Basic Information & FAQs

UPDATE YOUR DIRECT DEPOSIT / ADDRESS INFO WITH THE VA

Call the VA direct deposit center at 1-877-838-2778 to begin and change direct deposit information.

 

VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION BENEFITS

You may be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation (Ch. 31) benefits if you received, or will receive, a discharge under other than dishonorable conditions, incurred or aggravated a service-connected disability which entitles you to VA disability compensation, and is in need of vocational rehabilitation because your disability creates an employment handicap. Generally, full tuition, fees, and books are paid to the school by the VA. In addition, you may receive a subsistence allowance depending on the training status. Vocational rehabilitation may be provided for up to 48 months. 

 

ACTIVE DUTY EDUCATION BENEFITS

Generally, active duty service members are eligible for Ch. 33 benefits if they have completed 90 days of aggregate service. Most active duty service members are also eligible for up to 100% Armed Forces Tuition Assistance for courses taken during off-duty hours. For more information, please visit Military.com’s useful summary page.

According to federal regulations, active duty service members may not receive VA benefits for the same courses for which they receive Tuition Assistance (TA) from the military. Please consult with your school’s financial aid officer to ensure that you are in compliance with these regulations while also receiving the maximum benefits combination possible. You must also notify Columbia’s VA Certifying Official that you are active duty if you have requested to receive Ch. 33 (Post-9/11 GI Bill ®) benefits. Please note that active duty students are ineligible for the Ch. 33 housing allowance (BAH) and Yellow Ribbon Program.

 

COLUMBIA'S VA CERTIFYING OFFICIAL

Columbia's VA Certifying Official is Anne Marie Gesslein, who can be reached at veterans@columbia.edu.

 

To provide your documentation to Columbia's VA Certifying Officer, submit your Certificate of Eligibility via email to veterans@columbia.edu.  However, you may also mail, hand deliver, or fax your certificate of eligibility to the following contact information:

For Morningside Campus schools:
In person: 202 Kent Hall
By mail: Attn: VA Certifying Official, 202 Kent Hall, MC 9205, 1140 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10027
Via fax: Attn: VA Certifying Official, 212-854-2818

For School of General Studies:

Contact: Tessie Scroggins
In person: 408 Lewisohn Hall

By mail: Attn: VA Certifying Official, 408 Lewisohn Hall, MC 4101, New York, NY 10027

Via fax: Attn: VA Certifying Official, 212-854-6316

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any financial benefits offered by New York State?

New York's Veterans Tuition Award offers a small contribution towards Columbia tuition to eligible veterans attending a degree-granting program in New York State.

New York's Recruitment Incentive and Retention Program offers a tuition benefit for eligible members of the New York National Guard.

 

I am eligible for a federal Pell Grant. How does this affect my VA benefits?

Pell Grants are not affected by the Post-9/11 VA benefit eligibility. If you are a Pell Grant recipient, the Post-9/11 VA benefits you receive will not count against your aid eligibility. In general, students will be able to keep their Pell grants even if they are receiving Post-9/11 benefits. For further questions, you should check with your school's financial aid office or the office of Student Financial Planning.

 

How do I find out which VA benefits I am eligible for?

Please consult the GI Bill ® website of the VA and apply using the VA’s online website VONAPP

 

Are there benefits for dependents of Vietnam veterans?

There are two federal programs that may be available for dependents of Vietnam veterans: VEAP and the Survivors and Dependents benefits.  You can learn more about both benefits the VA Educational Benefits website.

 

Do I need enrollment certification from Columbia to get my certificate of eligibility from the VA?

You will not need an enrollment certification from Columbia in order to get your certificate of eligibility, but you will need to have your enrollment certified in order to have your payments processed. To request a certificate of eligibility, visit www.gibill.va.gov.

 

Do I need to give my VA certificate of eligibility to anyone other than Columbia’s VA Certifying Official?

No.

 

How will the tuition payments work? Will I need to pay anything upfront? What happens if the VA payments don't come through?

For the Post-9/11 GI Bill ®, the Department of Veterans Affairs will process payments directly to Columbia University. You will need to ensure that all documentation is in place so that Columbia receives payments on your behalf. In the event you learn that you are not entitled to VA payments, you will be responsible for paying any outstanding charges to the University.

For all other VA educational benefits programs, you will receive funds directly from the VA and will be responsible for submitting all payments you owe to Columbia University.

As with other scholarships, you should anticipate the amount you will receive from the VA and pay only the remaining balance on your student account.  You should not pay upfront the amount that you expect to receive from the VA. We will ensure that you are not assessed a late fee for this outstanding balance while VA payment is pending.