Veterans

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Getting Started

Veterans and Veterans’ dependents (spouse, child, or court appointed ward) may be eligible for Educational Benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). To find out more and apply for benefits visit www.va.gov/education.  If the veteran’s dependent is eligible for VA Educational Benefit Chapter 35, they may also be eligible for the South Carolina Free Tuition for Certain Veteran’s Children tuition waiver, more information can be found at www.scdva.sc.gov/education.

Francis Marion University’s VA School Certifying Official (SCO) is located in the Office of the Registrar in the Stokes Administration Building and can be reached at 843-661-1174. The SCO is the direct point of contact for veterans and their dependents.

It is the responsibility of the student to contact the SCO to schedule an on-boarding meeting when starting VA Educational Benefits at FMU. At this meeting the student will need to bring the official Certificate of Eligibility that they received from the Department of Veterans Affairs which indicates the type of benefit and its length of usage. During this meeting the SCO will counsel the student on how VA Educational Benefits work, advise the student on courses to take, and discuss additional funding sources if needed.

Are you transferring in to Francis Marion University?  If so a Request for Change of Program or Place of Training must be completed For Veterans or service member, complete the VA Form 22-1995 online at https://www.va.gov/education/apply-for-education-benefits/application/1995/introduction.  For dependents of a Veteran or service member, complete the VA Form 22-5495 online at https://www.va.gov/education/apply-for-education-benefits/application/5495/introduction.

In order to receive funds from their VA Educational Benefits students will be required to fill out and submit a Request for Certification of Educational Benefits form each academic term in which the student would like to receive funds. The SCO will provide a limited number of reminders, but, ultimately, it is the responsibility of the student to request certification. Upon receipt of the Request for Certification of Educational Benefits form the SCO will email the student a confirmation receipt of the request and detail when the student can expect the request to be fulfilled.

ALL students receiving VA Educational Benefits are responsible for notifying the SCO of ANY changes to their schedules as this could affect their funds and cause student debts.

The School Certifying Official (SCO) for Francis Marion University is the point of contact for VA Beneficiaries and their dependents. The SCO is responsible for learning all of the basics needed to guide their students to academic success including academic advising, career advising and planning, financial aid, referrals, and more.  The SCO is required to maintain a subject expert level of expertise on VA Benefits and stay up to date with changes from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Other responsibilities of the SCO include updating students on changes from the Department of Veterans Affairs, accurate submitting hours to the VA in a timely manner to ensure proper payment of benefits, refer students as needed to receive additional aid or assistance, maintain accurate records, submit to compliance surveys and maintain compliance with the appropriate governmental departments.

Chapter 30 Montgomery GI Bill® Active Duty (MGIB-AD)

If you’ve served at least 2 years on active duty, you may qualify for the MGIB-AD program. You may be eligible for education benefits through this program if you were honorably discharged and you meet the requirements of one of the categories below.

Category I
All of these are true. You:

  • Have a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit, and
  • Entered active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985, and
  • Had your military pay reduced by $100 a month for the first 12 months of
    service

And at least one of these is true. You served continuously (without a break) for:

  • 3 years, or
  • 2 years if that was your agreement when you enlisted, or
  • 4 years if you entered the Selected Reserve within a year of leaving active
    duty (called the 2 by 4 program)

Category II
All of these are true. You:

  • Have a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit, and
  • Entered active duty before January 1, 1977 (or before January 2, 1978, under a delayed enlistment program contracted before January 1, 1977), and
  • Served at least 1 day between October 19, 1984, and June 30, 1985, and stayed on active duty through June 30, 1988 (or through June 30, 1987, if you entered the Selected Reserve within 1 year of leaving active duty and served 4 years), and
  • Had at least 1 day of entitlement left under the Vietnam Era GI Bill (Chapter 34) as of December 31, 1989.

Category III
All of these are true. You:

  • Have a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit, and
  • Don’t qualify for MGIB under categories I or II, and
  • Had your military pay reduced by $1,200 before separation

And one of these is true. You:

  • Were on active duty on September 30, 1990, and involuntarily separated (not by your choice) after February 2, 1991, or
  • Involuntarily separated on or after November 30, 1993, or
  • Chose to voluntarily separate under either the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) program or the Special Separation Benefit (SSB) program

Category IV
Both of these are true. You:

  • Have a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit, and
  • Had military pay reduced by $100 a month for 12 months or made a $1,200 lump-sum contribution (meaning you paid it all at once)

And one of these is true. You:

  • Were on active duty on October 9, 1996, had money left in a VEAP account on that date, and chose MGIB before October 9, 1997, or
  • Entered full-time National Guard duty under title 32, USC, between July 1, 1985, and November 28, 1989, and chose MGIB between October 9, 1996, and July 9, 1997.

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, please visit:
https://www.va.gov/education/about-gi-bill-benefits/montgomery-active-duty/.

Chapter 31-Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E)

If you have a service-connected disability that limits your ability to work or prevents you from working, Veteran Readiness and Employment (formerly called Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment) can help. This program—also known as Chapter 31 or VR&E—helps you explore employment options and address training needs.

You may be eligible for VR&E benefits and services if you’re a Veteran, and you meet all of the requirements listed below.

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, please visit:
https://www.va.gov/careers-employment/vocational-rehabilitation/eligibility/.

** Recipients of Chapter 31 will not have a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) will submit a current Purchase Oder (PO) through the Tungsten invoicing system. The PO is the proof the student is eligible for the benefit so the School Certifying Official can certify the enrollment.

Chapter 33-Post 9/11 GI Bill®

If you’ve served on active duty after September 10, 2001, you may qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33).

You may be eligible for education benefits if you meet at least one of the requirements listed below:

  • Served at least 90 days on active duty (either all at once or with breaks in service) on or after September 11, 2001, or
  • Received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service, or
  • Served for at least 30 continuous days (all at once, without a break in service) on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged with a service-connected disability, or
  • Are a dependent child using benefits transferred by a qualifying Veteran or
    service member.

If you’re a member of the Reserves who lost education benefits when the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) ended in November 2015, you may qualify to receive restored benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit the website:
https://www.va.gov/education/about-gi-bill-benefits/post-9-11/.

Chapter 35-Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA)

  • If you’re the child or spouse of a Veteran or service member you may be able to get help paying for school through the DEA program—also called Chapter 35 benefit.One of the descriptions listed below must be true. The Veteran or service member:
    • Is permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability, or
    • Died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability, or
    • Is missing in action or was captured in the line of duty by a hostile force, or
    • Was forcibly detained (held) or interned in the line of duty by a foreign entity, or
    • Is in the hospital or getting outpatient treatment for a service-connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability (effective December 23, 2006)

    For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit the website: https://www.va.gov/education/survivor-dependent-benefits/dependents-education-assistance/.

Chapter 1606-Montgomery GI Bill® Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)

The Montgomery GI Bill®

Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) program offers up to 36 months of education and training benefits. If you’re a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, or Air National Guard, you may be eligible for this benefit. Find out if you qualify.

Am I eligible for education benefits under the MGIB-SR program?

You may be eligible for education benefits under this program if you meet the requirements listed below.

One of these must be true. You:

  • Have a 6-year service obligation (you agreed to serve 6 years) in the Selected Reserve, or
  • Are an officer in the Selected Reserve and you agreed to serve 6 years in addition to your initial service obligation (Note: Your obligation must have started after June 30, 1985, or for some types of training after September 30, 1990.)

And all of these must also be true. You:

  • Complete your initial active duty for training (IADT), and
  • Get a high school diploma or certificate of equal value, like a High School Equivalency Diploma or GED, before finishing IADT (Note: You can’t use 12 hours toward a college degree to meet this requirement), and
  • Stay in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit (Note: You’ll still be eligible if you’re discharged from Selected Reserve service due to a disability that was not caused by misconduct)

Must verify your school enrollment each month on WAVE (https://www.gibill.va.gov/wave/index.do) to receive the benefit.

