Veterans Affairs - Coordinates the delivery of military-related educational benefits of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA), to eligible service members, veterans and family members of 100% permanent and total (P&T) disabled veterans. The office also assists Tennessee Air and Army National Guard personnel using the TN STRONG benefit, Army Reserve soldiers using Federal Tuition Assistance, and family members using MyCAA or AI Portal.
Primary entitlement programs administered by the Veterans Affairs office:
- Montgomery GI Bill® - Active Duty (MGIB-AD) Educational Assistance Program [Authority: Chapter 30, Title 38 United States Code (USC)];
- Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E) Program [Authority: Chapter 31, Title 38 USC];
- Montgomery GI Bill® - Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) Educational Assistance Program [Authority: Chapter 1606, Title 10 USC];
- Post 9/11 GI Bill® - Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act (Public Law No. 115-48) [Authority: Chapter 33, Title 38 United States Code (USC)];
- Survivors’ & Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) Program [Authority: Chapter 35, Title 38 USC];
- Veterans Work-Study Allowance Program [Authority: Chapters 30, 31, 33, 35 of Title 38 & Chapters 1606 of Title 10 USC];
- Veterans Tuition & Fee Deferment Program [Authority: § 49-7-104 Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA)]
- Tennessee Support, Training and Renewing Opportunity for National Guardsman (STRONG) Act of 2017 [Authority: § 49-4-1004 Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA)]
- State of Tennessee Public Chapter No. 31 granting in-state status for tuition to all users of a GI Bill® program administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs [Authority: § 49-7-1304 Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA)]
Information on the above federal programs, except VR&E and state programs, may be found at www.gibill.va.gov. VR&E information can be found at https://www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/index.asp. TN STRONG information is found at https://tn.gov/military/section/education-incentives.
Points of Contact - The Veterans Affairs office on campus provides information, forms and general assistance to those applying for the above education benefit programs. Official decisions on eligibility are made by the appropriate government office and not the ETSU Veterans Affairs office.
Questions regarding USDVA applications/benefit payments status (except VR&E) should be directed to:
||St. Louis Regional Processing Office
Department of Veterans Affairs
9700 Page Avenue 314-253-4131 Suite 101-Education
Saint Louis, MO 63132-1502
VR&E beneficiaries should contact:
Nicole Steltenkamp, Counselor/Case Manager
Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
710 Locust Street, Suite 205
Knoxville, TN 37902
Voice: (865) 545-4258 Fax: (865) 545-4306
TN STRONG Users should contact:
MSgt Joseph Wilson
Air Guard State Tuition Assistance Manager
Air e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SFC Stephen Biase
Army State Tuition Assistance Manager
Army E-mail: email@example.com
SSG Joseph Baydoun
TN STRONG Act Outreach NCO
Benefit Program Applications
Applicants for the MGIB-AD program must provide a copy of their most recent Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty [Department of Defense (DD) Form 214]. For MGIB-AD applicants, if claiming entitlement to the “buy-up” program, provide a copy of the election form and evidence of the increased benefit contribution. New applicants for the MGIB-SR will need to provide a copy of their Selected Reserve Educational Assistance Program Notice of Basic Eligibility (DD Form 2384) available from their unit. If applying for the MGIB-AD or MGIB-SR and entitled to a college fund/”kicker” then supporting documentation should also be provided. New VR&E and DEA applicants should provide a copy of the disabled veterans “Disability Rating Decision.” Additionally, DEA applicants should provide a copy of their birth certificate to submit along with their application. Adoption orders and parents’ marriage license/certificate should be included if the dependent was legally adopted by the veteran. In response to a completed application, the USDVA will issue a “Certificate of Eligibility,” a copy of which should be provided to Veterans Affairs. If a beneficiary previously used benefits elsewhere, a change in program or place of training form must be completed.
- As soon as students are enrolled for classes, they should contact Veterans Affairs each semester to request a certification of enrollment to the USDVA Regional Processing Office (RPO). Only required courses in the student’s officially declared academic program may be certified. RPO processing of enrollment certifications of the school can vary but generally require 45-60 days so students should plan accordingly for their personal finances.
- Undergraduate students are requested to provide a Signed Advisor Worksheet along with their Concise Student Schedule at the time of certification. The Signed Advisor Worksheet is for the student’s protection, and ensures that all courses paid for using the GI Bill® are part of their degree plan. The only students who are exempted are Nursing majors.
- Students must keep Veterans Affairs informed of all change(s) in enrollment so that timely reports can be made to the USDVA RPO.
