Hardin Valley Campus landscape

Veterans Services Frequently Asked Questions

Where are the Veteran Services offices?

 

Q:  I am interested in attending PSTCC as a Military Affiliated Student and have questions.  Where is the Director’s office located?

The Director of Veterans Affairs is in the ERC Rm. 124 on the Hardin Valley campus. Once you enter the ERC, go straight back to the study lounge area, next to the testing center.

 

Q:  I am trying to locate the Veterans Success Lounge. Where is it located?

Our veterans lounge is located in the ERC, Rm. 123 on the Hardin Valley Campus. Once you enter the ERC, go straight back to the study lounge area, next to the testing center.

 

Q: I need to talk to someone about my benefits, where can I go?

The veterans services certifying official is located in the ERC Rm. 126 on the Hardin Valley campus. Once you enter the ERC, go straight back to the study lounge area, next to the testing center.

 

What times are the Veterans Services offices open?

 

Q:  If I need to see someone in the Veterans Services, what times are they open?

Veterans Services are open Monday-Friday from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm.

 

Q:  Do I need an appointment to see the Director of Veterans Services?

No.  The Director has an open door policy, so you can simply walk on in if there isn’t already someone in his office.  However, if YOUR schedule is so tight that you need to have a dedicated time slot, then please call (865) 539-7368 or email taharvey@pstcc.edu to schedule a specific day/time.

 

Certificate of Eligibility

This is the MOST important document that you, the student, must obtain.  Without it, the VA will not pay a thing.  This is NOT the transfer of eligibility the veteran performed months to years ago.  It is a separate notification to the VA that you now intend on using the GI Bill ® benefit.  If you are a family member, you must wait until your 18th birthday to submit a request for the Certificate of Eligibility (COE). 

 

Q:  How do I obtain my COE?

You must go to the www.vets.gov website and click the button that says “Apply for education benefits.”  Ensure you have a mailing address, bank account and routing information, veteran SSN, student SSN (if not the same person), etc.  You will be taken to a page that is entitled “How to Apply for Education benefits.”  If you have all the aforementioned data, then scroll down until you can click on the “Find Your Education Benefits Form.”  It will ask you a series of questions, that when properly answered, will then take you to the correct form to complete.  You should take a screen shot of the confirmation page upon completing all the fields and print it out.  Bring that in with you to the ETSU Veterans Affairs office along with a copy of the Veterans Member 4 DD-214.

 

Q:  I am transferring in to PSCC from another school at which I used GI Bill ® benefits, must I obtain a new COE?

Yes.  Go to the www.vets.gov website, and go to the point where you “Find Your Education Benefits Form.”  At the first question, select that you are “Updating my current education benefits.”  Answer everything else and you will be taken to the form “Change of Program or Place.”  This will generate a new COE for PSCC.

 

Q:  I am changing my academic major and will use GI Bill ® benefits, must I obtain a new COE?

Yes.  Go to the www.vets.gov website, and go to the point where you “Find Your Education Benefits Form.”  At the first question, select that you are “Updating my current education benefits.”  Answer everything else and you will be taken to the form “Change of Program or Place.”  Update everything accordingly, and input your new academic major.  This will generate a new COE for PSCC.

 

Q:  How long does it generally take for the VA to issue me a COE?

Anywhere from 10-30 days.  The COE will confirm/deny whether you have a GI Bill ® benefit, and in cases where you are eligible for more than one Chapter, it will recommend the one to use.  If you disagree with their finding, there is an appeal process identified as part of the packet which is mailed to the address you listed on the www.vets.gov form.

 

Certification of Enrollment

We can no longer unilaterally certify you for the GI Bill ® in absentia or on your behalf,  you must stop in our offices or notify our VA Certifying Official, Ms. Shastid, at (865) 694-6472 or seshastid@pstcc.edu and let her know that you want to be certified.  If you don’t stop in (or contact us by email when you are remote), then you won’t be certified.

If you have registered for classes and are not satisfied with your schedule and will continue adjusting it, please let us know in advance.  Every time we do an adjustment (at your behest), it causes undue turbulence at the VA payment office, and they freeze any payment until at least 30 days have passed since the last change.  So a word to the wise:  stop changing your schedule every couple of days OR if you do, tell us that your schedule hasn’t settled down yet.  Once you have made the last change to your schedule, let us know to certify you.

 

Q:  What must I do to be certified?

You must contact the PSCC VA Certifying Official, Ms. Shastid at (865) 694-6472 or seshastid@pstcc.edu and notify her that you want (or do not want) to be certified for the GI Bill ®, and she will do so.  You will see an e-mail to your pstcc.edu address when we have submitted your certification in the system.