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit the website:
https://www.va.gov/education/about-gi-bill-benefits/montgomery-selected-reserve/.

Fry Scholarships

The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship), is a scholarship for children and dependents of Veterans. If your parent or spouse was an active-duty service member who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001, you may qualify for this benefit.

You may be eligible for Fry Scholarship benefits if you’re the child or surviving spouse of an active-duty service member who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001.

As the child of a service member:

  • You can be married or unmarried.
  • If you turned 18 or graduated from high school before January 1, 2013, you can get a Fry Scholarship until you’re 33 years old.
  • If you turn 18 or graduate from high school after January 1, 2013, you can get a Fry Scholarship at any age over 18 or after you graduate (whichever comes first).
  • If your parent died in the line of duty before August 1, 2011, you may qualify for both the Fry Scholarship and the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program. But you can use only one program at a time. We cap combined benefits at 81 months of full-time training.
    Read about the DEA program
  • If you’re receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), you’ll need to give up those payments when you start to use the Fry Scholarship.
    Read about DIC

As the spouse of a service member:

  • If you remarry, you’ll no longer be eligible for the Fry Scholarship.
  • You can still get Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payments while using the Fry Scholarship.
    Read about DIC

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, please visit:
https://www.va.gov/education/survivor-dependent-benefits/fry-scholarship/.

Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship

The Edith Nourse Rogers Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Scholarship allows some eligible Veterans and dependents in high-demand fields to extend their Post-9/11 GI Bill® or Fry Scholarship benefits. Read below to find out if you’re eligible for up to 9 months (or $30,000) of added benefits and how to apply.

Am I eligible for the Rogers STEM Scholarship (GI Bill extension)?
You may be eligible for this scholarship if you’re currently enrolled in an undergraduate STEM degree program or if you have a STEM degree and you’re working toward a teaching certification. To be eligible, you need to meet all of the requirements listed below for your situation.

If you’re currently enrolled in an undergraduate STEM degree program 
All of these must be true. You:

  • Are enrolled in an eligible undergraduate STEM degree program that requires at least 120 standard semester credit hours (or 180 quarter credit hours) to complete, and
  • Have completed at least 60 standard credit hours (or 90 quarter credit hours) toward your degree, and
  • Have 6 months or less of your Post-9/11 GI Bill (or Fry Scholarship) benefits left. To find out how much of your benefits you have left, check your Post-9/11 GI Bill Statement of Benefits.

Note: You can’t use the STEM scholarship for graduate degree programs at this time.

If you’re working toward a teaching certification
All of these must be true. You:

  • Have earned an eligible post-secondary degree in a STEM field, and
  • Have been accepted or are enrolled in a teaching certification program, and
  • Have 6 months or less of your Post-9/11 GI Bill (or Fry Scholarship) benefits left. To find out how much of your benefits you have left, check your Post-9/11 GI Bill Statement of Benefits.

How we prioritize scholarships
If you meet the above criteria, we can’t guarantee that you’ll receive the Rogers STEM scholarship.

We give priority to Veterans and Fry Scholars who:

  • Are eligible for the maximum Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit (100% level), and
  • Require the most credit hours compared to other applicants

For more information on the eligibility and how to apply, please visit:
https://www.va.gov/education/other-va-education-benefits/stem-scholarship/

The Tuition Assistance (TA) program provides financial assistance for education programs in support of a Soldier’s professional and personal self-development goals.

TA policy allows Soldiers to use TA after successful completion of their first year of service after graduating from either AIT for enlisted, WOBC for Warrant Officers or BOLC for officers. Soldiers are eligible for up to 16 semester hours per fiscal year and they can use TA for a second, higher-level post-bachelor’s degree after completion of 10 years of service. The second degree time in service requirement applies to movement from a bachelor’s to a master’s degree and not from an associate’s to a bachelor’s degree. Also, the 10-year requirement only applies if Army TA was used to pay for any portion of the undergraduate coursework.

All eligible Soldiers will request TA through the ArmyIgnitED portal https://www.armyignited.com/

Soldiers may request up to 16 semester hours of TA per fiscal year; the semester hour cap is $250.

