Q&A for Military and Veteran students.
What steps do I take to use my Education Benefits at The University of Providence?
In order to use the GI Bill students must:
- Have an eligibility determination from the VA.
- Be enrolled in classes.
- Complete the university’s VA Enrollment Certification form.
To receive an eligibility determination (Certificate of Eligibility) from the VA, the student must complete an online application. Students may also call 1-888-442-4551 for assistance. You may also contact the UP VA School Certifying Official at 406-791-5202.
In making its determination, the VA will review the veteran’s military record for dates of duty and the nature of the discharge. The veteran can expect to receive a Certificate of Eligibility in 6-8 weeks; processing is delayed during peak volume times.
How do I access the Web Automated Verification of Enrollment system (WAVE)?
To verify enrollment through a WAVE account, please visit the GI Bill website, at or call the Voice Response telephone line at 1-877-VA-ECERT (1-877-823-2378). First time users should access and read the WAVE User Guide, found on the website listed above. Students CANNOT verify until the last day of the month. (When prompted to provide a VA claim number, use the student’s Social Security Number).
How can I find out more information about my payment status?
Payments are made after the month is over. Generally, direct deposits should be in a student’s bank account on the first day of the following month.
If students are using Chapter 30, 1606, or 1607, there is a payment history on his or her WAVE account. It will also specify how many months of eligibility remain. Students must certify the enrollment each month thru the WAVE process; payments will be issued 4-7 days after WAVE is completed.
If students are using Chapter 33, access eBenefits online. A Premium account is required; there is no charge for a premium account.
Contact the VA Customer Service Hotline at 1-800-827-1000. Alternatively, students may submit a secure email question through the RightNowWeb portal. NOTE: It is not unusual for the first payment of the term to be delayed; often the VA is behind in processing the term claims. Payments will be retroactive to the first day of the term.
What classes can I take?
The VA rules require a student be degree seeking. The academic advisor can help with making sure students are taking courses that are required to complete the program they have chosen.
The VA will not pay to repeat any courses that students completed successfully (letter grades of A, B, C or D) UNLESS the courses require a specific minimum grade.
How does the VA know that I am enrolled in school?
The University of Providence VA School Certifying Official (SCO) is located in the Financial Aid Office in Argo Central. The SCO reports enrollment information to the VA electronically. The VA will send a letter to the student after processing the claim each semester. The letter will specify the time period and amount of benefits for the term. It will also notify the student how many months of eligibility remain AFTER the current term.
What steps do I need to take in order for UP to certify me for the semester?
- Bring in the most recent copy of a student’s Certificate of Eligibility that has been received from the VA (one will be generated after each enrollment certification and mailed to the student).
- Complete and return a VA Enrollment Certification form and your print out from DegreeWorks.
What happens if my enrollment changes during the term?
The SCO monitors enrollment throughout the term. It is important to keep in contact with the SCO; adding classes, dropping classes or withdrawing from the term need to be reported to the VA.
Generally, decreasing enrollment or withdrawing from school will result in an overpayment from the VA and will require the student to repay money received. The SCO can advise the student of the process with the VA.
Can I receive federal financial aid even though I receive VA benefits?
Federal Financial Aid is based on prior-prior year’s income, household size and enrollment status. It is not affected by the student receiving veteran’s education benefits.
It is suggested that all students apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA process. Students always have the opportunity to decline federal aid that has been offered.
Does the amount of credits I enroll in affect my benefit amount?
Yes, the enrollment status affects the benefit amount.
For Chapter 30, 35, 31, 1606 and 1607 the VA pays at a training time rate.
Full Time 12 credits 100% of monthly benefit
¾ Time 9-11 credits 75% of monthly benefit
½ Time 6-8 credits 50% of monthly benefit
Students enrolled in less than 6 credits receive a total benefit equal to the amount of tuition and fees for the term.
For Chapter 33, the housing benefit is based on the rate of pursuit.
12 Credits 100% of monthly benefit
11 Credits 91.66% of monthly benefit
10 Credits 83.33% of monthly benefit
9 Credits 75 % of monthly benefit
8 Credits 66.66% of monthly benefit
7 Credits 58.33% of monthly benefit
0-6 Credits No Housing Payment
Students need to keep in mind the payment tier that the VA has assigned them. Graduate students enrolled in at least 6 credits per semester are considered full time.
There are several programs that fall under Education Benefits for Military and Veteran students such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill (ch 33), Montgomery GI Bill (ch 30), Survivor’s and Dependent’s Assistance (ch 35), Guard/Reserve Benefits (ch 1606) and Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (ch 31).
Yellow Ribbon Program
The Post-9/11 GI Bill
Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Department of Veterans Affairs will pay a private institution a maximum amount of tuition reimbursement for the academic year for the eligible student’s tuition and fees. The Yellow Ribbon program allows institutions of higher learning in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs to help fund tuition and fee expenses that go beyond the annual cap. Participating schools can then contribute up to 50 percent of the remaining tuition and fee expenses, and the Department of Veterans Affairs will match that amount. This means that under the post 9/11 GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program, the student’s entire tuition and fees will be paid for at the University of Providence. The Department of Veterans Affairs will also pay a monthly housing allowance and a book stipend of up to $1,000 per year!
Only veterans or their designated transferees using the Post-9/11 GI Bill who are entitled to the maximum benefit rate of 100 percent (based on service requirements) may receive Yellow Ribbon Benefits. Spouses of Active Duty members are not eligible for the monthly housing allowance.
Eligibility criteria for the Post-9-11 GI Bill can be found at the GI Bill website.
