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10 Financial Aid Questions for Veterans


1. During my second college semester, I was called to active duty. Now that I am ready to re-enroll, are there any particular readmissions procedures that I need to follow?

Schools are prohibited from denying re-admission by federal regulations to any service member who wishes to go back to school. You have the option of providing either oral or written notice of your intent to return. Your school is required to re-admit you at the same academic status you had prior to leaving for service. As well, the school is required to charge you the same fees and tuition per term when you return.

2. Currently, I am serving on active duty. Which military benefits do I need to report on the FAFSA along with my regular pay?

In Question 43, you are required to report the special combat pay and the amount of taxable combat pay. In Question 44, you need to report the value of any military living allowance you receive, except the value of a basic housing allowance or the value of on-base housing. You will need to include any non-education veteran's benefits and if you have received any WorkStudy allowance by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

3. If I receive a basic housing allowance, will this affect my financial aid eligibility?

Yes. The financial aid office determines your eligibility for aid in part on how much it will cost you to go to school. If you receive a basic housing allowance or live in on-base housing, your expenses or budget cannot include an allowance for housing.

4. I qualify for Montgomery GI Bill benefits to help pay for college expenses. How do these benefits affect my financial aid eligibility?

You will still be able to apply for financial aid with Direct Subsidized Loans and Federal Pell Grants if you receive federal veteran's education benefits. However, your benefits may impact eligibility for financial aid from your school, state aid, or campus-based aid. It is wise to make an appointment with your financial aid office to discuss your different options for institutional and state aid.

5. My parent died in Afghanistan serving as a nurse. Are there any scholarships available for deceased servicemembers' children who passed away in the line of duty?

Look into the Fry Scholarship as you may be eligible. It is offered to the children of service members killed in the line of duty after September 11, 2001. The scholarship amount is equal to the base payment under the Post 9/11 VA benefit program. It also includes a book allowance and a monthly living stipend. Recipients may receive money for up to thirty-six months while they are between the ages of eighteen years old and thirty-three years old.

6. I recently finished high school and will be starting college shortly. My father was an Army officer who died in 2007 in Iraq. I filed my FAFSA online and the confirmation page says I do not qualify for a Federal Pell Grant. Are there any financial aid options for students in my position?

Yes, you may be eligible for an IASG or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. If you were twenty-three years old or younger and enrolled in postsecondary education when your parent or guardian passed away due to military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. The IASG amount is the same as the maximum Federal Pell Grant. If you qualify for an IASG, you will also receive a letter from the Department of Defense once your FAFSA is processed.

7. My father provided his information on my FAFSA. He is currently deployed and did not have a chance to file his tax return before leaving. How do I obtain the information I am required to give for verification?

Under the HEROES or Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Aft of 2003, the ED or Department of Education has modified or waived numerous federal financial aid requirements for certain people. To verify your father's income, provide your school with a statement from your father that certifies he was unable to file a return before leaving and that he wasn't required to file an extension since he was called to active duty. Include copies of his W-2 forms with this statement.

8. I completed college a few years ago. Afterward, I taught science at a Title 1 school. I'm in the reserves and was called to active duty for service in Afghanistan. How is my eligibility for teacher loan forgiveness affected by my service? To qualify am I required to teach for five consecutive years?

The rule that qualifying service for loan cancellation must be uninterrupted for a borrower called to active duty has been waived by the Education Department under HEROES. The time you are away on active duty plus a 3-month transition period is not considered an interruption to the timeframe you are required to teach to qualify for canceling your loan.

9. Will my financial aid be affected by the Post 9/11 benefit?

A portion of Post 9/11 VA benefits are restricted to pay tuition and fees directly to the student’s postsecondary institution. Tuition fee waivers/remissions from non-federal sources will supersede Post 9/11 tuition payments unless other arrangements have been made by the source with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

10. I am repaying my Direct Loans after finishing college many years ago. I will soon deploy again. Are any loan deferments available for borrowers when they are called to active duty?

There are certain deferments offered for borrowers who are on active duty during a war, a national emergency, or a military operation. A military service deferment is an option for borrowers who are on active duty during the abovementioned situations. Note that if the borrower is on active duty on or after October 1, 2007, there is an extra 180 days post demobilization date for the qualifying service that is included in the deferment.

The next option is the post-active duty deferment that is available to borrowers called to active duty as a member of the Armed Forces Reserves and the National Guard, including those who are retired. This is available for those while enrolled within six months of being enrolled at least half time and those enrolled at least half time. This deferment option is available for up to thirteen months after active duty service ends or until the borrower re-enrolls at a minimum of half-time.

It is important to know that if the borrower qualifies for the post-active duty deferments and the military service deferments, these deferment periods concurrently run.