Thank you for your service! This website will provide basic information needed to access and use your VA Educational Benefits. The SVC Veterans Education Office stands ready to provide outstanding customer service to you as you embark and advance along the path toward achieving your educational goals at Skagit Valley College!
Our offices are located in the Counseling and Career Services Office on the Mount Vernon campus and in Old Main on the Whidbey campus and we are open weekdays to assist you.
Skagit Valley College has voluntarily agreed to adopt the procedures set out in Executive Order 13607, Establishing Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Service members, Veterans, Spouses, and Other Family Members and will provide a Financial Aid Shopping Sheet that describes the educational costs and financial aid available to help those students meet those costs.
Interested students can find the information contained in the Shopping Sheet by using the GI Bill® Comparison Tool located at the VA website located here: Shopping Sheet (Click the link and open in new window)
While there, a student can also compare Skagit Valley College to other options and make an informed decision about where to pursue your academic goals.
Getting Started at Skagit Valley College
Interested in using your VA Education benefits? Don't know where to start? Follow these steps.
STEP 1: Apply for your VA benefits: Go to http://www.gibill.va.gov and mouse over APPLY FOR BENEFITS and select Apply Online (VONAPP). On the VONAPP page, if this is your first time, you can click the “Road Map for Success” link to help you determine what benefit is best for you and how to apply for it. If you don't have the capability to apply online, you can call 1-888-GI BILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) to have a form mailed to you. Once you’ve determined that you are eligible for educational benefits you will end up at the Veterans On-Line Application (VONAPP) on the eBenefits web page. Here, you can select I Am a New VONAPP User or I Have Used VONAPP Before and continue to complete your application for benefits.
>NOTE: Selected Reserves - Educational benefits are also available to eligible members. A "Notice of Basic Eligibility" (NOBE) DD-2384 has to be requested from your unit and brought to the Veterans Education Office to start the application process.
STEP 2: Apply for admission to Skagit Valley College. You can apply in person by submitting an application to any of our Admissions offices or you can apply online by visiting the SVC Admissions Web Page.
STEP 3: Apply for Financial Aid. Even though you plan to use your GI Bill® benefits to pay for your education, you may find that you are eligible for additional financial aid in the form of grants, loans and scholarships to assist you in covering your educational expenses. You should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid by clicking here: FAFSA
STEP 4: Schedule and take a COMPASS Test. The Compass test is an untimed placement test that measures your proficiency in reading, writing and mathematics to determine what level of classes might be best for you to succeed in college. You can find out more, including how to best prepare for the test, by clicking here: Compass Test
STEP 5: Attend a 2-hour “New Student Group Advising” session. Appointments can be made by visiting or calling the desired campus. Mount Vernon Campus: 360.416.7654 (press 0) or Whidbey Island Campus: 360.679.5319. You can also schedule to meet with an advisor or counselor in person.
STEP 6: Visit the Veterans Education Office. Stop by and see us to determine what documents you’ll need to provide, get your questions answered and we will give you a blank Education Plan that you are required to create and update annually. This plan will help us certify the classes to the VA that you’ll need for your degree.
STEP 7: Register for classes. You can register in person or online here: Registration. When registering for classes, be aware of classes that don't last the full length of the quarter. VA will only pay for the length of the class, not the full quarter.
STEP 8: Come back to the Veterans Education Office to complete the required paperwork help us certify your classes to the VA and activate your educational benefits. Please bring a copy of your DD214 - Member 4, your VA Certificate of Eligibility/Award Letter, a copy of the application for benefits (VONAPP) you submitted, your state driver's license, and tell us that you have registered for classes.
NOTE: Veterans receiving Chapter 33 benefits must enroll in at least 12 credits of which one must be in class to receive their full monthly housing allowance. Veterans enrolled in 12 credits of on-line classes with no in-seat class will receive 50% of the national average basic housing allowance.