Transfer of Post-9-11 GI-Bill Benefits to Dependents (TEB)
Service members may transfer all or some of their unused benefits to their spouse or dependent children. The request to transfer must be completed while the service member is still serving on active duty. For specific questions on eligibility for TEB or how to apply, click here, or call the service career counselor or personnel center. VA does not determine eligibility for TEB.
The Post 9/11 GI Bill pays tuition and fees directly to the school on the eligible students’ behalf. The housing allowance and book stipend are paid directly to the student based on their rate of pursuit (i.e. full time, half time).
Accurate enrollment information must be submitted to the Department of Veterans Affairs so that benefit payments are calculated correctly. It is the students’ responsibility to notify the School Certifying Official of any changes to their enrollment within each semester.
Please be aware that the VA portion of tuition payment will not appear on the statement of account until the University of Providence receives actual payment from the VA. To ensure prompt payment, remember to complete the VA Enrollment Certification Request Form prior to each semester. Once the VA Enrollment Certification Request Form is processed, the University of Providence’s Student Account’s Office will recognize that VA tuition payment will be expected; therefore, students will not be required to pay the tuition and fee expenses up front.
The Yellow Ribbon Program is an agreement between institutions of higher learning and the Department of Veterans Affairs that cover the gap between what the Post-9-11 GI Bill will pay a private institution and what the actual cost of tuition and fees are.
Paralegal Programs for Military Members
The University of Providence has partnered with the U.S. Army and Air Force to provide bachelor’s level paralegal education to their enlisted personnel at a special tuition rate. These programs are approved by the American Bar Association in an online format that is accessible and flexible. They prepare Army and Air Force paralegals for more challenging paralegal positions or for law school. Although this is a great option, UP also has many other programs to explore!
Veteran Support Center Information
Whether it’s questions about DVA benefits, help figuring out which classes to take or just a place to study or catch up with friends, the Veteran Support Center is open to all veterans. The Center is equipped with:
- Tables for group or independent study
- Lounge area, TV and Xbox
- Coffee maker, refrigerator and microwave
- Printing services
The Veteran Support Center is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Monday – Thursday) and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Friday) in Room 106A in Sullivan Hall.
At UP, we understand that veteran students are not the same as traditional students coming out of high school, which is why we have many programs and resources to help navigate the system and succeed on campus.
Veteran Mentor Program
This student-initiated program connects incoming veteran students with a peer mentor who can help them successfully navigate campus.
Department of Veterans Affairs Education Benefits Program
The Financial Aid VA School Certifying Official is familiar with all of the state and federal benefits programs and can help students select the right program, how apply and make sure students are getting the most out of their benefits program.
- Applying for Benefits
- Benefits Programs
- Supplemental DVA Education Benefits
UP has a proud history of accommodating persons with disabilities, and is committed to ensuring equal educational access and full participation in all of the university’s programs, services and events. Disability services are available through our Center for Academic Excellence- TRiO program located in the Library.
The Veteran Support Center is a dedicated space in Sullivan Hall Building, with veteran work-study students to help veterans with just about anything.
Academic Options & Support
Veteran students attend a separate orientation session that helps them acclimate to campus and get to know all of the resources and programs that are available.
Veteran students are provided priority registration to help ensure they get the classes they need.
The Veteran Support Center can help coordinate supplemental academic support so you can get the help you need.
Whether you are completing your degree or just beginning, we will assist you as you are making the transition from your military experience, into college life, and onto the civilian workforce.
Montana Air National Guard 406-727-4650
Army National Guard Reserve Center 406-453-3155
Army National Guard Recruiting Office 406-771-1030
Air National Guard Recruiting Office 800-864-6264
Additional Reference Website Links and Information
Deanna Koepke, Ph.D.
Dr. Deanna Koepke came to the university in 2013 after teaching at Park University, Great Falls College MSU, and Ashford University. In addition to sociology, her training includes graduate work in information systems and undergraduate work in communications and Spanish. The multi-talented Dr. Koepke teaches a variety of courses at UP, including Introduction to Sociology, Poverty and Inequality, Research Methods and Applied Statistics, and the often-dreaded Public Speaking.
She serves on the editorial board for the journal Race, Gender & Class and is a member of the University Social Justice Committee. She is a Co-Commander for Malmstrom AFB as a part of the Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee. Her research interests include newspaper depictions of fatal interactions between unarmed people of color and law enforcement officers, continuing work on the intersection of media, race, and inequality in the U.S. that began with her dissertation.
Her professional experience includes serving as the site director for Troy University’s Malmstrom AFB location, director of business office services for the University of Providence, and even the supervisor of the loan collections department for First Interstate Bank in Missoula and Great Falls.
In her spare time, she likes to travel and watch football. Her college team is the Grizzlies (her alma mater) and the Seattle Seahawks are always a favorite in the NFL. Having recently spent time in Italy and France and Greece, she can’t wait to explore more of Europe.
BA, University of Montana
MSIS, University of Providence
MA, Fielding Graduate University
PhD, Fielding Graduate University
“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”
-Dom Helder Camara, 20th c. archbishop in Brazil, credited as the father of liberation theology
Hometown: Tampa, FL
College: Great Falls College MSU and University of Providence
Major: Business Administration
Hobbies: Photography, baking, remodeling my home, traveling to Florida and Michigan, and hanging out with my husband and fur babies
What advice do you have for potential students? Pay attention in class! It’s easy to get distracted by your phone or laptop, but it is so important to stay engaged during class time. Your professors have so much wisdom and knowledge to bestow upon you! Not only will you get good grades, but you’ll likely learn stuff you never imagined you’d learn!
What are some of your favorite things to do in Great Falls? I enjoy trying out different coffee shops and planning adventures to travel places across Montana
Mental Health Counseling/Academic Success Center