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I'm new, what should I bring to the Veterans Resource Center?

Bring a copy of your Certification of Eligibility, DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) and/or, if applicable, Form 2384-1 (Notice of Basic Eligibility - NOBE). Also copies of your Initial Vonapp Applications, if you do not have your COE's yet.

View complete list of applicable forms needed

How do I know if I'm certified?

If you gave us an email address we could read on the Purple certification request form, you'll get an email simultaneously from that says something like this:

"An enrollment certification for the period beginning on 2/08/2016 and ending on 09/08/2016 for Credit Hours: 9, Distance Hours: 4, Rem/Def Hours:0, and Clock Hours: 0 has been submitted to the VA.  This was submitted by a certifying official from the SANTA ANA COLLEGE on 12/2/2015.  Your claim will be processed in the order it was received.  Please do not respond to this message." 

What if I don't get an email?

Call the VRC at (714) 564-6050.  Maybe your email address couldn't be read, or was typed incorrectly, or maybe the email was sent to your spam folder.

When will my benefits be effective?

Benefits are effective the first day of the term being certified and will remain effective until the end of the certified term. 

When will I get paid and for how much?

You will get paid depending on when you get certified and when the VA processes your payment.  The sooner you turn in your paperwork, the sooner it will get processed.  Once you file your initial application for education benefits and the VA establishes a file on your behalf, the subsequent processing usually takes 30-45 days.  Peak periods for certification request, such as the start of the semester may cause a longer processing time, so it will also depend on when you turn in the Certification Request Forms.  Assuming you turned in your paperwork in a timely manner, you should get your first payment on the first week of each month for the training you earned the previous month.  How much will depend on your rating (e.g. for Post 9/11 students, it can be anywhere from 40% to 100%) and how many days of training/school days there was the previous month.

Why haven't I been certified yet?

New and Continuing students must always turn in the Purple Certification Request Form after the student registers for approved classes.  Also, it will depend on when this form was turned in.  It could take up to 4 weeks to get a student certified during peak periods.  There may be other issues about your certification, so please check with the VRC to see if there are pending documents that may be causing delays on your certification (ex: Pending ed plans, transcripts, etc.)  It is important that the email and phone information are up to date in your VRC file in case a staff member contacts you with any issues regarding your certification.

My classes got dropped for non-payment.  Why did this happen when the VA's supposed to pay for my tuition and fees?

The VA sends payment to SAC 4-6 weeks after certification.  Every student at SAC/SCC must comply with the 3 day drop policy.  If these fees aren't paid, then classes will be dropped.  A few simple solutions would be to just pay it out of pocket and get a refund later, or file for a BOG Waiver or Financial Aid for that particular term for California residents.  If eligible for the BOG Waiver through the BOG Waiver application or the FAFSA, then classes won't be dropped if the Fee Waiver is applied in the system prior to registration. 

Where do I go for Academic Counseling at SAC?

At the Counseling Center in Building S opposite to Admissions and Records.  Since all of our counselors service the whole student population, it is advised you bring the hand out of "what your ed plan looks like" to your counseling appointment so they can create an educational plan specific to Veterans receiving VA benefits.

Check with the VRC if there are Counseling appointments available as well.
 *** Before meeting with a counselor, it is advised that students must: 1) complete Math & English Placement tests, and 2) have Official Academic Transcripts from all previously attended colleges in hand.  Make sure your counselor forwards official transcripts to Admissions for evaluation.  If opened by counselor, the transcripts remain official.   

How long will it take before I receive my monthly benefit?

Once you file your initial application for education benefits and the VA establishes a file on your behalf, subsequent processing usually takes 30 to 45 days. Peak periods, such as the start of the semester may cause a longer processing time.  It will also depend on when you turn in the Certification Request Form.  This initiates the certification of your courses at the VRC.  It is processed in dated order upon receipt.  Peak periods can take up to 4 weeks for the certifying official to submit the certification (1999b).

