RMU Center for Veterans and Military Families

RMU’s Center for Veterans and Military Families is open 24/7 to all veteran/military students and their families.

2021 Best Colleges for Veterans by College Factual ranks RMU in the top 10% of four-year colleges nationwide.

Veterans Day and 2020 CVMF Graduation Celebration

 

Honoring Our Vets

Robert Morris University is honored to serve those who have served our country! RMU proudly serves veterans at the RMU Center for Veterans and Military Families all year round. Leading up to this year’s Veterans Day celebration, we need your help.

Learn More

 

The mission of RMU's Center for Veterans and Military Families (CVMF) is to be a resource center that is big enough to matter, yet small enough to care. This mission is achieved by providing industry-leading support, services, and facilities dedicated to veteran/military students and their families. The CVMF's staff administrates veteran and military educational benefits inside a private 5,000 square foot location that includes a computer lab, quiet study area, lounge space, training/conference room, lockers, and an administrative office area.  The office area includes a kitchenette that is stocked with free snacks, drinks, and coffee along with a refrigerator, toaster oven, and microwave.    Additionally, the CVMF delivers continual, holistic transition assistance programming for veteran/military students and military family members that will be the cornerstone to their on-going personal, academic, and career success.

Located on the lower level of the Jefferson Center, the Center for Veterans and Military Families is the central hub for its students to access the services they need while fostering a strong sense of camaraderie and family.  The CVMF also welcomes all of our ROTC students and is the home of RMU’s Army ROTC Cadre.

Robert Morris University’s degree programs are approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the GI Bill ® and by the Department of Defense for Federal Tuition Assistance (DOD TA).  (DOD TA does not cover our cost of attendance, and it cannot be used towards doctoral degrees).  Robert Morris University also participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program ® without limits allowing students who 100% qualify for Yellow Ribbon ® to attend RMU tuition and fee free during their period of GI Bill ® entitlement. Additionally, RMU also participates PA National Guard Education Assistance Program (EAP) and Military Family Education Program (MFEP), accepting it as partial payment toward tuition.

Do you want to know more? Contact us:

David Ausman
Director, Center for Veterans and Military Families
ausman@rmu.edu
412-397-5424

Christie McFadden
Military & Veteran Benefits Specialist & Primary Certifying Official
mcfaddenc@rmu.edu
412-397-5435

Jodi A. Hample
School Certifying Official and Office Assistant 
hample@rmu.edu
412-397-5498

Dr. Sabrina Hakim
VA VITAL Coordinator
veteransaffairs@rmu.edu
412-397-5426

Or VA Education Hotline at 1-888-GIBILL-1 or 1-888-442-4551  

In order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Center for Veterans and Military Families will be working remotely for the remainder of the semester. However, all staff are available during normal working hours via phone, email, and virtual meetings.

 

Military Friendly Yellow Ribbon GI Bill PNGAS

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

Resources for Veterans & Military Families

Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership (VITAL)

The VITAL initiative is a partnership between the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and Robert Morris University to aid in the academic retention and success of student veterans. 

The RMU VA VITAL Coordinator, Dr. Sabrina Hakim is here to support student veterans’ transition from service-member to student. Her mission is to provide seamless access to VA healthcare services, on-campus mental health services, and outreach to the campus community highlighting the unique strengths and challenges of student veterans. VITAL aims to meet your needs and maximize your potential in the academic setting.  Click Here for more information (This would be the link to the larger page below)

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

The office of Federal Student Aid provides grants, loans, and work-study funds for college or career school.

Veteran's Education Benefits

The VA website offers the most up to date information. This is a great resource to help you on your journey through higher education. Below are some great links to help you get started:

For more information please contact the VA for any question at 1-844-698-2311 (MYVA311), or use the special student GI Bill Hotline at 1-888-GIBILL-1 or 1-888-442-4551.

Certification of VA Benefits

The RMU Center for Veterans and Military Families (CVMF) does require a covered individual complete, sign, and return the “Enrollment Verification Form”  to a School Certifying Official (SCO) each semester in order to authorize the SCO to submit the covered individual’s certification.  Please submit the forms in person at the CVMF or to mcfaddenc@rmu.edu. Copies of the form can be found in the CVMF or here. Our helpful Enrollment Checklist can be found here.

  • A Covered Individual is any individual who is entitled to educational assistance under the VA GI Bill or Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment benefits.

The CVMF also requests all covered individuals submit a current copy of their Certificate of Eligibility (COE), e-Benefits Statement of Benefits, or benefits application confirmation (for first time users) each and every semester.  

Please contact the CVMF at 412-397-5426 with any questions.

Robert Morris University will not impose any penalty, including the assessment of late fees, the denial of access to classes, libraries, or other institutional facilities, or the requirement that a covered individual borrow additional funds, on any covered individual because of the individual’s inability to meet his or her financial obligations to the institution due to the delayed disbursement funding from VA under chapter 31 or 33.

Student Engagement Transcript Waiver Form

Students wishing to apply for a waiver of Engaged Learning Graduation Requirements must complete the form and submit it along with supporting documentation. For additional guidance, please contact Donna Anderson, Senior Director, Engaged Learning and Community Involvement at anderson@rmu.edu or by phone at 412-397-6492.

Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

Pennsylvania has the 4th highest veteran population of any state in the nation, with nearly one millions servicemen and women. The Pennsylvania DMVA helps educate veterans on federal, state and local benefits, as well as programs and services, that they are eligible for.

Military.com

Learn anything you need to know about every branch of the military, including eligible benefits, veterans' news, job openings, and available discounts.

Special Opportunities for Veterans and Military

SEAL Future Fund

RMU has partnered with the SEAL Future Fund to provide opportunities for active duty and veteran Navy SEALs to earn a degree and prepare for their next career. The SEAL Future Fund’s mission is to prepare transitioning Navy SEALs for a civilian life of purpose. One of its programs is Educational Assistance, which includes academic counseling, networking, coaching and scholarships to cover the funding gap between military education benefits and the full cost of pursuing education. Another program is Career Building, which includes connecting SEALs with local communities of former SEALs, veterans and civilian leaders across the country to facilitate job seeking and community integration.

MBA Discount

RMU offers a 30% tuition discount for its M.B.A. program to service members stationed at four Pittsburgh-area bases: the 171st Air Refueling Wing, the 911th Airlift Wing, the 316th Sustainment Command, and the 99th Regional Support Command. For more information contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at 412-397-5200 or graduateadmissions@rmu.edu.

Priority Registration for Veteran & Military Students

Priority registration means that identified veterans, service members, and military family members are assigned a registration period before students with the same credit standing. The registration time and day are determined by transferred, completed, and currently enrolled credits.

Eligibility for priority registration will be determined by the CVMF. Please contact the CVMF to discuss the required documentation necessary to receive this benefit.

To view your registration period, students will log into Sentry Secured Services and click on Registration, then Registration Status. The registration period will not display until after the next semester schedule of courses is available. Please note, if students elect not to utilize their priority registration period, additional students will begin to register and courses may fill up. It is of great benefit for veterans, service members, and military family members to schedule courses during their assigned time slot.

Credit for Life

Through the Credit for Life program at RMU, Military service members and Veterans pursuing further education can save significant time and money by applying to receive college credit for military service and experience. For more information, please contact David Ausman, Director of the RMU Center for Veterans and Military Families, at ausman@rmu.edu or 412-397-5424.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I determine my eligibility for VA educational benefits?

Eligibility is determined by the VA Regional Processing Office in Buffalo. You may apply online, have a form sent to you, or pick one up at our office. Please refer to the VA Website for an explanation of benefits.

VA Website

The VA has also released a helpful three-part guide that will help you navigate through the VA educational benefit options, career pathways, and transition from after service to the job force: https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/78073/new-guide-series-provides-gi-bill-benefits-information/

Contact the VA by phone: 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551)

Our office: Christie McFadden at 412-397-5435 

Am I eligible for MHA (monthly housing allowance)?

MHA is available for students using Post 911 (Chapter 33) benefits. Your MHA rate is based on the percentage of Post 911 benefits you qualify for. You cannot receive MHA if you are on active duty or if your spouse is on active duty. Please refer to the VA comparison tool to see the MHA rates for RMU.

VA comparison tool: https://www.va.gov/gi-bill-comparison-tool

I have just applied for my VA educational benefits for the first time. When will I receive my first payment?

Whether you are waiting on your monthly stipend, MHA, or a tuition payment, the VA is normally around a 30 day processing time for first time applicants. Stipends and MHA are paid directly to you, the student, on the first of each month. These payments are paid for the previous month of school attendance. Tuition is paid to RMU and we understand the delays with the administration of your benefits may cause you to be late in paying your tuition bill.

Once I am eligible for VA educational benefits, how do I verify my enrollment at RMU?

The CVMF will need you to submit a copy of your COE (certificate of eligibility) to our office to verify your VA educational benefits. We will need your COE for your initial certification and it is recommended but not required to submit your COE for subsequent semesters. After you create your class schedule you will need to submit an EV (enrollment verification) form to our office. Please contact Christie McFadden, mcfaddenc@rmu.edu, or Jodi Hample, hample@rmu.edu, to request the EV form link.

How do I get my COE (certificate of eligibility)?

You can request your COE in two ways:

1. Through your eBenefits account: https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/homepage

Or 2. By submitting a request through “Submit a Question” on va.gov: http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/

Contact our office if you are having difficulty requesting your COE.

How many months of entitlement do I have left?

You can find out this information through an updated COE or you can call the VA student hotline- 1-888-442-4551.

How many classes do I have to take to be a full time student?

Undergraduate students are required to take 12 credit hours during the semester to be considered full time. 

Graduate and doctoral students are required to take 9 credit hours during the semester to be considered full time.

Per VA policies, the credits you are taking coincide with the dates you are taking them to determine if your rate of pursuit is full time. For example, you are taking 9 credits that are scheduled for 15 week courses and 3 credits that are scheduled for the first 8 week term. You would only be considered as having a full time rate of pursuit for the first 8 week term where you have all 12 credits scheduled for. After the first 8 week term you would only have 9 credits scheduled for the rest of the semester and would have a 75% rate of pursuit. 

