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Education Post-9/11 GI Bill Letter and Forms

Discussion in 'Military and Veterans' started by Wrye83, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. Wrye83

    Wrye83 DI Forum Luminary Admin Secured Account Veteran Army

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    I believe it has been around 6-8 months (?) since I sent the VA an email requesting a certificate of eligibility. It finally came in the mail today. It appears it took a little less than 2 months to get through the mail to my place house here in Valencia from the US. (So it took them around 4-6 months just to follow up with my request for the certificate. I guess that's not too shabby for government work....might even be considered as "expeditious" for VA government work. :meh:)

    Regardless of the delay, I can now push on with enrollment and the process of converting over to a student visa here in the Philippines now. (It's been so long I'm going to have to go back through my last thread on the subject to remember what all I have to do.)

    Below is the letter I received today (with any personal information removed for obvious reasons):

    GIBill1.jpg GIBill2.jpg GIBill3.jpg

    I was a bit surprised to read that they bumped the eligibility to 15 years from the last separation of active duty for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. (I was always told it was 10 years, but I started off on the previous GI Bill.)

    Attached were two VA forms, which I have downloaded and attached to this thread in case anyone else might need the information (both PDF files).

    The first one is VA Form 4107. This form fills you in on how to appeal a decision. Not really needed if you have been approved for benefits.

    The second, VA Form 22-0338, is just contact information for VA education benefits. Seems more useful to those in the US though.
     

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  2. nwlivewire

    nwlivewire DI Senior Member Highly Rated Poster Showcase Reviewer Blood Donor Veteran Navy Army

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    Dear Wrye83:

    Please use these websites as they will help you clarify and use your GI Bill in a more effective manner for YOU.

    VA Foreign School Information/Overview:

    Foreign School Information for Students - Education and Training

    There are three VA Regional Offices that process Foreign school GI Bill usage and GI Bill usage outside the 50 States. Be sure to know which of those three VA Regionals your school will fall under so your application is routed to the correct Regional.

    **********

    Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA)

    MHA Rate Exceptions


    Type of School MHA Rate

    Foreign School $1,611.00

    Schools in US Territories E-5 with dependents OHA Rate for school location

    Exclusively Online Training (No Classroom Instruction) $805.50

    Attending classes at ½ time or less NOT PAYABLE

    Active Duty Trainee (or transferee spouse of servicemember) NOT PAYABLE

    **** There are other exceptions NOT listed by the VA in this above info, but if you know how to drill down in your research, you WILL find some US schools located in a foreign country that WILL pay MORE than the foreign school MHA rate of 1,611 USD per month of full time attendance (generally, you will receive 8 months of MHA per 9 month school year - MHA does NOT pay during Christmas/SpringBreak or if you take Summers off).

    **** HOT TIP: Look for US States/areas that pay a high MHA rate, such as NYC, Boston, MD, Southern California, etc. Then use this WEAMS website to see if any of these MHA areas have foreign school locations.

    So far, in my research, the highest MHA rate for attending a Post 9/11 GI Bill approved school is through Touro University in NYC. They have a branch campus in Berlin, Germany, and pay a full-time student MHA rate of 3,775 (3,775 x 8 = 30,200 per 8 month school year - tax free).

    Cost of living comparison between NYC and Berlin when receiving the NYC MHA rate for going to school and living in Berlin, Germany is VERY advantageous to the Veteran. But of course, this doesn't mean anything of much if they don't offer a degree program at Touro U Berlin you are interested in persueing. But Touro University/Berlin, Germany Campus is so far, the highest paying MHA US/foreign school location I've found.

    WEAMS Public

    You will also find some US schools with a branch location in a foreign country that will pay LESS than the foreign school MHA of 1,611 (Example: Webster University is located in many foreign nations, but Webster U pays the St. Louis, MO, MHA rate of 1,216). Why so low? Because all Webster U foreign school locations & GI Bill applications/attendance are all handled at their "Main Branch" brick and mortar location in St. Louis, MO -- hence the LOWER overseas MHA rate.

    WEAMS Public

    This is WHY Touro U can pay such a high MHA in Berlin - all their GI Bill paperwork goes through their "Main Branch" brick and mortar location in NYC -- hence the HIGHER overseas MHA rate.