 

Drop/Add Effects

 

Q:  I am a Chapter 30 (Montgomery) GI Bill recipient. What happens if I drop classes below full time?

The VA will reduce your stipend to ¾, ½, or ¼ depending on the rate of pursuit.

 

Q:  I am a Chapter 33 (post 9/11) GI Bill recipient. What happens if I drop classes?

If the drop occurs BEFORE the first day of class, then nothing.

If the drop occurs ON or AFTER the first day of class, then you will receive a debt letter requiring you to pay 75% of the tuition difference.

 

Q:  What happens if I drop, then add, then drop, then add classes?

It can cause delays and disruptions to your payments, as well as cause a debt to be incurred and then resolved, then incurred again.  Each time you make a change to your schedule, the newest (latest) certification will be addressed IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE by the VA Processors, so keep that in mind.  It is best NOT to change your schedule so frequently.

 

Q:  How can I help reduce turbulence to my certifications?

First, let us know IN ADVANCE that you are building your schedule and will be getting to full time.  That way we don’t certify you for ¼ time, then ½ time, then ¾ time, then full time.

Once you get to your desired number of credit hours, DON’T CHANGE your schedule anymore.

 

Q:  I am a Chapter 33 student and I received a debt letter even though I dropped my class(es) during the college’s drop/add period.  What happened?

The college’s drop/add period is not in any way related to the drop/add period to the VA.  The only drop period without penalty is BEFORE the first day of class.  You must pay the VA.

 

Payments to the College

 

Q:  I am a Chapter 30 (Montgomery) GI Bill recipient. What is paid by the VA on my behalf?

Nothing is paid by the VA to the school.  You are responsible for all costs (parking tickets, dorm fees, meal plans, etc.)

 

Q:  I am a Chapter 33 (post 9/11) GI Bill recipient. What is paid by the VA on my behalf?

Only tuition and fees are paid by the VA to the school.  You are responsible for all other costs (parking tickets, dorm fees, meal plans, etc.)

 

Q:  I am a Chapter 35 (Dependents Educational Assistance Program) GI Bill recipient. What is paid by the VA on my behalf?

Nothing is paid by the VA to the school.  You are responsible for all costs (parking tickets, dorm fees, meal plans, etc.)

 

Q:  I am a Chapter 1606 (Selected Reserve) GI Bill recipient. What is paid by the VA on my behalf?

Nothing is paid by the VA to the school.  You are responsible for all costs (parking tickets, dorm fees, meal plans, etc.)

 

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) Stipends

 

Q:  I have been using Ch. 35 GI Bill benefits prior to and am continuing after 1 August. What is my monthly stipend?

Your stipend will remain at $1,041.00 per full month (pro-rated for partial months)

 

Q:  I have been using Ch. 33 GI Bill benefits prior to and am continuing after 1 August. What is my monthly stipend?

Your stipend will remain at $1,079.00 per full month (pro-rated for partial months)

 

Q:  I started using Ch. 35 GI Bill after 1 August. What is my monthly stipend?

First, your benefit period will be 36 months.  Your stipend will be $1,224.00 per full month (pro-rated for partial months)

 

Q:  I started using Ch. 33 GI Bill after 1 August. What is my monthly stipend?

It depends (our least-favorite military answer).  VA-ONCE (The portal through which we report your certifications) is changing to reflect the zip code(s) at which you are taking the majority of your classes. Check with our VA Certifying Official regarding any differences in PSTCC campus rates.

 

Q:  I am using Ch. 33 and I am taking all online courses. What is my monthly stipend?

Your stipend will be half the national average of BAH…currently $825.00 per full month (pro-rated for partial months)

 

Q:  What payments will I be receiving for parts of a month of school?

To estimate what to expect for a BAH payment for partial months (i.e. August, December, January, May), take your full-month stipend and divide it by 30.  This is the daily rate (note:  all months have 30 days in them for accounting purposes).  Then multiply that daily rate times the number of days in that month the term was in effect.  That is how much should be deposited in your account the following month.

 

Book Stipend

 

Q:  I am a Ch. 33 (post 9/11) GI Bill user. What is my book stipend?

If you are at the 100% level, then your book stipend is up to $1,000 per year (1 July 2018– 30 June 2019).  To know how much your book stipend is for the fall, multiply $41.67 times the number of semester hours you are taking (i.e. 15 SH x $41.67 = $625.05).

 

Q:  I am a Ch. 35 (Dependents Educational Assistance Program) GI Bill user. What is my book stipend?

Ch. 35 recipients do not receive a book stipend.  Only Ch. 33 (post 9/11 GI Bill) users get a book stipend.

 

Q:  I am a Ch. 1606 (Selected Reserve) GI Bill user. What is my book stipend?