- Beneficiaries must attend classes and demonstrate satisfactory conduct and effort toward meeting the course requirements. Failure to maintain satisfactory attendance and conduct may result in retroactive adjustments in certified training time that will likely result in an overpayment of benefits that will be collected by the USDVA.
- Monthly self-verifications of enrollment can be accomplished securely online at https://www.gibill.va.gov/wave/ or toll-free at (877) 823-2378. Interval payments (benefit payments for the time between terms) are also automatic when a beneficiary stays continuously enrolled. Retroactive payments occur only when the RPO processes an enrollment certification for a subsequent term.
- A student needs only to remain in good academic standing with the institution for continued receipt of benefits.
- A course for which a student receives an “Incomplete” must be graded within one year or the beneficiary will be subject to a retroactive adjustment in the semester’s training time likely resulting in an overpayment and recovery of benefits.
- Pre-professional declarations (e.g., Pre-Med, Pre-Law, etc.) as the student’s major and/or enrolling in courses to meet prerequisites for professional study are not approved objectives currently approved by the USDVA.
- A student must declare a major after their second semester using the GI Bill® benefit. An “Undeclared” status will be rejected for payment.
- Military registry transcripts are required of all beneficiaries in undergraduate studies who have military service (see separate topic on how to request military registry transcripts). For credit-by-examination policy (e.g., CLEP, DSST, etc.), students should consult the “Non-Traditional Credit” pamphlet available from Undergraduate Admissions.
- Beneficiaries are to regularly consult with their academic advisor and refer to their respective catalog of admission on academic requirements, policies and procedures. Moreover, students are expected to clearly identify their degree, major (including concentrations, emphasis, tracks, etc.) and minor, as required.
- All changes to a student’s academic program (except VR&E) must be reported to the Veterans Affairs office for the completion of the appropriate forms and USDVA reporting. The academic program on file with Veterans Affairs must agree with what is declared with the university. VR&E beneficiaries must coordinate any changes in their academic program with their case manager who must approve a program change. Failure to report or coordinate changes of academic programs will likely result in delayed receipt of benefit payments.
- Chapter 33 drops: Please remember that any drop in courses will result in your incurring a debt to the VA. If you are going to drop any classes, please drop them the day BEFORE the term starts. If you plan on dropping after the term starts, please consult with the ETSU Veterans Affairs Office to understand the debt that you will have to repay the Veterans Administration as a result.
Veterans Tuition & Fee Deferments
Beneficiaries who pay in-state tuition and fees, have remaining benefit entitlement, and such entitlement does not expire within the semester may request additional time in payment of tuition and fees under state law. Approval is contingent upon a beneficiary demonstrating benefits eligibility with sufficient entitlement to cover tuition and fees and no indebtedness to the USDVA. If a continuing student, or one previously enrolled utilized a veterans tuition and fee deferment, the student must have paid in full deferred tuition and fees to remain eligible for the deferment. Students who do not follow the conditions of a deferment will forfeit their eligibility for deferments in all future enrollments.
In-State Tuition for GI Bill® Users
With the passage of Tennessee Public Chapter 31, any and all students who are using any Chapter of the GI Bill®, are living in the State of Tennessee, and are attending an institution of higher learning, are to be coded as in-state for tuition purposes. If you are not a resident of the state of Tennessee, please ensure you let Admissions know about this law. You will be required to prove U.S. citizenship by providing either:
- A current (valid) U.S. passport; or
- A copy of your birth certificate AND driver’s license (from any state)
You will then be coded for in-state tuition.
Immunization Exemption for Veterans
In lieu of providing a shot record as proof of immunizations, veterans (and veterans only) can provide Admissions and the Health Unit with a copy of their DD-214 or Active Duty Identification (CAC) card. This will lift an immunizations hold on your account.
Military Registry Transcripts
New and transfer undergraduate student beneficiaries with military service must ensure an official military registry transcript is sent to Veterans Affairs and Undergraduate Admissions offices. University policy permits the award of academic credit only for formal military training and not skill levels attained/occupational experience. Veterans with Army, Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard training with academic credit can obtain their transcripts for transmission to ETSU Admissions at https://jst.doded.mil/smart/signIn.do. Air Force veterans must submit an official transcript from the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) (for further information or to make online requests go to https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/Barnes/CCAF/). All forms to request transcripts are also available in the Veterans Affairs office.