    **********

    Use the WEAMS website to see what the deal is for your school of choice. It will tell you the MHA amount for full-time study, programs of study for that location which are already VA approved for use of your GI Bill, and the already VA pre-approved degree level (BA, BS, Masters, etc).

    WEAMS Public

    Remember: If you attend as a 3/4 time student, you will NOT get the 100% MHA rate. For example: 12 units is considered to be "full time". 9 units is considered to be 3/4 time. The VA, by law, has to "round up" to the nearest 0 percentile, so if you attend at the 3/4 time rate, the VA does NOT pay 75% MHA, it has to pay you the 80% MHA rate (75% is rounded UP - 74% is rounded DOWN to 70%).

    For many with physical and/or psychological/cognitive disabilities (PTSD/TBI), 3/4 time may be ALL they can successfully manage AND PASS without flunking out. The VA wants those folks to succeed and acknowleges that for many of these Vets, 3/4 time IS full time for them with what is left of their bodies and brains. There are ways to be granted 100% MHA for 3/4 time study, but this probably doesn't apply to your situation.

    I had to research and research all this stuff because the VA won't tell you these things. So I'm glad you're going to cobble a plan together for yourself and make good use of this benefit you have earned.

    ****

    Some nations are very strict about your using their Student VISA, staying in their country, and ONLY studying in their country as a 3/4 time student. Others - not so much. You will need to do your research on this to make sure your Student VISA is good and won't get yanked from you should you decide to drop from full-time to 3/4 time study.

    ****

    In my case, I won't have to use a Student VISA in too many countries as I can qualify for that nation's retiree VISA (if they have one). I can use their retiree VISA and NOT be concerned about getting their Student VISA yanked from me if I drop to 3/4 study.

    So PLEASE be sure to check out that countries Student VISA program and what you need to do to keep it before you commit.

    V/R,
    nwlivewire
     
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  3. Wrye83

    Wrye83 DI Forum Luminary Admin Secured Account Veteran Army

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    Yikes! :wideyed: That's a lot of reading, my turn:

    To be honest, my plan was just to take the certificate of eligibility to one of the universities here (Silliman or Foundation, both have VA "reps" on campus), take care of whatever nonsense requirements they have, get enrolled, then take the enrollment paper to the Dumaguete Immigration office and say "transfer to student visa please. here's my paperwork and money".

    lol This is the Philippines: Passing grades (maybe) and, most importantly, money is what I need to keep a student visa (aside from the obvious stuff like "don't get arrested" :angelic:). I see nothing from BoI about being a full-time student (I will be anyways so doesn't really matter). It also helps I'm in a position that I can just roll with whatever nonsense they can throw at me. If I lose the student visa and need to get out of country and come back on a tourist visa again that really isn't a problem.

    Also been dealing with the Philippines long enough to know that whatever rules/laws I read up on will likely change once from my house to the university, again from the university to immigration and then one more time when I head back to the university......and whatever plans and preparations I make will go to complete sh*t the second I step out my door, "because Philippines". My only real concern is that the VA dishes out the book, school and housing allowance. :greedy: So I'll look into their requirements, which I'm pretty sure just to a.) be full-time b.) show up c.) pass and d.) don't quit (as the paper I received in the mail says).

    I also started the looking into this prior to asking the VA for the certificate of eligibility. Maybe you remember that thread?
    Education - GI Bill - Silliman University | Dumaguete Info
    :wink:

    You won't have to worry about a student visa if you are staying on a retirement visa in the Philippines:
    Retirement Visa - Special Resident Retirement Visa (SRRV) | Dumaguete Info

    I did attach the 9F Student Visa application (V-NI-005) and renewal (V-NI-006) requirement check-lists to this post just in case anyone needs them though. :thumbsup:

    FYI on this:
    The VA is telling me slightly less than that for Dumaguete. Here is what I get when searching on the VA's Benefits Website for Dumaguete universities:
    Screenshot (412).png

    Where is your extra $45 bucks (2,085PHP aka x26 750ml bottles of Tanduay Rum.....per MONTH!!! :excited:) coming from? Have they recently updated the housing allowance and just not gotten around to updating their website?