Current Army policy limits TA to 130 semester hours of undergraduate credit or baccalaureate degree, whichever comes first, and 39 semester hours of graduate credit or master’s degree whichever comes first. The 39 semester hour limit applies to all credits taken after completion of a baccalaureate degree.

TA requests must be submitted 60 to 5 business days prior to the class start date.

**Non-Army service members must obtain Tuition Assistance through their
branch of the Service Education Office.

The SCNG College Assistance Program will pay 100% of college tuition and fees at state supported institutions up to $4,500 per year, with a lifetime cap of $18,000 per service-member.

Service Members must be in good academic standing with the institution to receive CAP funding.

  • SCNG College Assistance Program Application (https://getsmartsc.com/scng-cap/)
  • After the application is received and approved, the service-member notifies the financial aid office of their eligibility, confirmation of eligibility is made with CHE and financial imbursement is made directly to the school by CHE.
  • To determine eligibility, contact the Education Services Office.

Provides a tuition waiver for qualified children of certain military veterans applying to or enrolled in a South Carolina state supported college, university or post high school technical education school; or acceptance into a dual enrollment/early college credit program prior to graduating high school.

Qualifying veterans and students must meet certain residency requirements.

For a complete list of veteran eligibility requirements, and state supported institutions, please reference page four of the application.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the SC Department of Veterans’ Affairs office at 803-647-2434.

Please visit the website for the application form: https://scdva.sc.gov/education.

Military Service Members

Students receiving Tuition Assistance (TA) from their Military Service, such as (but not limited to) FTA and CAP, are required to receive the approval of planned courses from their Educational Services Officer (ESO) or Military Services counselor before they will be allowed to enroll in their courses. Refunds for unearned TA funds follow the same refund schedule as the university.

Military service members who must terminate enrollment in a semester due to military service lasting 30 days or more will be promptly readmitted once their military service has ended. They will be readmitted with the same academic status and in the same program as they were in prior to service unless they request otherwise. The student must promptly notify the SCO (or the Registrar if SCO is unavailable) of the impending military service. If military necessity precludes the ability to notify the SCO prior to service, the student can notify the SCO when able and file an attestation of military necessity when applying for readmission. Within 3 years of completion of service requirements the student must notify the SCO (or Registrar is SCO is unavailable) of their intent to return to school. FMU waives application fees for military service members.

 

VA Compliance Assurance

As per Title 38 US Code 3679(e), Francis Marion University adopts the following additional provisions for any students using VA Educational Benefits Chapters 31 or 33. While pending payment from the VA to FMU, FMU will not:

  • Prevent the student’s enrollment
  • Assess a late penalty fee to the student
  • Require the student to secure alternate or additional funding
  • Deny the student access to any university resources

As per Executive Order 13607: Principles of Excellence, Francis Marion University will adhere to all components of the Principles of Excellence by (1) providing total costs of attendance to the students, (2) giving accurate and complete financial aid information, (3) use recruiting tactics that are not aggressive or fraudulent, (4) not use misrepresentations or payments of incentive compensations, (5) fully disclosure all requirements for the student’s chosen education path and courses of study, (6) obtain and maintain all accreditations for the university, programs, and courses, (7) allow readmission of service members who had to terminate enrollment due to military service, and (8) provide a designated point of contact for all students receiving VA Educational Benefits.

Students receiving VA Educational Benefits Chapters 31 and 33 will be granted In-state tuition rates regardless of their location of residence.

As per Isakson and Roe Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020, students receiving VA Educational Benefits Chapter 33 who withdraw from a course or courses during the term will create a debt with the Department of Veterans Affairs for payments made directly to them for the Monthly Housing Allowance and any stipend payments. The VA will collect payment for tuition and fees directly from Francis Marion University. This will create a debt with the student to FMU which must be paid before future enrollments will be allowed.

All prior course work as shown on the student’s transcripts and credit received through military training as shown on the Joint Services Transcript will be evaluated for credit at FMU.

