The DVA has partnered with other DoD components to create a one-stop source of benefit information and personal data for veterans and their dependents. The website www.ebenefits.va.gov is available now. Signing on for "premium" registation can take up to a week, but "basic" registration is relatively quick. With "premium" registration you will be able to check on the status of your compensation and pension, view your DVA payment history, apply for the home loan certificate of eligibility, and request copies of your military record. Your premium registration information will come in a letter from Department of Defense, Human Resources Activity, Defense Manpower Data Center about a week after you make your online request. Follow the directions in the letter to complete your registration. Note: your user name may change to firstname.lastname (all in lower case) after registration.
The DVA website is www.va.gov
Here are some helpful phone numbers:
- DVA Certification Center/Enrollment Verification 1-877-823-2378
- DVA Health Resource Center 1-877-222-8387
- DVA Hotline/DVA San Diego 1-800-827-1000
- DVA Regional Processing Office, Muskogee, OK 1-888-442-4551
- Vocational Rehabilitation (619) 400-5471
Everyone receiving VA benefits is required, by the Veterans Administration, to maintain regular class attendance and satisfactory progress to comply with the Academic Policies section of the current Southwestern College Catalog. Students should refer to the “General Education” & “Degree Requirements” sections of the current catalog.
Counseling Center: For academic advising, changing majors/classes, make an appointment with a counselor every semester. Request veterans’ counselor.
The Transfer Center is also available for information about the UC and CSU Public Institutions, as well as Independent Institutions. Refer to the “Transfer Planning” section of the current catalog or the Transfer Center website: http://www.swccd.edu/index.aspx?page=317
While receiving VA Educational Benefits, students may be concurrently enrolled at more than one school during the same semester. Whichever school the student is pursuing a degree from is considered the Parent School. The other school is considered the Secondary School. Southwestern Students must fill out a “Veterans Affairs Office Parent School letter” form at Veterans Services. If you are attending another institution and wish to receive benefits as a Guest Student for a course at Southwestern College, an authorization form/letter from Veterans Services at your Parent School is required. This form/letter states that the courses taken at the Secondary School will be credited toward the current major the student is pursuing. All “Guest Students” are responsible for contacting the Secondary School's Veterans Office to file required forms, the Parent School Course Approval Letter is usually mailed or faxed between colleges. The Secondary School will complete the certification for Guest Student benefits.
Monthly Verification Process:
Veteran students, who receive benefits under Chapters 30, 1606 and 1607, must verify their enrollment on or after the last day of each month. Veterans receive an award letter from the VA Regional Processing Center in Muskogee, OK, after certification of enrollment in authorized courses. Once this is received, the student can self-certify. To insure prompt payment of benefits you must remember to certify every month, even if your class(es) ended before the end of the month. The earliest that verification can be done is the last day of the month. Monthly verification (self-certification) can be done via one of the following two ways: Internet - WAVE (Web Automated Verification of Enrollment): Easiest and shows detailed information about YOUR benefits. Go To: https://www.gibill.va.gov/wave/
Telephone - Using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) 1-877-823-2378
Failure to self-certify every month will lead to your benefits being delayed or suspended.
Please be aware that Federal holidays and filing your Intent Form late, may delay the initial Certification Process and thus, timely deposit of your benefits. You are encouraged to plan accordingly and keep at least a month’s benefits in reserve at your financial institution to prevent problems, especially if your benefits provide the majority of your income.
Direct deposit of your monthly VA educational benefits payment is available for Chapter 30, 31, 33, 1606 and 1607 recipients. This option allows faster receipt of monthly benefits, and work study payments. It also decreases the chance of missing, lost or stolen checks. If you did not request direct deposit when you applied for benefits, you may initiate the process at any time by calling the VA at:
1-877-838-2778: Monday – Friday 5:30 AM to 2:50 PM – Pacific Time.
You need to provide your VA file number, 9 digit bank routing number, and checking or savings account number. To cancel or change direct deposit or home address, fill out Form 20-572 at Veterans Services. We will fax your request to the VA Regional Office in Muskogee, OK.
VA Work-Study Program:
This program is available to any student receiving VA education benefits who is attending school three-quarter time or more. A student working under this program may work at the school veterans' office, VA Regional Office, VA Medical Facilities, or at approved State employment offices. Work-study students are paid at either the state or Federal minimum wage, whichever is greater. If you have other questions on this program contact the VA toll-free number 1-888-442-4551, or Veterans Services on campus.
This is a tax-free employment program. The hourly rate, currently, is $9.00 an hour, as of July 2008. Students must be enrolled in and receiving educational benefits of at least 3/4 time, 9–11.5 units/semester.
GI Bill Benefit Payment Rates:
Rates depend upon amount contributed and/or length of time in service (Number of months of contribution), as well as enrollment status. Inquire at Veterans Services or GI Bill website for current pay rates for each chapter.
Undergraduate Enrollment Status by Number of Credits
Fall and Spring
9.0 - 11.5
6.0 - 8.5
Tutorial Assistance Program:
If you are having difficulty in any of your classes, you should first talk to your professor. If the difficulty is other than that which can be addressed by tutoring, you should make an appointment with a Counselor. Through the VA, up to $1200 is available for Individualized Tutorial Assistance. You must be receiving VA education benefits at half-time rate or more. If you have a deficiency in a subject necessitating private tutoring, beyond Tutoring/Learning Assistance services available on campus, students can be reimbursed for payments to a qualified tutor. The first $600 does not count against your benefits award. For questions regarding VA tutorial assistance, and to get a copy of Form 22-1990, contact Veterans Service. Students will need to provide documentation from their instructor identifying their need for tutoring, the qualifications of, and fees paid to the tutor, to apply for reimbursement.