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Stage 6: Post-Certification: Academic Success

Once the books are purchased, the term starts, and certifications are submitted, the most important part can begin: successfully finishing your courses and continuing your education! But before getting lost in that research project, there are a few things we feel you should know that may help you to maximize your chances of success.

VA Enrollment Verification: Receiving Your Entitlement
While attending classes, you may be required to verify your enrollment with the VA. The process varies and does not apply to every chapter, but in order to receive your monthly entitlement, the VA may either need to verify that you are still enrolled within the courses for which you originally registered (Chapter 33) or that you are still attending your classes (Chapters 1606 and 30).

Terms: Attendance Patterns
You will only be able to start additional classes when the current classes end. This means that while there are 12 terms, or semesters, per year, you can only register for the next term that begins after your current term ends. While we will always review petitions for an exception to this policy, we feel that this attendance pattern helps to maximize academic performance by avoiding excessive credit overlap.

Withdrawal: What It Really Means
Life can get overwhelming at times, we get it, and will always work with you to try and find the best path to success. Sometimes however, a course withdrawal is necessary. While the withdrawal policy may seem daunting at first, there are a few things to understand about this option that will hopefully help clarify the right time to ask for a withdrawal.

  • A VA-related withdrawal is assessed from the last day of engagement.
    Engagement in this case can include the submission of an assignment or discussion post, but not just logging into the course. So if you have explored all your options in a course and have come to the conclusion to withdrawal, do not wait, especially if you realize you will no longer be able to participate in the course, given the longer you wait, the more time goes by since your last participation.

    Remember: you are receiving benefits from the VA while you are active in the course; therefore if you know you are not going to be able to complete the course and do not wish to receive a failing grade, submitting a withdrawal sooner rather than later can spare you from a possible recoupment of benefits.
  • The VA understands "life happens."
    Their official term for this is "mitigating circumstances." What does this mean in practical terms? The VA does allow exceptions, based on circumstances beyond your control, such as a loss of a family member. The VA will also automatically give you the benefit of the doubt for the first six credits. They call this the, "The 6-Credit Hour Exclusion." It's important to note that this exclusion only applies if you withdrawal while the course is still active.

While there may be costs associated with a withdrawal, the above items will hopefully help to minimize any costs associated with a withdrawal. If there are mitigating circumstances, we always encourage our students to contact us, so that we can then evaluate the available options.

Grades: Why They Matter
It may seem like we are stating the obvious, but grades really do matter! In fact, the VA requires Thomas Edison State University to enforce standards for satisfactory academic progress (SAP).

Satisfactory academic progress in this case means:

  • Passing your courses with a minimum term, or semester, GPA of 2.0 or greater.
  • Successfully completing at least 66% of the courses attempted.
  • Maintaining a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or greater.

If any of these conditions are not met, then your account will be placed on a Veteran Academic Probation (VAP). While under this probation, you will have to work with a school certifying official for every registration, and registrations will be limited to a maximum of 9 credits, as we wish to ensure your success, to as to remove the probation as quickly as possible.

Inability to meet the standards for SAP while under probation can unfortunately lead to a temporary revocation of VA benefits until success is demonstrated.

Before you find yourself on probation and overwhelmed at the prospect of a potential denial of VA benefits, we recommend the following:

  1. Limit the number of credits per semester.
    We realize that you may be anxious to complete your degree program and are looking to maximize the benefits received from the VA, but taking too many credits at once, and not being able to successfully complete them can actually hinder your degree progress in the future. Start small and if successful, use that as point to increase your studies.
  2. Work with an academic advisor to plan your degree.
    Our advisors are waiting to assist you, not only in the planning of your courses, but also in providing any general assistance with questions or concerns you may have about a particular course. We strongly urge taking advantage of these services by scheduling an advisement appointment regularly, as this service is included within the program, and is provided free-of-charge. Our advisement staff can be reached by dialing (609) 777-5680.
  3. Stop and evaluate your progress.
    Using the first two suggestions as a guideline, take a moment to occasionally evaluate your progress by using the unofficial transcript feature through Online Student Services. Ask yourself the following question: "in the past three terms, have I been successful in the courses attempted; why or why not?" You may find a certain subject area proved a greater challenge than expected, or that the course load was too heavy. If so; utilize the available college resources to reach out and formulate a new plan that will ensure success.

And remember that we are always here for you. If you find yourself in need of help, before the situation escalates, please reach out, as we are happy to assist!

Engagement: Staying Active
Activity: that is, actively participating in a course by contributing to the online discussions and submitting assignments according to the course calendar, is just as critical as grades, some may argue even more important, given that lack of participation may lead to an involuntary withdrawal from the course, which in-effect, could affect SAP.

Remember, we are here to help. If you find that you are not going to be able to meet the assignment or discussion schedule, contact your course mentor and notify them, as the majority of the time they will be willing to work with you in order to ensure your success. If you are anticipating long-term delays, then we also recommend reaching out to our office by sending an email to, as we may be able to suggest possible alternatives, based on the circumstances.

The last thing you want to do is NOTHING, as our office routinely checks for course engagement during the semester, and while we will reach out to you for a response before taking any action, it’s always best to stay ahead of any potential issues.

Finally, Stage 7: Mission Accomplished »