    Yeah, umm, the West isn't really my "thing". It's very likely I would have to put a lot of effort into keeping that housing allowance.....I also hear the alcohol, cigarettes, gasoline and woman are quite expensive in Germany (and after rent the MHA wouldn't even com close to covering just my alcohol needs....forget about the smokes, motorcycles and women :sneaky:).
    Hard work + crap pay + expensive alcohol, smokes, gas and women = :cheeky:
     

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  4. nwlivewire

    nwlivewire DI Senior Member Highly Rated Poster Showcase Reviewer Blood Donor Veteran Navy Army

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    HAHAHA you crack me up!

    You can really be a funny guy when you want to be!

    No worries, Wrye83. The MHA is still at 1566. I THINK I may have been reading the 2016-2017 projected MHA rate increase (IF it goes through or has gone through Congress).

    Any increase in the MHA starts 01 AUG and ends 31 July. These dates are also your GI Bill Fiscal Year dates, too. In other words, many countries have a different start month and end month tuition/attendance cycle for their school year - different than the US cycle. So you just need to be careful so that IF your school year begins in July, or, IF your school year ends in August, you have enough left in your GI Fiscal Year annual budget to cover this. In most cases you will not have to worry as the max GI Bill Fiscal Year dollars for tuition (and whatever else the VA pays on their end) and the tuition/fee outlay your school will charge the VA will probably be alot less that what US schools will charge the VA.

    As I said about Touro University Berlin Campus, it is an American university, so your classes will be taught in English - except if you should go for the dually accreditated degree programs. Some of your course work will be in German and you will need to attend a class or two on a German campus. But Touro U lets you make that decision and you can choose a strictly English only-degree program which will award only a US degree, and never have to set foot on a German campus.

    Cost of living with a NYC MHA in Berlin is really a dream for a Veteran attending school there! Berlin is one of the lowest cost of living big cities in Europe. What's funny is that I did a cost comparison between NYC and Berlin and I came up with Berlin being 42% cheaper to live in than NYC. It cost about as much to live in Berlin as it would for me to live in Portland, Oregon. Since I know that area well, I KNOW I could easily live in Berlin with a NYC MHA rate - even at 3/4 time with 80% of a NYC MHA rate. Public transport is readily available and you can also get quite a few discounts with your "student status" ID card. Renting a car wouldn't be a problem for the week-ends, either. And the beer? Well, with two or three good German beers under your belt, I can bet that you'll be speaking in tongues to somebody in no time!

    Schiller U is another US college in Europe (Heidelberg), though their MHA is alot lower than Touro U (1,798 compared 3,775). Schiller bases it's MHA on a city in Florida. Still, Schiller is way higher (1,798) than Webster U's MHA (1,219). The foreign school MHA for any foreign school that does not have a "brick and mortar" location inside the USA is set at 1,566. So Webster U's foreign satellite locations can go suck eggs.

    Believe it or not, the Bush family has an interest in Webster U. One would think the Bush family would put a little pressure on Webster U to hire local Vet Reps at their foreign locations so as to give the Vet at least the foreign MHA rate (1,566). But NO! That would cost Webster additional salary dollars for the half dozen new hires thay would have to do. So why would I give Webster my full tuition dollars when they aren't willing to do the same for me? After all, a Vet isn't having to get scholarships from Webster's money pool or anything else.

    For many schools, Vets are walking/talking "cash cows" - and the schools know this very well. The school doesn't need to subsidize the Vet with scholarships and the VA pays full freight, "top shelf" costs (up to the maximum annual limits, which covers 90% of all State public schools and many private, not-for-profits). So I personally crossed off Webster U two years ago when I wrote the President of the University a one-page letter about this issue, and got a phone call back from him saying, "We're working on this." Obviously, they still haven't fixed this, so screw them!

    For Thailand, I found Payap University in Chiang Mai (Northern Thailand). It's a foreign school and pays the same as Silliman for MHA rates (1,566). But it does offer a few English only degrees, and Thailand (like the Philippines) is one of the ASEAN member nations and they are trending toward reciprocity of degree status. One could attend Payap U in Chiang Mai, then spend a semester in one of their foreign exchange sister schools in SE Asia, too. The director of foreign admissions at Payap is himself a US Vet, and they do have a small, but active US Vet population at Payap.