Veterans Work-Study Allowance Program
Veteran work-study opportunities are available at the Veterans Affairs Office at ETSU, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and at the Mountain Home National Cemetery to beneficiaries with sufficient remaining benefit entitlement and enrolled in school at least three-quarter time. Interested students should contact the Office of Veterans Affairs at ETSU, the Human Resources (Building 20) office at the James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) at Mountain Home, or the Mountain Home Cemetery. The VAMC Veterans Work-Study Coordinator may be contacted at (423) 926-1171, extension 7183.
A student may withdraw at any time during the semester for active military service and the student’s academic record will be annotated as a withdrawal for military reasons. A copy of official military orders or other official supporting documentation must be submitted for review in advance of withdrawing. Depending on the nature/authority of the call to active duty, payments under certain federal benefit programs may be kept and entitlement used during the interrupted term restored to the beneficiary’s entitlement. Tuition and fees may also be refunded under certain instances of active military duty. Students receiving financial aid should check with the Financial Aid Office for the handling of Title IV funds awarded. Students should contact any student loan lenders and inform them of their military status to avoid entering student loan repayment status and other possible adverse collection actions while serving on active duty.
Veterans Affairs is located in 101A Burgin E. Dossett Hall and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. The office can be reached at (423) 439-6819 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scholarships for Military Affiliated Students
Beginning with Spring 2019, East Tennessee State University now offers four categories of scholarships to Military Affiliated Students. They are as follows:
1) Military Affiliated Student Child Scholarship - For any child of a veteran starting at ETSU on or after Spring 2019 at the in-state tuition rate who has no GI Bill (R) benefit, a GPA of 2.5 or higher from another college/university if a transfer student, or a GPA of 2.5 or better if a First-Time Freshman. The child must pursue a full-time rate of pursuit (12 SH), and must not be receiving any other ETSU scholarship. This scholarship is renewable for up to 5 additional years if the 2.5 GPA is maintained. This scholarship awards $1,000/semester to the qualifying student. Graduate and PhD students are currently not eligible for this scholarship.
2) Military Affiliated Student Spouse Scholarship - For any spouse of a veteran starting at ETSU on or after Spring 2019 at the in-state tuition rate who has no GI Bill (R) benefit, a GPA of 3.0 or higher from another college/university if a transfer student, or a GPA of 3.0 or better if a First-Time Freshman, and must not be receiving any other ETSU scholarship. The spouse may pursue below a full-time rate of pursuit (12 SH). If not pursuing full-time, the scholarship will be pro-rated accordingly: 1/4 time - $250/semester; 1/2 time - $500/semester; 3/4 time - $750/semester; full time - $1,000/semester. This scholarship is renewable for up to 5 additional years if a 2.5 GPA is maintained. Graduate and PhD students are currently not eligible for this scholarship.
3) Military Affiliated Student Overtime Scholarship - For any veteran starting or continuing at ETSU who has no GI Bill (R) benefit, a GPA of 2.5 or higher from another college/university if a transfer student, or a GPA of 2.5 or better if a First-Time Freshman, and must not be receiving any other ETSU scholarship. The veteran is encourage to pursue a full-time rate of pursuit (12 SH) or the scholarship will be pro-rated. This scholarship is renewable for up to 4 terms if the 2.5 GPA is maintained. The scholarship is $1,500/semester at the full-time rate of pursuit. Graduate and PhD students are also eligible upon acceptance to a post-graduate program at ETSU.
4) Military Affiliated Student Out-of-State Tuition Scholarship - For any child of a veteran starting at ETSU on or after Spring 2019 who has no GI Bill (R) benefit, a GPA of 2.5 or higher from another college/university if a transfer student, or a GPA of 2.5 or better if a First-Time Freshman, must not be receiving any other ETSU scholarship, or otherwise eligible for in-state tuition. The student is encouraged to pursue a full-time rate of pursuit (12 SH). This scholarship is renewable for up to 8 additional terms at the undergraduate level if the 2.5 GPA is maintained, two additional years for Master’s Degree students if the student maintains a 3.0 overall GPA and successfully completes a minimum of 6 credits/semester, or five additional years for educational specialists and doctoral students if the student maintains a 3.0 overall GPA and successfully completes a minimum of 9 credits/semester.
Finally, the BucHero scholarship remains available to veterans without GI Bill (R) benefits and subject to out-of-state tuition costs. The veteran must have been honorably discharged from the service. The Buc Hero scholarship covers 100% of the out-of-state tuition costs for undergraduate and post-graduate (Master’s through doctoral) students.
Stop in the Office of Veterans Affairs at Burgin Dossett room 101A or e-mail email@example.com for more details.