Frequently Asked Questions

Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Office of Military and Veteran Services with any questions:

Phone: (202) 994-9570
Email: [email protected]

Useful VA Websites:


Prospective and Admitted Students

How do I use VA or DoD benefits at GW?

Please visit our Student Checklists page.

How does the top-up program work?

The top-Up Program allows GI Bill®* participants to use the GI Bill® to supplement the tuition and fees not covered by tuition assistance. To be eligible, you must still be on active duty and must have served as least two full years.

For more information, please contact GW’s contact for financial services April Clark: (202) 994-9570; [email protected].

How will previous credits be counted toward a GW degree?

For undergraduates: The GW Office of the Registrar administers transfer credit for undergraduates.

For graduate students: The individual schools have policies on transfer credit.

What are some of the resources and services GW offers military-connected students?

GW has over 1,700 military-affiliated students involved on campus and is proud to offer several resources and organizations include:

  • The Military Community Center
  • VetSuccess on Campus Counselor
  • GWVets (student organization with hundreds of active members)
  • ROTC Programs
  • Career Services
  • Scholarships
  • The Yellow Ribbon Project

More Information

How do I get a copy of my certificate of Eligibility (COE), and why does GW ask for this?

GW requests the COE because it contains important information used to determine your eligibility for the Yellow Ribbon Program. For your first semester at GW, we will accept a screenshot of the eBenefits page, but this can only act as a placeholder. The VA should mail the student a paper-copy of the COE after certification is complete for that first semester. If not, you may call the VA hotline to obtain one: 1-888-442-4551. Please scan and email us this paper copy. 

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How do I submit my request for certification to GW?

Certification requests are submitted through the GWeb Banner system (the same place the student registers for courses).

Log-in with GWID and password, select “Student Records and Registration”, select “Veterans Menu”, select “Veteran Certification Request” and follow the prompts. Please ensure you fill out all the fields.

If you have difficulty or questions, contact the MVS Office.

More Information

Can I receive VA benefits for two academic programs at one time?

No, VA benefits can only be applied to one degree program at a time. To receive VA benefit payment for a course, it must apply toward the pursuit of the degree in which the student is enrolled.

How do institutional aid, Pell Grants, and other awards intersect with VA benefits?

As part of the admitted student checklist, the student should complete a FAFSA. This will determine whether funds such as Pell Grants and federal financial aid are available. If these funds are applied to the student account, they will be replaced by any available VA benefits after certification, and a refund will be issued to the student.  

For scholarships: any award that is applied directly towards tuition, will be deducted from the tuition prior to charging the VA. If the scholarship or grant can be used for non-tuition purposes, it will not be deducted. Please contact the MVS Office for questions about specific scholarships.

What are the eligibility requirements for the Yellow Ribbon Program?

You are eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program if you are 100% eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill® and are no longer serving on active duty. Dependents receiving transferred benefits are eligible if they are not using the benefits of a spouse on active duty, or if they are the child of a service member using transferred benefits. Recipients of the Fry Scholarship and Purple Heart award are also eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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How does the YRP work?

As of the 2021-2022 school year, the Post-9/11 GI Bill® will pay up to $26,042.81 per academic year for George Washington University. The Yellow Ribbon Program allows the school to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the VA to pay tuition expenses that exceed the maximum base pay under the Post-9/11 GI Bill ®. If eligible, the student will have access to additional funds (depending on the course of study) to cover the remaining tuition after the $26,042.81 is used up. GW does not cap the number of students that are eligible for Yellow Ribbon, so if you meet the requirements, you will have access to the funds.

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I have 36 months of benefits to apply to my education. How does the VA count this, and can I study full-time and graduate in 4 years with this entitlement?

The VA only counts time you are enrolled in school, and it counts this time by taking into account full or part-time status. A full-time student will use approximately 4.5 months of GI Bill® time during a semester. This would allow a full-time student to attend the Fall and Spring semesters for four years. 

Students that are part-time will use days of entitlement depending on what percentage of full-time that part-time is. For example, if full-time for the program is 12 credits and the student is taking 6, he or she will use 50% of the entitlement during the semester. A student taking 9 credits will use 75% of the entitlement. This percentage is based on the full-time status of the student’s specific program of study, so students should be sure to inquire what that is. Students can keep track of days used by reading the COE sent to them after each certification.

Current Students

What does GW consider full-time student standing during the fall, spring, and summer sessions? (Note: Some GW programs do not follow these numbers).

Full-Time Standing Credit Amount by Semester

  Fall Spring Summer
Undergraduate 12 12 6
Graduate 9 9 6
Law 12 12 9
How do BAH payments associated with the Post 9/11 GI Bill® (Chapter 33)/Yelllow Ribbon Program work?