Residency for Military and Veteran Students
If you are active duty military, stationed in Washington, you and your dependents qualify as residents for tuition purposes. You must provide documentation such as transfer orders or other appropriate documents at the time you apply for admission.
If you are a veteran, you may also qualify as a resident for tuition purposes if you meet the requirements as a “covered individual” as defined in the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (Choice Act) that went into effect on July 1, 2015. The Choice Act requires states to charge in-state tuition and fees to “covered individuals.”
A “covered individual” is defined in the Choice Act as:
· A Veteran who lives in the state in which the institution of higher learning is located (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) and enrolls in the school within three years of discharge from a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.
· A spouse or child using transferred benefits who lives in the state in which the institution of higher learning is located (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) and enrolls in the school within 3 years of the transferor’s discharge from a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.
· A spouse or child using benefits under the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship who lives in the state in which the institution of higher learning is located (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) and enrolls in the school within three years of the service member’s death in the line of duty following a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.
A covered individual remains covered as long as the student maintains continuous enrollment. (Does not include breaks between quarters or summer quarter.)
Credit For Prior Learning & Military Training
Veteran students are required to produce transcripts from any previous colleges attended as well as a copy of their Joint Services Transcript (JST) to SVC so we can evaluate their experience and training to determine what, if any, credits can be awarded. You can contact your previous college to obtain a transcript and you can download a copy of your JST at https://jst.doded.mil/. Students may also check with the Veterans Education Coordinator for more information about credits for military service or about obtaining advance standing for prior learning or experience.
Minimum Requirements for All Students Receiving VA Educational Benefits
Veterans must declare a program of study or degree objective - this is your Education Plan. The VA will only pay for classes that are required toward your degree or VA-approved program of study. If you are not sure, ask at the Veterans Education Office.
Veterans must complete the course work paid for. Grades of 'V', 'Z' or 'W' will result in overpayment, which means some or all the benefits received from VA may have to be repaid.
Veterans must notify SVC Veteran's Office when: changing classes (adding or dropping), withdrawing from SVC, or when you stop attending classes or when you receive any communication from the VA that is unclear to you. Additionally, educational benefits may be terminated for unsatisfactory academic progress or student conduct. Good communication is KEY! Let us know if anything changes with regard to your classes, education plan or benefit status.
NOTE: Certifying Your Benefits is Not Automatic! You must contact the SVC Veterans Education Office after you have registered for classes to let us know you plan to use your VA benefit before we can certify you. When we “certify” your classes, we are telling the VA:
- The number of credits you have registered for.
- That your courses are approved as part of your Education Plan.
- The amount you are being charged for Tuition & Fees.
For Post-9/11 (Chapter 33) students:
This is when we tell the VA how much they are to pay the school for your tuition and fees. It also starts your textbook payment and Housing Allowance.
NOTE: If you don’t come in and allow us to certify your classes before the date when payment is due to SVC, you may be automatically dropped from classes you have previously registered for. If in doubt, call or visit us.
For students using all other GI Bill Chapters:
Be sure to visit the Veterans Education Office as soon as you register for classes to ensure your monthly payments can be processed quickly and accurately. You must communicate with the Veterans Education Office IMMEDIATELY after registering for classes, each and every quarter.
IMPORTANT! All VA BENEFITS STUDENTS MUST NOTIFY THE VETERANS EDUCATION OFFICE IMMEDIATELY WHEN:
- You register for classes
- You add/drop classes
- You increase or decrease the number of credits for the quarter, including complete withdrawal from all classes
- You stop attending classes for any reason
- You change your program of study or degree goal
- You change your address, email or telephone number
- You receive any important or confusing correspoondence from the VA
- You have any other changes that you think may affect your VA status
Thank you again for your service to the country and for selecting Skagit Valley College to achieve your academic goals. We want you to succeed here and will do all we can to support you in your educational journey. Remember to stay in touch and please let us know how you are doing. You always have our ear in the Veterans Education Office and we will listen to your thoughts, concerns, sea stories, and suggestions for how we can better serve you who served in uniform.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill