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Stage 5: Certification: Benefits & Timeline

Once you have registered for courses, the University will then submit a certification on your behalf to the VA. Based on VA policy; when, why and what we send depends on the chapter.

When: Pre-Certifications
Certifications for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Vocational Rehabilitation Program are submitted prior to the first day of the class, so as to ensure that any applicable benefits, such as the book stipend of for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, are received in a timely manner. The certifications for the Post-9/11 GI Bill do not include tuition at this time.

When: Amended Certifications
Certifications for all other chapters are submitted within the first month of the class, as are amended certifications for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which now include the final tuition and fees.

Why: Amended vs. Pre-Certifications
You may have noticed that only the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Vocational Rehabilitation Program receive a pre-certification, while the other chapters receive a later certification, and asked yourself, "why the difference?"

There are several key reasons for this:

  • Both the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Vocational Rehabilitation Program pay certain benefits to Veterans before or upon the start of the class, such as the book stipend for the Post-9/11 GI Bill or a living allowance for Vocational Rehabilitation students.
  • Entitlements for all other chapters are paid after the first verification of attendance, roughly a month into the class, regardless of whether or not a certification was submitted prior to this.
  • The VA prefers certifications with accurate tuition amounts, that is, after the withdrawal period, where any withdrawals or changes in registration have been made and are considered final. This not only reduces the amount of administrative work for the VA but also ensures a more stable benefit schedule for the Veteran.
  • A second amended certification for our Post-9/11 GI Bill students is submitted because the initial pre-certification did not yet include the final tuition amount, due again to the VA preferring certifications with accurate tuition.

What: Included Items
So what exactly is included in a certification? Tuition, amount of credits, length of the term, type of credit (e.g., distance learning or local), and any other additional notes that may be necessary in the case of a special circumstance, are all included in certifications.

This allows the VA to then determine the correct benefit level and payout. Because a standard term at Thomas Edison State University is 12 weeks in length, a full 4 weeks shorter than a traditional semester, 9 credits is considered full-time at the University.

While it's true that the terms are shorter, you can receive a greater benefit at a reduced course load!

Next, Stage 6: Post-Certification »