How to Start Using VA Education Benefits at HU

STEP 1: Securing Your Benefits from the Federal VA

The first step is to visit the VA website and apply for the appropriate benefit. Sending in a hard copy application by postal mail will significantly delay this process. You can also seek help in this process by calling the VA Education Helpline at 888-442-4551.

Students should not indicate Howard University as their Institution of Higher Learning (IHL) unless they have been accepted for admission and confirmed their attendance. Once they have applied for benefits and been approved, students will receive what is called a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Students can also go to the VA website and see how many months of benefits they have used and how many remain. The newest and fastest way to get your VA Benefits questions answered is by using the Ask VA tool online.

  • How to Apply For Transferred Chapter 33 Benefits
    • Click "Find your education benefits form"
    • "Are you applying for a benefit or updating your program or place of training?" Answer: "Applying for a new benefit"
    • "Are you a Veteran or service member claiming a benefit based on your own service?" Answer: "No"
    • "Is your sponsor deceased, 100% permanently disabled, MIA, or a POW?" Answer: "No"
    • "Has your sponsor transferred their benefits to you?" Answer: "Yes"
    • Click "Apply now"
  • How to Apply for Chapter 35 Benefits
    • Click "Find your education benefits form"
    • "Are you applying for a benefit or updating your program or place of training?" Answer: "Applying for a new benefit"
    • "Are you a Veteran or service member claiming a benefit based on your own service?" Answer: "No"
    • "Is your sponsor deceased, 100% permanently disabled, MIA, or a POW?" Answer: "Yes"
    • Click "Apply now"

STEP 2: Using Your VA Benefits at Howard University

Each academic term that you choose to use your benefits, you must complete a Certification Request here on our website in the "Request to Use Your VA Education Benefits or Scholarship at HU" section below. The survey will ask you several questions to establish your identity, provide a place to upload your digital (PDF, DOCX, JPG, PNG) COE, and request enrollment information.

Helpful HintPlease do not bring hard copies of your COE or other documents to our office as we are now establishing fully digital files for students.

Students can request to be certified benefits as early as 60 days before the beginning of a term. All current OMVS students will be notified by email when the survey for the next semester is open for certification requests. Students must be registered for classes in a current or upcoming term before requesting to use their benefits as enrollment must be verified to the federal VA using the online VA Enrollment Manager system for certification. This is the digital process for VA Forms 22-1999. Paper forms are going to be phased out by the federal VA.

Helpful Hint: Please have your VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE), Bison ID #, and class schedule available when you complete your Certification Request!

STEP 3: Certification Process for Students at Howard University

Howard University follows a two-step certification process (mandated by law). 

  1. Initial enrollment for federal VA education benefits establishes eligibility for monthly stipends (and book stipends for 100% Chapter 33 students) paid out by the federal VA.
    1. Monthly stipend payments do not begin until the month AFTER school starts.
    2. All questions concerning monthly and/or book stipends should be directed to the federal VA.
  2. After the add/drop date for main campus, students' enrollment will be amended to confirm their registered hours and to enter their tuition and fees (for Chapter 31 and 33 students).
    1. Payment from the federal VA is not received immediately and must follow a specific process through VA approval, Federal Treasury approval, Howard Treasury receipt, Howard Bursar posting and refund processing. 

VA Certification Notes:

  • Students will be certified in the order requests are received. Students will receive a system-generated email from the federal VA once they are certified.
  • We recommend that students enroll in classes and request to be certified as early as possible after the survey is released for the upcoming term to establish their monthly stipend for the next term.
  • Newly admitted students must wait until orientation or a scheduled appointment with their program to be allowed to register.
  • Changes in enrollment for students must be reported to the VA within 30 days. Please self-report changes using the Updates Survey for the current term in the "Request to Use Your VA Education Benefits or Scholarship at HU" section below as soon as they occur to avoid debt to the VA and/or Howard University. However, all students will be monitored throughout the semester by OMVS. 
  • All students' final registered hours, final grades, and graduation status will be verified again at the end of the semester. Changes in enrollment (including dropping below full-time, 'W' grades, and total withdrawal) and scholarships that were not reported may result in debt to the VA and/or Howard University.
  • All stipends and Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) payments are sent directly to the bank account (direct deposit is recommended) or address (mailed payments may have additional delays) on file with the federal VA. You can update your direct deposit with the VA online or by calling (800) 827-1000.
    • To continue receiving monthly payments:
      • Chapter 30, 1606, and 1607 must report enrollment via WAVE.
        • ***We STRONGLY encourage that students self-report to the VA and do not allow family members to complete this requirement to avoid processing errors.
  • Chapter 33 Need-to-Know:
    • Chapter 33 students will receive their book stipend before their monthly stipend if they request to be certified before the term starts.
    • Chapter 33 students must be enrolled in at least one hybrid or on-campus course to receive a full monthly stipend. Otherwise, they will only receive half the national average.
    • Chapter 33 students must confirm their enrollment using monthly verification directly to the federal VA to continue receiving their monthly stipend.
      • ***We STRONGLY encourage that students self-report to the VA and do not allow family members to complete this requirement to avoid processing errors.
  • Chapter 31 Need-to-Know:
    • Chapter 31 students will have access to their books & supplies funds directly at the Howard Barnes and Noble Bookstore early if their VA counselor sent approval directly to the bookstore before the semester starts.
    • Chapter 31 students must discuss their program with their VA VRE counselor to receive a full monthly stipend. Otherwise, they will only receive half the national average.

STEP 4: Reconciliation of Student Accounts with VA Education Benefits

Per federal law, Chapter 31 and 33 students cannot be penalized for the delay in tuition and fee payment from the VA. Please refer to our "VA Legislative Policies" section. After tuition and fees are paid to the University by the VA for Chapter 31 and 33 students, we will make sure that payments match what is expected. For Chapter 33 students, there is a cap on the amount of tuition and fees the VA will cover per academic year (Fall to Summer) at Howard because we are a private institution. Yellow Ribbon is now available to all eligible Chapter 33 beneficiaries at the 100% benefit level (with other additional eligibility), however there is still a gap in funding due to an increase in tuition and fees for the 2022-2023 academic year. All eligible Yellow Ribbon beneficiaries will automatically be enrolled by OMVS once a request to be certified is submitted.

All scholarships that apply to only tuition and fees must be reported to the VA no matter when they are received by Howard. The amount billed to the VA may be adjusted at any time after these scholarships are discovered. Please self-report changes using the Updates Survey for the current term in the "Request to Use Your VA Education Benefits or Scholarship at HU" section below as soon as they occur to avoid debt to the VA and/or Howard University.

Chapter 1606 and 35 students do not receive tuition and fees payments from the VA and are responsible for meeting all posted University deadlines for payment on their student account.

All students will be closely monitored, and changes in enrollment are required to be reported to the VA within 30 days. Please self-report changes using the Updates Survey for the current term in the "Request to Use Your VA Education Benefits or Scholarship at HU" section below as soon as they occur to avoid debt to the VA and/or Howard University.