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Category Archives: Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP)

Am I Eligible to Use the Montgomery and Post 9/11 GI Bills Since VRAP Is No Longer An Option?

Q: Am I eligible to use the Montgomery/Post 9-11 GI Bill for education now that the VRAP has expired? I have been out of the service since 1985.

A: No you are not. If you were not eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill or Post 9/11 GI Bill before VRAP , you still won’t be eligible now that VRAP is not an option. If got out in 1985, you would have had the Montgomery GI Bill. Unfortunately, it has a 10-year shelf life so it would have expired in 1995.

As far as Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility, you would have had to serve for at least 90 days after September 10, 2001 to qualify at the minimum benefit of 40%.

As an update, the VA quit taking VRAP applications on October 1, 2013 and training has to be completed by March 31, 2014, unless Congress extends the expiration date by three months to the end of June. 

Are There Any VRAP-Approved Schools in New Hampshire That Teach CDL?

Q: I’m looking to get my CDL with VRAP in New Hampshire. Any ideas?

A: I used the College Navigator search program and I did not find any VRAP-approved schools in New Hampshire, however, I did find 3 schools in Pennsylvania, namely:

  • Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology at Pleasant Gap
  • Schuylkill Technology Center at Frackville
  • York County School of Technology at York.

I think these three would be the closest to you (and they are not very close). I would apply for VRAP right now as the program ends in March 2014 unless it gets extended. Congress was looking at extending it until the end of June, but they have not approved that change yet.

Are There Any Online Real Estate Schools Approved for VRAP in California?

Q: Help in CA. I’m looking for online school for real estate that is approved for VRAP.

A: There are some schools VRAP approved that teach real estate in California, however, I did not find any that taught it only online.

If you go to the College Navigator website and:

  • Choose California for a State,
  • Click on Browse for Programs, then Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, and then click on Real Estate
  • Choose Certificate and Associate’s for Level of Award
  • and check all but 4-year under Institution Type.
  • Click on Show Results

When I searched, I came up with 52 schools. Maybe one of them is located close to you so you could attend class on campus instead of online. Good luck!

Is There a Place Where I Can Find Out Legitimate VRAP-Approved Schools?

Q: American College of Technology is advertising to be VRAP approved. Is this information correct? Is there any information on which schools are legitimate besides WEAMS or do I use WEAMS?

A: From what I can find out, the American College of Technology (ACOT) is approved for VRAP, but just for the following courses:

  • Network Administration and Information Security
  • Health Information Technology
  • Computer Programming and Systems Design
  • Business Administration and Information Technology
  •  Criminal Justice

I got the information from the College Navigator search program. It is a little confusing in that ACOT is listed as a 4-year school, which should exclude it from VRAP, however, their website show they currently do not have any 4-year programs – only 2-year degree and certification programs. You can look around on their website and get many of your questions answered.

If My VRAP Tuition Is Less Than My Monthly Amount, Can I Keep the Rest?

Q: How about online Mediation, Pharmacy Tech and Paralegal programs through a school like Lakewood College, which is VRAP approved? The programs last from 9-15 months and the costs are from around $1,700-$2,700. They also have monthly payment plans. So I’m not sure how VRAP works, I understand that they deposit the check monthly so long as you are actively enrolled and it’s verifiable on a month to month basis. So my question is: Are we allowed to use the remaining expenses to our benefit so long as we comply and complete the program even though the programs like these have an overall lower cost in comparison to others?

A: You, you can keep whatever is left over after you pay for your education expenses. What happens is VRAP students get paid the same as Montgomery GI Bill students in that you will get $1,564 per month for each month you are in school, up to 12 months. Out of that amount, you have to pay your tuition, books and any other education-related expenses, however, if all of that is less than your $1,564 per month, you keep what is left over and spend as you like. The converse is also true in that if your expenses exceed your VRAP income, you are responsible for paying the difference.

Is My Husband’s GI Bill Really Gone or Can He Still Get It?

Q: My husband is a Navy veteran. He received an honorable discharge in 1996. He claims to have ‘signed away’ his GI Bill while he was still enlisted because he didn’t plan to return to college. He is now 39 years old & would maybe like to return to school. Is his GI Bill really gone or can he still get it? Also, I, as his spouse would like to return to school as well. I’m wondering if there is any help for me either through the GI Bill or any other VA spouse program?

A: Back in 1996, the Montgomery GI Bill- Active Duty would have been the one he would have had if he had not signed a declination. However, since he did, that GI Bill is gone forever. An even if he had signed up for it, it has a 10-year shelf life,  so it would have expired in 2006 – 10 years from his date of discharge. However, all may not be lost.

If your husband meets the eligibility requirement for VRAP, he could get up to 12 months of training paid at the Montgomery GI Bill rate of $1,564 per month. Basically, the requirements are:

  • Are at least 35 but no more than 60 years old.
  • Are unemployed on the date of application.
  • Received an other than dishonorable discharge.
  • Are not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance).
  • Are not in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability.
  • Are not enrolled in a federal or state job training program.

If he meets these requirements, he can go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990 to apply for VRAP benefits.

Is It Too Late to Apply for the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP)?

Q: Hello Ron, I was just told about the VRAP program. Is it too late to get some help?

A: No it is not too late yet, but you will have to move fairly fast and get your application submitted. As of this writing, the VA has received 79,732 applications and approved 65,980 of them.

They accepted 45,000 veteran applications up through September 30th and they will accept an additional 54,000 from October 1st through March 31, 2014 for a total of 99,000. So with the number already accepted, they only have about 33,000 slots left.

To apply, you must meet the eligibility requirements of:

  • being at least 35 but no more than 60 years old.
  • unemployed on the date of application.
  • having received at least an other than dishonorable discharge.
  • not being eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance).
  • not in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability.
  • not enrolled in a federal or state job training program.