Ch. 1606 recipients do not receive a book stipend.  Only Ch. 33 (post 9/11 GI Bill) users get a book stipend.

 

Q:  When does the book stipend hit my account?

Typically, if the VA is on time AND you certified 30 days or more to the start of the term, the book stipend hits your account 3 working days prior to the term start in order to get your books.

 

Q:  What if I don’t have books?

It doesn’t matter. You will get a book stipend.

 

Q:  What if my stipend doesn’t come in on time?

Notify the Director of Veterans Services, as there are options available to you such as our textbook loan program, as well as temporary financial help in ensure you get the proper materials to start your courses.

 

Q:  Into which account does the book stipend go?

It goes into the same account you set up when you last petitioned the VA for your Certificate of Eligibility.

 

Q:  When does the book stipend reset?

The book stipend resets on 1 August every year.  So if your term started in July, and you have already reached the maximum allowable book stipend, you will not be paid until you attend a term that begins after Aug. 1.

 

Bank Account Management

 

Q:  Since I last communicated to the VA, my bank account has changed. How do I submit an update to the VA?

Call 1-877-838-2778 (Direct Deposit Enrollment/Changes).

 

Enrollment Verification

 

Q:  I am a Chapter 30 (Montgomery) GI Bill user. How do I verify attendance to ensure my stipend is paid?

Call 1-877-823-2378 (Self Verifications of Enrollment) or use the online tool

 

Q:  I am a Chapter 1606 (Selected Reserve) GI Bill user. How do I verify attendance to ensure my stipend is paid?

Call 1-877-823-2378 (Self Verifications of Enrollment) or use the online tool

 

Ben Atchley Veterans Success Center

 

Q:  Where is the Veterans Success Lounge located?

The Veterans Success Lounge in on the first floor of the Education Resources Center building, room 123 on the Hardin Valley campus.  It is available to you during normal PSCC operating hours and provides unlimited printing, some snacks, coffee, computer room, tutoring/study room, and TV viewing area.

 

Q:  Is the Veterans Success Lounge only for combat veterans?

No.  The Ben Atchley Veterans Success Lounge is for family members (spouses and children) of veterans, anyone who has served in the military, as well as combat veterans.  Note that you don’t even have to be using the GI Bill ® for privileges to the facility.  Every one of these aforementioned groups serves (and have served) in their own way.  Anyone who desires to exclude any other group from using the facility will be themselves expelled. 

 

Q:  Can I bring guests into the Veterans Lounge?

Only pre-approved guests are allowed (typically visiting relatives).  No other students are allowed.

 

Q:  What if I am part of a study group and would like to use the lounge for a session?

Although is there is a small study table within the lounge, for larger groups, there is a study lounge located just outside the entrance to the Veterans Success Lounge that will accommodate such. 

 

Q:  How do I obtain approval to get into the Veterans Success Lounge?

Although there are no specific procedures in gaining access to the lounge, you will be required to scan your student ID upon entrance. This allows our department to verify the proper credentials to use the facility. VA student workers monitor the lounge and check-ins, to ensure proper use, so please be kind and respectful in using the facility appropriately.

 

Tutoring

 

If you are using any Chapter of the GI Bill ®, then you are entitled to up to $100/month in tutoring reimbursement (with a maximum annual cap of $1,000/year).  You can retain a tutor by:

  1. Asking the professor for a previous student who took the same course and aced it
  2. Asking the graduate assistant to tutor you or also recommend a student
  3. Picking a really smart classmate to help you out

Tutoring rates are typically $10-11/hour.

Conduct the tutoring and pay the tutor in advance (keep in mind the monthly limit), and at the end of the term you can pull down a form 1990t, fill it out completely with all required signatures (Chapter 33s, pay attention that you also require the professor’s signature), and then mail it to the servicing center in St. Louis.  You will see the reimbursement paid to the same account you receive your stipend.

Don’t delay in getting a tutor. Start it the first week of class!

 

What if I don't have GI Bill benefits?

 

Q:  I either used up all my previous benefit or have never been entitled to GI Bill benefits.  What does PSCC offer to Military Affiliated Students?

 

PSCC Veterans Services offers the following to all Military Affiliated Students:

  • Access to and use of the Ben Atchley Veterans Success Center
  • Americana cord upon graduation to wear with your regalia
  • Participation in our Veterans Graduation Celebration held twice a year at the Hardin Valley campus
  • Financial support via grants, opportunity fund, and scholarships. Check with the Director for details

Contact Us

veterans@pstcc.edu
Ben Atchley Veterans Success Center
Educational Resources Center, Room 123
Hardin Valley Campus

Trevor Harvey
Veterans Services Director
865.539.7368

Sharon Shastid
VA School Certifying Official
865.694.6472