Students receive a monthly housing allowance (MHA) depending on multiple factors including:

  • percentage of Post-911 GI Bill® eligibility,
  • full-time v. part-time status, and
  • on-campus v. distance learning.

Students must be attending above half-time in order to be eligible for the MHA.

A student that is 100% eligible for post-9/11 benefits studying full-time on-campus will receive 100% of the MHA (approximately $2,600 as of the 2021-2022 school year). 

Students with less than 100% eligibility or at less than full-time status, will receive that percentage of the MHA. Here are some examples:

  • Student 1: Studying full-time, with 70% eligibility will receive 70% * the MHA. 
  • Student 2: 100%-eligible, taking 7 credits out of 12 credits for full-time, will receive 58% * the MHA. 
  • Student 3: Both 70% eligible and 50% full-time will receive 70%*50%*MHA.

Students taking all of their courses via distance learning/online will receive the online monthly housing stipend, approximately $800. If the student takes just one course on campus, they will be eligible for the in-person MHA above, and the same eligibility requirements will apply.

Why does GW have a two-part certification process?

GW uses a two-part certification process so that students may receive their housing allowance and book stipends as soon as possible.

The first step in the cycle certifies the student for their enrolled credit hours and course dates (the “zero-cert”) and triggers the BAH and book stipend payments.

The second cert occurs after the drop/add period in which tuition is then billed, giving students an opportunity to finalize the number of credits they plan to take and preventing a back-and-forth on tuition payments between the school and VA as students drop and add credits.

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GW wrote me that my balance is due on the first day of classes. I am using VA benefits. Do I need to pay the entire bill?

No. As long as the student requests certification before the term begins, the MVS Office will work with Student Accounts to prevent any late fees or finance charges while waiting for the VA Benefits to come through. The only payments the student is responsible for are “out-of-pocket” expenses including: housing, dining, study abroad, etc.

Please contact the office directly with questions regarding certification status, your bill or payment.

Can I take classes that do not count toward my degree requirements and are outside of my degree plan?

No, VA benefits can only be applied to one degree program at a time. To receive VA benefit payment for a course, it must apply toward the pursuit of the degree.

Study abroad is not a requirement for my program. Will the VA pay for my tuition and fees if I want to study abroad?

No, unfortunately, the VA recently changed its policy regarding study abroad. Unless the program is a requirement for graduation, the tuition will not be covered.

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My BAH is not arriving until next month and my rent is due. Does GW have a program to help me?

Yes, the MVS Office is able to facilitate an interest-free emergency loan for up to one month’s housing payment. This loan must be paid back by the end of the semester. Please contact our office to apply.

I decided to drop a class before the first day of the term. What should I do?

Please contact the MVS Office if your enrollment changes in any way. Any change must be reported to the VA and may impact your benefits.

I am thinking about withdrawing from a class in the middle of the semester. Will this have an impact on my VA benefits?

Yes, please notify the MVS Office as soon as possible. Depending on the timing, you may be eligible for a tuition refund, but if too much time has passed, the student may become responsible for payment.

What is SAP and how will SAP denial affect my VA benefits?

SAP stands for Satisfactory Academic Progress. To remain eligible for institutional funds, students must maintain GW’s minimum SAP standard each term: 

  • Undergraduate Students: semester and cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher; pass 75% of attempted credit hours
  • Graduate Students: semester and cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, pass 67% of attempted credit hours

Students who do not meet the above expectations will be given a SAP-warning for one semester, if standard is still not met, the student will become ineligible for any institutional funding, including Yellow Ribbon funds.

More Information

If I am spending the semester completing my dissertation, how will this affect my VA benefits?

If you are working on your dissertation, you are considered full-time according to your program's regulations as published in the GW Bulletin and/or your program's doctoral handbook.

I have been called to active duty. What is GW’s policy for short and/or long-term deployments?

Students who are serving in the military, military reserves, or the National Guard who receive orders to deploy may request a military leave of absence by completing a Leave of Absence Form with the school’s Registrar. Military leave allows active duty military who have received orders to deploy to interrupt their studies for the length of time that they are deployed.

The Principles of Excellence state that “educational institutions receiving funding from Federal military and veterans educational benefits programs... take additional steps to accommodate short absences due to service obligations, provided that satisfactory academic progress is being made by the service members and reservists prior to suspending their studies."

How do I request a refund?

Students using VA benefits may request a refund from student accounts, but please be advised: when you do, you will get an automatic denial email. Please note: our refund has not been denied, but instead, is put under review.

Prior to approval, Student Accounts sends all refund requests from students using VA benefits to the MVS Office. MVS checks to make sure the VA is not owed any funds; if not, MVS notifies Student Accounts they may approve the refund. This process takes approximately 7-10 days. When it is complete, the refund will be directly deposited into your bank account that is on file with GW.

*GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at