If you meet these requirements, then you could be approved and receive up to 12 months of benefits paid at the Montgomery GI Bill current rate of $1,563 per month. The money comes to you and you have to pay your own education expenses.

Your course of instruction must be through a community college or vocational/technical school that does not also teach four-year degrees or higher and your course must be on the Department of Labor’s list of high demand careers.

If approved, you will get a Certificate of Eligibility. If not, the VA will let you know why you were not approved. To apply, submit VA Form 22-1990 from the eBenefits website.

How And When Do I Find Out If My VRAP Application Was Approved?

Q: Dear Mr. Ron Kness. I’m writing this message in hope of finding out more answers on the new program called VRAP. I just applied last week and this being my second week coming up, I was informed by my fellow veteran’s that have been certified that it took them approximately 2 weeks. Thus my question on the time lapse and availability of the first 44,000 slots. How do find out when if at all I made the cut?

A: The VA will let you know if you have been approved for the VRAP program or not, and if not, the reason why you were not approved. I can tell you right now that the first 45,000 slots have been filled and the VA is working on filling the second round of slots slated at 54,000. Currently they have received 77,338 applications as of this writing and they have approved 64,138 of them, so you have a good chance of getting approved providing you meet all of the program requirements. Basically you:

  • have to be at least 35 but no more than 60 years old.
  • have to be unemployed on the date of application.
  • have received at least a discharge of other than dishonorable.
  • not eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance).
  • not in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability.
  • not enrolled in a federal or state job training program.

Give it a few more weeks and if you don’t hear back by then, call them and inquire.

Who Really Benefits from the Post 9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program?

Some veteran students using the #Post 9/11 GI Bill will benefit from the Yellow Ribbon Program more than others. This article’s mission is to explain the features and situations where you would be eligible to use this program.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is the most generous and unique GI Bill to date; it has features not found in any of the previous GI Bills. However, one of the least understood feature is the Yellow Ribbon Program. Many people think it is a GI Bill in and of itself – that is not true. It is a feature inside of the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

What Is the Yellow Ribbon Program?

The Yellow Ribbon Program is a voluntary agreement between a school and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). In that agreement, a school designates in writing:

  • what percentage it will pay.
  • how many students it will annually accept into its program.
  • the maximum amount of contribution awarded to each participant.
  • which of its degree programs (and the level – undergraduate or advanced) are covered by their agreement.

The VA in turn, agrees to pay a percentage equal to the percentage expressed in the school’s agreement. For example, if you attend a school that has a Yellow Ribbon Agreement and in its agreement it had stipulated it would pay 50% of the difference between what the VA pays in tuition and eligible fees and what the school charges, then the VA would pay an additional 50% of that difference leaving the student with no out-of-pocket tuition/eligible fee costs left to pay. Just know that 50% is the most a school can pay; many schools use a lower percentage and then of course, not all the difference will be paid. The amount “paid” by a school is often in the form of scholarships, grants or waivers – none which require repayment.

Who Is Eligible to Use the Yellow Ribbon Program?

Not all veteran students using the Post 9/11 GI Bill will benefit from the program. First, you have to be vested at the 100% tier level. To achieve that level, you must have:

  • served for at least three years after September 10, 2001 on a Title 10 Order (active duty) and separated or retired with an honorable discharge or,
  • served for at least 30 days on a Title 10 Order after the same September date and were discharged due to a service-connected disability or,
  • be a recipient of Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement from a sponsor having 100% tier coverage.

Who Can Benefit From the Yellow Ribbon Program?

As we said earlier, not all veteran students will benefit from the program. First, the school you attend has to have a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with the VA – not all schools have approved agreements nor do some schools want to be part of the program.

Generally speaking, if you attend a public school in your home state of residency and you are at the 100% tier, the Post 9/11 GI Bill would most likely cover all your tuition and eligible fees at the resident undergraduate level. So even if your school is a Yellow Ribbon school, there would most likely not be a remaining difference to apply toward the Yellow Ribbon Program. However, the Yellow Ribbon Program may apply to you if you:

  • pay out-of-state tuition;
  • attend a private school;
  • enroll in a graduate program.

If you are a resident of another state and your school does not have a reciprocity agreement with them, then your Post 9/11 GI Bill would not pay all of your tuition and eligible fees. Being it only pays up to the resident rate, you would have an unpaid difference between the resident rate and out-of-state rate. The Yellow Ribbon Program would help pay this difference. The amount it would pay depends on the percentage the school has in their agreement. The VA would pay an equal percentage.

If you attend a private school as a full-time student, your Post 9/11 GI Bill will only pay up to $17,500 per year. The Yellow Ribbon Program would help pay the difference, if your annual tuition exceeds this amount.

If you enroll in a graduate program, your Post 9/11 GI Bill only pays up to the resident undergraduate tuition rate, therefore you will have a remaining unpaid balance due to the higher per credit tuition cost of advanced degree courses. The Yellow Ribbon could be used to help defray this difference.

The goal of the Yellow Ribbon Program is to give you flexibility in choosing your school and degree program, and help minimize out-of-pocket costs by paying for certain remaining unpaid balances. Using the Yellow Ribbon Program can only be used toward tuition and eligible fees. It does not have a positive or negative effect on the monthly housing allowance or book stipend.


Welcome to Veteran School!

Welcome to Veteran School As noted on our Home Page, we are still getting everything set up, so keep checking back often as I’ll post another blog telling the world we are finished setting up our blog.

Then the fun starts – helping veterans and military members alike by:
– explaining the different education benefits available.
– finding the best ways to use those education benefits.
– answering education questions submitted by you in the form of Q&A blog posts.

So bookmark us know and come back often. Thanks!

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Veteran School Benefits

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