Benefits are also contingent on you being enrolled in an academic program, and the courses you register for must apply to that program. So applying to USM is the critical Step 2. However, keep in mind that you can apply to USM and the VA concurrently; you do not have to wait to have an answer back from the VA before applying to USM.
Since the college application process and deciding on a major can take some time, the VA allows students accessing VA educational benefits to be certified for up to two terms as a non-degree student (non-matriculated) as long as the veteran has a pending USM application in process or a course of action plan with USM.
Those accepted to USM as an undeclared major must declare a major by the end of their sophomore year to continue to use the GI Bill. Due to this rule, it is best to apply for acceptance into an academic program as soon as possible, so a decision on your USM application can be made and a choice of major can be decided upon before the two-term VA certification maximum is completed.
To learn more about the USM application process, please click here.
PLEASE NOTE: When submitting your USM application, please spend considerable time developing your essay. Admissions counselors often do not have a military background, so whenever possible do not use military jargon on your application. You want to explain how the skills you learned in the military translate to success in the classroom. Not every MOS or AFSC has a civilian equivalent, but please do your best to explain how your training, accomplishments, and experiences make you a good candidate for admission.
As part of your USM application, you are encouraged to have your military training evaluated for possible transfer credit. To learn more about ordering your official military transcripts and having them reviewed by the Office of Prior Learning Assessment, please click here.
Updating the VA on Your Place of Training
If you have previously used your VA educational benefits at another school, you need to notify the VA of your change in Place of Training and/or Program, in order to use those VA benefits here at USM. The exception to this rule is recipients of Chapter 31, Vocational/Rehabilitation.
If you previously used Chapters 30, 33, 1606 or 1607, the form to submit is VA Form 22-1995.
If you are a dependent of a disabled or deceased veteran and previously used Chapter 35, the form to submit is VA Form 22-5495.
Both forms cans be filled out online via the Veterans On-line Application (VONAPP) feature of eBenefits. Please click here to access the online submission process.
Receiving VA Benefit Payments
To receive VA educational benefit payments, you must have your courses certified to the VA by the School Certifying Official (SCO) each term, and you must be making satisfactory academic progress in your program. This is Step 3.
To return to the Educational Benefits page, please click here.