Forever GI Bill

Learn how the Forever GI Bill may impact you at UMUC starting in fall 2018.

This page was last updated on December 7, 2018. Please check back as we continue to update this page with the latest news.

 

University of Maryland University College would like to share the latest updates for recipients of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits. The VA recently notified schools that the implementation of the information technology updates to support sections 107 and 501 of the Colmery Act, which change calculation methods for the housing allowance payments, is being "reset" in order to ensure a proper rollout by December 1, 2019, in time to process enrollments by spring of 2020. According to the VA's recent press release dated November 28, 2018, students may expect the following impacts to the housing allowance payment rates:

  • Until the rollout, the VA will pay monthly housing allowance rates for the Post-9/11 GI Bill at the current academic year uncapped Department of Defense (DoD) Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) rates.
  • For the current academic year (2018-2019), the VA will pay housing allowances based on the location of a school’s main campus, rather than the physical location of the student.

Please visit the VA's website to read the press release in detail.

If you have any questions for the VA, you may contact their Education Call Center at 888-442-4551, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. eastern time, or submit a written inquiry online. At UMUC, advisors are available at 800-888-8682 to assist with planning and enrolling into your next courses.

The following information was posted on October 30, 2018. Please check back as we continue to update this page with the latest news.

 

University of Maryland University College would like to share the latest updates for recipients of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits. The VA recently notified schools that the VA continues to experience a high number of pending claims, which is causing continuing processing delays for some Forever GI Bill students. The VA has stated that it is doing everything it can to reduce the pending workload, address the oldest claims, and continue to test the housing payment IT modifications required for the Colmery Act. As of October 24, 2018, the VA's pending claims continues to decrease and it is focused on processing the oldest claims first.

The VA has stated that as it receives reports of hardship situations, it will address such situations as soon as possible.

If you have a specific hardship case, you can call contact the general Education Call Center at 888-442-4551 or submit an inquiry online.

Examples of a financial hardship due to a delay in Forever GI Bill payments include, but are not limited to

  • A beneficiary in danger of losing housing;
  • A beneficiary in danger of having utilities turned off; or
  • A beneficiary in danger of receiving collection notices from creditors.

As you wait for the VA to process your claim for payment, we would like to provide the following links containing additional resources that may help alleviate financial burdens:

The White House also provides a hotline for veterans with severe situations that need urgent support. You may call the White House VA Hotline at 855-948-2311.

The following information was posted on August 17, 2018. Please check back as we continue to update this page with the latest news.

 

University of Maryland University College would like to share the latest updates regarding the enrollment certification process for recipients of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits. Earlier this year, owing to the magnitude of the changes stemming from the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, also called the "Forever GI Bill," the VA advised all schools to temporarily suspend certification of enrollments for courses that begin on or after August 1, 2018, until the VA made necessary updates to their certification processing system. At that time, the VA advised schools that updates to their certification processing system could be completed by mid-July.

As of this communication, the VA still has not made the necessary updates to their certification processing system. The VA now anticipates fielding the needed updates during the week of August 27, 2018, and has advised schools to begin processing ALL enrollment certifications for courses beginning on or after August 1, 2018. Accordingly, UMUC has begun processing pending certifications. Students should be aware that if an enrollment certification requires an amendment after being processed based on the changes codified in the "Forever GI Bill" legislation, UMUC will be required to submit an amended certification to the VA once the VA makes the necessary updates to their certification processing system.

As a reminder, recipients of VA education benefits may experience changes impacting housing allowance rates and delayed payment of benefits. More details can be found at the VA.

  • Online: Visit the VA Forever GI Bill® page.
  • By phone: Contact the VA Education Call Center at 888-442-4551, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. eastern time.

If you have questions regarding your enrollment certification or would like assistance with course planning for the fall 2018 term, please contact us via e-mail or call 800-888-8682 to speak with a UMUC representative. We will provide updates for the spring 2019 term as details become available based on updates from the VA.

The following information was posted on August 2, 2018. Please check back as we continue to update this page with the latest news.

University of Maryland University College would like to share the latest updates regarding the enrollment certification process for recipients of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits. Earlier this year, owing to the magnitude of the changes stemming from the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, also called the "Forever GI Bill," the VA advised all schools to temporarily suspend certification of enrollments for courses that begin on or after August 1, 2018, until the VA made necessary updates to their certification processing system.

The VA recently notified all schools that enrollments that meet a specified set of criteria may be certified prior to the update of their certification system. Currently, all UMUC enrollments are certified within 10 business days of the request, EXCEPT those that include hybrid courses at the following locations:

  • All locations in Maryland
  • Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, District of Columbia
  • Eglin Air Force Base, Florida
  • Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Florida
  • Naval Station Mayport, Florida
  • Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Virginia
  • U.S. Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Hawaii

Once the VA notifies all schools that their certification system has been updated, we will resume certification of all enrollments, including those at the above locations. You may continue to enroll in courses and request certification of those enrollments for VA education benefits with the assurance that we will process your request as soon as VA allows. If you receive the type of education benefits that pay UMUC directly for tuition and fees, such as Post-9/11 (Chapter 33) or Vocational Rehabilitation (Chapter 31), you will not be subject to disenrollment for non-payment that is due to delayed processing on the part of the VA.

As a reminder, recipients of VA education benefits may experience changes impacting housing allowance rates and delayed payment of benefits. More details can be found at the VA.