Constitution of The Military Veteran Student Association

PREAMBLE

We the members of the Military Veterans Student Association (MVSA), and subscribing to the regulations and policies of Francis Marion University, establish this Constitution to govern the matters within our organization.

 

Article I – Name

Section 1 

The name of this organization shall be the Military Veteran Student Association or MVSA.

 

Section 2 

There are no national affiliations pertaining to this group other than the branches of service each member has either served in, plans to serve, currently serves or has a member that is affiliated with military service.

 

Article II – Purpose

Section 1 

The purpose of this organization shall be: 

to educate, enhance and inform students with their various backgrounds with information pertaining to their education, pay and benefits as students of Francis Marion University. Also, to be involved in community activities, bring awareness to causes important to the organization, raise money for charity and most importantly be a support group for those who require assistance.

 

Article III – Membership

Section 1 

Members are limited to military, veterans, retired military, reservists, members of the ROTC and dependents of veterans due to the fact that most of the information will pertain to their post military and active duty educational benefits, and education sessions for ROTC members looking to make the military a career.

 

Section 2 
If there are persons interested in the military as a career, we will encourage them to come in, ask questions to learn more about what we do and who we are. Guests however are not allowed to vote in elections or participate in any outside activities without the consent of the members in good standing.

 

Article IV – Officers

Section 1

The officers of this association shall consist of: 

President, Vice President, Master-At-Arms and Chaplain. As membership grows, new positions will be created and voted upon to include within the Constitution.

 

Section 2 

Qualifications for President: Must have at least a 2.5 GPA and active within the organization.

Qualifications for Vice President: Must have at least a 2.0 and active within the organization.

Qualifications for Master-At-Arms: Must have at least a 2.0 and active within the organization.

Qualifications for Chaplain: Must have at least a 2.0 and active within the organization.

 

Section 3

The term of office shall be: 

PRESIDENT: The president cannot serve more than ONE (1) calendar year.

VICE PRESIDENT: The vice president cannot serve for more than ONE (1) calendar year.

MASTER-AT-ARMS: The Master-At-Arms cannot serve for more than ONE (1) calendar year.

CHAPLAIN: The Chaplain cannot serve more than ONE (1) calendar year.

 

Section 4 

Provisions for the removal of an officer shall be: 

Once a motion is placed on the floor by a member in good standing, the following must occur to remove said officer:

  1. By a two-thirds vote amongst active members having no confidence in leadership, immoral actions or academic probation.
  2. Automatic withdrawal if the officer no longer fits the criteria of the office being held.
  3. Special election due to the expected graduation of an officer.

 

Article V – Elections

Section 1 

Election of officers shall be held: 

after being nominated and seconded by members in good standing. Once the nomination process has been completed, the next meeting will entail the election of new officers, old business, new business and then dismissal.

 

Section 2 

Provisions for filling vacancies: 

If there be a vacancy due to the immediate removal of an officer, the lack of volunteers or due to the lack of members, the President shall appoint an interim officer until such time the vacancy can be filled.

 

Section 3 

Procedures for voting will be as follows: 

Once nominated, seconded and placed on ballot, all members in good standing will have the opportunity to elect officials to cover the positions. Any members not in attendance will have forgone their right to vote and whatever the tally be
will be.

 

Article VI – Meetings

Section 1 

Regular meetings of the organization shall be held: 

monthly, on the third Wednesday of each month during a semester term. There shall be no meetings during the times when school is out due to holiday, summer or inclement weather.

 

Article VII – Advisors

Section: 1

There shall be one faculty/ staff advisor who shall be a member ex-officio with no voting privileges.

 

Section 2

The duties of the advisor shall be: 

  1. To assist the organization in developing realistic goals for the semester/year.
  2. To be familiar with the organization’s constitution and all other governing documents.
  3. To attend meeting whenever possible.
  4. To encourage officers to share information with the general membership.

 

Article VIII – Amendments 

Section 1

The Constitution may be amended by: 

a vote of two-thirds members in good standing, as the need arises to update, add or correct information within the document.