Why do I need to declare a goal? 

The Department of Veterans Affairs require the declaration of an educational objective.  An undecided major is accepted for Transfer programs, but only general education courses will be certified for payment.  Click here for approved programs at SAC.

Can I change my goal?

Yes.  You will need to inform the VRC of this change.  You will need to turn in a new educational plan matching the new major.  If the change is not effective until the next term, please wait to turn it in when you turn in the Purple form with the new educational plan for the next term when you're completely registered. 

I dropped or added a class this term.  Is there anything I need to do?

Yes.  Fill out the add/drop form at the VRC so your certification can be adjusted.  Failure to contact the VRC could lead to an overpayment or underpayment. 

I have been certified and still haven't received my G.I. Bill monies.  Who do I speak to?

Any concerns regarding payment should be directed to the Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-888-442-4551.  Normal receipt of monies is each following month, which means, if you attend classes in February, you should expect to receive monies in the first week of March.  Filling out your initial application for benefits the same time you turn in a certification request can cause delays on processing payment in the VA even if we've already certified you.  Also, you will need to consider when you turn in your certification request in the VRC.  If you turn it in late and it's submitted late, your payment may also be late. 

I received payments lower than what I'm expecting.  Who do I need to speak to?

You can check with a VRC staff on how many units you're certified in.  That would usually explain how many units worth you should get paid.  If the payments are still not matching up to your eligibility, you must call the VA at 1-888-442-4551 for an answer.  Payment questions can only be answered by the VA Educational Regional Office.

For Post 9/11 Bill students, why didn't I get my full BAH this month?

It could be due to various reasons.  1) Depending on the training pursued the previous month and when benefits are effective, you could only be eligible for a week or two for that particular payment.  Check the effective dates of your certification; 2) Your eligibility could be less than 100%.  Check your Certificate of Eligibility for your percentage.  Eligibility for BAH under the Post 9/11 bill could range from 40% to 100%;  3) Check the units certified.  This could affect your BAH eligibility;  4) Check the period your classes are in session.  Depending on when classes begin and end, your eligibility will be affected if one or more classes you're taking are short-term classes that does not take place during a regular full semester.  5) If you didn't receive any BAH at all, you must be certified in more than 50% to be eligible for any BAH.

Do I have to pay taxes on my G.I Bill?  Do I wait for a 1098 form?

No.  All VA benefits are non-taxable.  This includes VA Educational Workstudy monies earned. 

Why aren't some of the courses I'm registered in not certified, but they're in my educational plan?

For specific reasons, please see a VRC staff on why they were not certified.  Another reason may be found in the General Information Sheet under Military Credit for DD-214 holders, or the student may have already completed a specific area with another course. 

Why can't I pursue two majors or two degrees?

The RSCCD catalog does not offer dual degrees although you can pursue dual degrees side by side.  Since it is not specifically on the RSCCD catalog, the VA will not approve 2 majors even for transfer programs for payment purposes.  You can pursue two goals, but the Certifying Official at SAC will only certify courses for one goal that you declare on your Purple Form and Educational plan.  You can always change programs for each term, but you can only take courses applicable for only one goal at a time.  VRAP students are an exception.  Please see the VRC staff for further clarification.

What do I do if I owe the VA money?

Go to: for more information.

When do I renew the BOG Waiver or the FAFSA?

BOG Waivers expire at the end of each Spring term for each academic year.  So you will need to renew them every summer.  Financial Aid is good from Fall through Summer.  Financial Aid can be renewed as early as January 1st for the upcoming Fall term.

What do I do if I fail a class?

You can retake it again for a better grade.  You won't have to pay the VA back if you retake it.  You can keep retaking the class as many times as the district will allow you to retake it.  Just remember that you need to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress to continue getting certified.  This means you must maintain a 2.0 grade point average and complete 50% of the courses you attempt.


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