Frequently Asked Questions

Still need answers? Check out our frequently asked questions below. If you have more specific questions, feel free to contact us.

For the most up-to-date information, please reference the VA Education and Training Benefits page.


How do I use VA or DoD benefits at GW?

Please visit our Student Checklist page.

How does the Top-Up program work?

The Top-Up program allows service members to use the GI Bill® to supplement the tuition and fees not covered by tuition assistance. To be eligible, you must be on active duty and have served as least two years.

For more information, please contact your local education office. 

How will previous credits be counted toward a GW degree?

Our office can not determine this information. Please contact the following:

For undergraduate students: 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-affiliated students?

GW has over 1,400 military-affiliated students involved on campus and is proud to offer several resources:

Why does GW need a copy of my Certificate of Eligibility (COE)/Award Letter/Purchase Order and how do I get one from the VA?

For students using Chapters 30, 33, 35, or 1606: GW requires proof of VA education benefits before we can process any certifications to the VA. 

  • Chapter 30, 35, or 1606 - contact the VA Benefits Hotline (800-827-1000) to request your Award Letter (or email).
  • Chapter 33 - contact the GI Bill® Hotline (888-442-4551) to request an updated COE. For your first semester at GW, we will accept a screenshot of your Post 9/11 GI Bill® benefits; subsequent semesters will not be certified without an official COE on file.

For students using Chapter 31: Your Veteran Readiness Counselor (VRC) must submit a valid purchase order (PO) before we can process any certifications to the VA and/or vouchers to the GW Campus Store. Please contact your VRC if you have any questions. If you need help connecting with your VRC or have general VR&E questions, contact our VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) Counselor, Glenn Cassis, at [email protected]

How do I submit my request for certification to GW?

Request for certification is submitted through GWeb and MUST be done prior to the start of EACH UNIVERSITY SEMESTER (Fall/Spring/Summer) you wish to use your benefit.

Once logged in, select Student Records and Registration > Veterans Menu > Veteran Certification Request. Follow the prompts and be sure to answer all of the fields.

If you have difficulty or questions, please contact our office. 

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

No, VA benefits can only be applied to one VA-approved (WEAMS) degree program at a time. Courses (credits) must apply toward the pursuit of the degree in which the student is enrolled.

How do federal financial aid, grants, scholarships, and other awards intersect with VA benefits?

For federal financial aid/grants: As part of the Student Checklist, you may want to consider completing FAFSA. This will determine whether federal financial aid nd/or grants are available to you. If these funds are applied to the student account, they can be disbursed to the student once they are replaced by any available VA benefits after certification.  

For scholarships and other awards: Any tuition-based scholarship or award will get applied directly towards tuition and 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.

If you have specific questions about these types of funding, please schedule an appointment with our School Certifying Official.

What are the eligibility requirements for the Yellow Ribbon Program (YRP)?

Anyone is eligible for YRP if you are actively using the Post-9/11 GI Bill® with 100% eligibility. GW does not limit the number of students who can utilize YRP. Fry Scholarship and Purple Heart awardees are also eligible for YRP. 


How does the YRP work?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill® will pay for tuition and fees at private institutions up that academic year's cap. Once eligible students exceed this first cap, they are then eligible for additional funds under the YRP cap. If tuition and fees exceed this second cap, the student may have out-of-pocket expenses. Neither the Post 9/11 GI Bill® nor YRP will cover charges for dorms or meal plans.

If you have specific questions about YRP, please schedule and appointment with our School Certifying Official.

I have 36 months of benefits. Is that enough time to graduate in 4 years if I study full-time?

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® each semester. This would allow a full-time student to attend the Fall and Spring semesters for 4 years. 

