA will pay for repeating the class. When in doubt about the necessity of repeating a class, you should contact the Coordinator of Advising in your respective college.
The transient student is one whose primary school is an institution other than Lipscomb. The student wishes to attend classes at Lipscomb with the intention of transferring the earned hours back to her or his primary school. Veterans Services must have a letter from the primary school stating that the courses taken at Lipscomb are applicable and transferable to her or his intended degree program. The courses should be listed in the letter.
Under transient status, the VA student has to recertify for VA benefits each semester.
- Withdrawal From a Course
When you notify the Registrar's Office that you are withdrawing from a class, you must at the same time notify Veterans Services of this reduction in hours. Changing the number of hours may change the rate of pay. The VA will make the withdrawal retroactive to the beginning of the semester, if mitigating circumstances are not found. If mitigating circumstances are found, the VA will reduce the payments effective the next month, unless a student withdraws from all classes. Then the effective date would be the last day of class attendance. Chapter 30 students will always have an effective date of the change in status if mitigating circumstances are found. You should always make a special effort to plan your academic schedule, so that dropping classes can be avoided.