  • Online: Visit the VA Forever GI Bill® page.
  • By phone: Contact the VA Education Call Center at 888-442-4551, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. eastern time.

If you have questions regarding your enrollment certification or would like assistance with course planning for the fall 2018 term, please contact us via e-mail or call 800-888-8682 to speak with a UMUC representative. We will provide updates for the spring 2019 term as details become available based on updates from the VA.

The following information was posted on May 8, 2018. Please check back as we continue to update this page with the latest news.

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, known as the Forever GI Bill, affects several parts of GI Bill programs. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has new certification requirements for all schools, and at University of Maryland University College, we seek to advise all recipients of VA education benefits of the changes that may impact housing allowance rates and estimated timing of benefit payments.

Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) Monthly Housing Allowance

Currently, the Monthly Housing Allowance for students taking face-to-face and hybrid courses is required to be calculated based on the location of the institution where the student was enrolled. The Monthly Housing Allowance for online courses is required to be calculated based on the rate for Exclusively Online Training.

The following is effective for all courses beginning on or after August 1, 2018:

  • Stateside hybrid courses: The Monthly Housing Allowance will be calculated based on the ZIP Code of the campus where the student physically attends the majority of courses. Depending on where you take courses, your Monthly Housing Allowance may change.
  • UMUC Europe and UMUC Asia on-site classes: The Monthly Housing Allowance will be calculated based on the Foreign School rate. Depending on where you take courses, your Monthly Housing Allowance may change.
  • Online courses: The Monthly Housing Allowance will continue to be calculated using the rate for Exclusively Online Training, and the method for calculating your Monthly Housing Allowance will not be impacted.

The payment rates for each academic year can be found on the VA website.

Processing Delays

Due to the magnitude of the changes associated with the Forever GI Bill, the VA has informed all schools that they will be unable to process certification of benefits for the fall 2018 term until sometime in early August 2018. Students expecting to receive payments of their Monthly Housing Allowance are expected to experience processing delays of what is currently estimated to be 8 to 12 weeks.

You can seek additional details from the VA by visiting their website or by calling the VA Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551 (Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Central Standard Time).

UMUC will continue monitor updates from the VA and post them to this page. Please also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to stay updated on the latest news regarding the Forever GI Bill.

FAQs: Forever GI Bill®

What is the Forever GI Bill and where can I get more information about it? +

The Forever GI Bill is a new law passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2017 that brings several changes to VA education benefits. The intent is to make more benefits available and expand eligibility, though in some cases, some students may see less benefits.

An advocacy group, Student Veterans of America published an easy-to-read summary of the Forever GI Bill®.

The VA also publishes information on their website and Facebook and Twitter accounts.

What new benefits am I eligible for under the Forever GI Bill? +

Read the Student Veterans of America summary of the Forever GI Bill®, visit the VA website, or call the VA directly at 1-888-442-4551 (Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Central Standard Time) to understand the new benefits you may be eligible for under the Forever GI Bill.

When do Forever GI Bill changes take effect? +

Changes to the Monthly Housing Allowance calculation method go into effect for courses that begin on or after August 1, 2018. Other changes, such as the removal of the delimiting date for benefits, went into effect immediately upon signing the bill. Additional changes will be implemented over the next several years. Read the Student Veterans of America summary of the Forever GI Bill® for more details.

I don't like these Forever GI Bill changes. How can I provide feedback? +

These changes are to conform to regulations and requirements set by the VA as a result of the new Forever GI Bill law. If you would like to voice your feedback, please feel free to contact the VA via their website and Facebook and Twitter accounts.

I requested certification and it still has not been processed. What is going on? +

The VA has implemented new certification procedures that require UMUC to defer certifications for hybrid/on-site courses until early August 2018. Online-only certifications may continue to be submitted within 10 to 15 business days. Once VA announces that certifications for hybrid/on-site enrollments may resume, we will process and submit the certification at that time.

What is the amount of the Post-9/11 Monthly Housing Allowance starting with fall 2018 courses? +

For those taking at least one hybrid/on-site course in the United States:

For an estimate of your Monthly Housing Allowance for courses beginning on or after August 1, 2018, you can take the following steps:

  • Step 1: Visit the Department of Defense Basic Allowance of Housing Calculator.
  • Step 2: Under the field, "DUTY ZIP CODE", enter the 5-digit ZIP Code of the classroom location.
  • Step 3: In the dropdown menu for "PAY GRADE," select "E5."
  • Step 4: Click on the "CALCULATE" button. If a privacy error shows up, click on the word "ADVANCED" and then click on the link to “Proceed to www.defensetravel.dod.mil (unsafe)."
  • Step 5: The dollar amount under the "E5 with DEPENDENTS" is the monthly Basic Allowance of Housing amount, which may be interpreted as the estimated value of the Monthly Housing Allowance.

Please be advised that while the Monthly Housing Allowance (calculated by the VA) and the Basic Allowance of Housing (calculated by the U.S. Department of Defense) are similar, they are not equivalent. The dollar amount shown on the Department of Defense website is for estimation purposes only. Actual payment amounts may vary. The VA does not publish a Monthly Housing Allowance calculator at this time.

For those taking online courses only:

The Monthly Housing Allowance for online-only enrollment is the same as prior to fall 2018, which is half of the national average of Monthly Housing Allowance. The current MHA rate for August 1, 2018–July 31, 2019 is approximately $825.00. Please check the VA payment rates on their website.