Students who are part-time will use days of entitlement depending on their rate of pursuit. For example, if full-time for the program is 12 credits and:

  • Student takes 6 credits, rate of pursuit is 50%
  • Student takes 9 credits, rate of pursuit is 75%

Contact the VA via the GI Bill® Hotline (888-442-4551) to verify your remaining benefits or manager your education benefits

What does GW consider full-time status?
  Fall Spring Summer
Undergraduate 12 12 6
Graduate 9 9 6
Law 12 12 9
How does monthly housing allowance (MHA) work?

The VA determines your MHA based on the monthly Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents then consider the following factors:

  • Percentage of Post-911 GI Bill® eligibility
    Students with less than 100% eligibility will receive that percentage of MHA.
  • How much you're attending school
    Students must attend at a rate of pursuit of MORE THAN HALF-TIME (51% or more). For example, if a student is taking 9 credits when 12 credits is considered full-time, the rate of pursuit is 80% (9 divided by 12, rounded to the nearest tenth).
  • If you're taking only online classes (also called distance learning)
    Students attending classes online will receive the online MHA (half the national average). If a student takes at least 1 credit on-campus, they will be eligible for the in-person MHA.
  • The campus location where you physically attend most of your classes
    Our campuses at Foggy Bottom, Mount Vernon, Alexandria, and Arlington fall under the same location-based MHA. Our Ashburn campus has a separate location-based MHA.

MHA pays behind, is pro-rated, and depends on the factors above. Use the following as a general MHA payout timeline:

Fall Spring Summer
Sep (for Aug) - Pro-rated Feb (for Jan) Pro-rated  Jul (for Jun) Pro-rated
Oct (for Sep) - Full Mar (for Feb) Full Aug (for July) Pro-rated
Nov (for Oct) - Full Apr (for Mar) Full  

Dec ( for Nov) - Full

May (for Apr) Full  
Jan (for Dec) - Pro-rated Jun (for May) Pro-Rated  

If you have questions about how to calculate your MHA, please schedule and appointment with our School Certifying Official or use the GI Bill® Comparison Tool.
Why does GW have a two-step certification process for Post 9/11 GI Bill® users?

The VA recommends a two-step certification process so students can receive their book stipend and MHA in a timely manner at the beginning of the semester. 

The first certification, also known as the "zero-cert", is submitted before the beginning of the semester and includes the dates and enrolled number of credits only. You will receive an updated COE from the VA stating, "GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY reported that you were not charged tuition and fees for the certified enrollment period (start date to end date); therefore, the VA did not pay towards your tuition and fees...your award will be recalculated once your school submits the actual charges."  

The second certification, also known as the "final-cert", is submitted after the drop/add period (typically 30 days into the University semester) and includes the amount to be billed to the VA and the updated number of credits, as required. Certifying in this manner prevents a back-and-forth of payments between the VA and GW as students drop/add credits. You will receive an updated COE from the VA stating, "GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY certified that you were charged ($) for (# of credits), which consists on X distance and X residence hours for the term dates (start date to end date)."

I received notification from 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.

My MHA 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.

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?

Any student who is a member of a military reserve unit or the National Guard and is activated or called to active duty early in a semester or summer session automatically will be entitled to a full refund of all tuition and fees that they have paid toward the expenses of that academic term. If the notification of the call to active duty comes after the mid-term examinations or after other substantial graded work has been completed, the student will have the option of either taking a full refund of tuition and fees or taking an Incomplete in their courses with the privilege of returning to complete all required coursework at some future date without payment of any further tuition and fee charges. It is the responsibility of the student to present evidence of their activation to the Office of Student Accounts and to request the appropriate refund.

Should a degree student called up for active duty find it necessary to interrupt active pursuit of the degree, the student may petition their advising office for a leave of absence for a specified period that may not exceed five years. Student advisors are encouraged to grant any request to extend the leave of absence beyond the customary one-year period if required by the duration of military service.

Students who are service members and reservists are to be readmitted to a program if they are temporarily unable to attend class or have to suspend their studies due to service requirements. Students will be accommodated if there are 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: your 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). Click here for more information about VA education benefits.