    In any event, there are many ways to skin the cat here. The best way is to do what works best for YOU.

    Me. I'm not in a really big hurry to degree out and get a job as so many college grads are needing to do. So I will probably attend at 3/4 time so I can enjoy my time without the intense pace of full-time study (been there-done that). I don't need to have that "all work and no play" schedule and the nose-to-grindstone 4.0 GPA gig. But I will only take three years to degree out as I have a couple of other places I need to go see and observe before I begin my next phase.

    Keep us posted as to your progress Wrye83. Be interesting to see how this works for you.

    V/R,
    nwlivewire
     
  5. AlwaysRt

    AlwaysRt DI Senior Member Highly Rated Poster Showcase Reviewer Blood Donor Veteran Marines Air Force

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    I have two questions I can't find the answer to and you guys are probably the best ones to ask on the forum.

    1) I know you guys are looking at SRRV and the other a Student Visa. Have either of you seen anything about going to school on a Balikbayan Privilege Visa waiver?

    2) Is it correct to assume, since the VA is willing to pickup the tab for Silliman, Negros Oriental State... that they are somehow accredited in the US?
     
  6. Wrye83

    Wrye83 DI Forum Luminary Admin Secured Account Veteran Army

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    You cannot go to school (or work) on a Balikbayan visa.

    Not necessarily. Accreditation is based off of the individual courses/programs and not the school as a whole. I think Silliman is the only one in Dumaguete that has a course that will be worth a d*mn thing to US universities. I believe it was a technology course/program, I would suggest going to their admissions office for clarification. They have a VA rep on campus as well that can explain everything you'll need.
     
  7. AlwaysRt

    AlwaysRt DI Senior Member Highly Rated Poster Showcase Reviewer Blood Donor Veteran Marines Air Force

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    I wasn't thinking of it so much as qualifying for transfer credit to a US University. I was thinking about my wife getting a degree here and having it count as a degree to get a possition from usajobs.gov or even an Air Force commision.
     
  8. Wrye83

    Wrye83 DI Forum Luminary Admin Secured Account Veteran Army

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    A college degree alone usually isn't good enough for government jobs....a degree from a Philippine college/university is probably worth even less (the education system here is really quite a joke, most degrees here really aren't much better than a US high school diploma). The government would almost certainly want a lot of job experience to go along with a Philippine degree. I also wouldn't be surprised, given the current political climate, if the US government started shifting preference to other nations for low skilled labor.

    Note, these are my opinions, not facts.
     
  9. nwlivewire

    nwlivewire DI Senior Member Highly Rated Poster Showcase Reviewer Blood Donor Veteran Navy Army

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    Here is a list of US schools that have a branch campus in another country. Most of these US schools have US accreditation as they are branch locations with their "brick and mortar" Main location residing in the US.

    To find US schools, look under the column of HOME COUNTRY.
    Home Country tells you what nation that school is from.

    HOST COUNTRY column tells you what country that US school is located in.

    » Branch Campus

    **********

    Here is the official VA website of approved list of schools all over the world.

    WEAMS Public

    **********

    Not all majors are VA approved in all schools. Just because the school name is listed as VA approved, this does not mean that all majors or subjects at that school are approved.

    You need to click on that school name, then click on "programs", then click on "Institutions of Higher Learning". A list of already approved degree programs will come up for that school.

    **********

    If you want to know if that school has US accreditation, you need to go to the official web site for that school and look to see what accreditation they have. Most foreign schools do not have US accreditation - they have an EU, ASEAN, or some other accreditation.

    Most US "branch campus" locations in foreign countries have US accreditation. Go to their official web site and look to see if they have degree programs that are valid in their host country, too.

    V/R,
    nwlivewire
     
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  10. AlwaysRt

    AlwaysRt DI Senior Member Highly Rated Poster Showcase Reviewer Blood Donor Veteran Marines Air Force

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    Another way to ask my question would be - Why would the VA pay for education that is not accredited and therefore useless? Looks like the VA reps at the actual schools may be the best people to talk to about it as the information either isn't out there or hidden well.

    On usajobs there are always ones looking for recent graduates with particular majors.
     
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