The VA does weigh courses in non-standard terms (any term less than 15 weeks) more heavily than semester courses. A 3 credit 15 week course equals 3 credits, however, a 3 credit 8 week course equals 6.75 credits.

What should I do if I decide to withdraw from a course?

It is imperative that the CVMF be made aware of any schedule changes you make, these changes may affect your benefits and result in student debts. In order to withdraw from a course you must fill out the RMU withdrawal form and submit it to Christie McFadden, mcfaddenc@rmu.edu. The CVMF staff will review your request and consult with you about your options.

RMU withdrawal form: http://academicaffairs.rmu.edu/academic-forms

If you withdraw because you are called up to active duty, you need to provide a copy of your deployment order to the Center for Veterans and Military Families. At the Center for Veterans and Military Families, we will do whatever is required to help students who have been called up to active military duty transition out of the university as expeditiously as possible. RMU has a deployment policy for you to download and view.

What happens if I want to change my major while I’m using my VA educational benefits?

The CVMF will need to sign off on your change of major request and discuss your remaining entitlement with you. Fill out the form and send it to Christie McFadden, mcfaddenc@rmu.edu.

Change of major request: http://academicaffairs.rmu.edu/academic-forms

Am I eligible to receive Yellow Ribbon?

You must qualify for the maximum benefit rate, 100%, under Post 911, Chapter 33 to be eligible for YR. Currently, if you are on active duty or your spouse is on active duty you are not eligible for YR. RMU is an unlimited Yellow Ribbon school, that means we do not cap the amount of students we distribute YR funds to nor do we limit the amount of YR funds that are paid out. 

How do I verify my attendance if I’m using Chapter 1606, Chapter 1607 or Chapter 30?

If using any of these benefit chapters, you must verify your attendance monthly to the VA. You will not receive your monthly stipend until you verify your attendance on the last day of each month through WAVE: https://www.gibill.va.gov/wave/index.do (please make sure to review the user guide). You may also call, 1-877-823-2378, to verify your attendance. If you have any questions please call the VA student hotline at 1-888-442-4551. 

What is TA?

TA is tuition assistance. TA is approved and administered by your service base. Once you receive your TA approval form, please submit that to the CVMF. TA pays out $250 per credit towards your tuition, TA will not cover your full tuition cost at RMU and you will be left with an out of pocket cost. Please refer to our tuition rates to calculate your total cost of attendance.

RMU tuition rates/cost of attendance: https://www.rmu.edu/admissions/financial-aid/costs

Can I take courses at RMU towards my CCAF associate’s degree?

Yes.  Please review RMU’s GEM program page for more information: https://www.rmu.edu/about/military/gem

How do I know if I qualify for EAP or MFEP?

PA National Guard members and family members may be eligible for EAP or MFEP grants. EAP and MFEP funds will not cover the cost of tuition at RMU. Please speak with your NCO at your unit if you have any questions. Below are the links with each grant’s requirements.

EAP: https://www.pheaa.org/funding-opportunities/aid-for-military-national-guard/national-guard-eap.shtml

MFEP: https://www.pheaa.org/funding-opportunities/aid-for-military-national-guard/military-family-education.shtml

What is VITAL?

VITAL stands for Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership. RMU is one of four schools in Pennsylvania and the only school in Allegheny County that has a VITAL Coordinator on campus. VITAL supports Veterans’ successful integration into college and university campus life through on-campus clinical care and coordination, improving understanding of Veterans' unique strengths and challenges through education and training delivered to the campus community and collaborating with the local VA medical center, the Veterans Benefits Administration, campus faculty and staff members, and community resources. Please contact Dr. Sabrina Hakim to find out more, veteransaffairs@rmu.edu 

How can I get more involved with the CVMF?

Join the RMU SVA! The SVA provides veterans and military family members with the chance to stay connected with one another by providing morale boosting events, panel discussions, community event participation, and fundraisers. Contact veterans@rmu.edu if you are interested. 

Who can access the CVMF Gym?

The CVMF Gym is only to be used by the CVMF staff, Bravo Company cadets and cadre of the Three Rivers Battalion ROTC program at Robert Morris University (RMU ROTC), and the cadets and staff of the IUP Police Academy at Robert Morris University (RMU/IUP Police Academy).  Use of the CVMF Gym by all other parties is forbidden unless prior written consent is received from the Director of the Center for Veterans and Military Families (CVMF Director).  The CVMF staff and RMU ROTC will be given priority use of the CVMF Gym.

For more formation on the rules and regulations, click here.

Rankings
  • RMU is consistently ranked a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine
  • U.S. News World Report recently named RMU its inaugural Best Colleges for Veterans rankings and has ranked the university in three separate categories for Best Online Programs for Veterans
  • RMU has been named a Top School by Military Advanced Education in its 2018 MAE Guide to Colleges & Universities.
  • Military Times Best for Vets list of best colleges and universities
  • RMU adheres to the Principles of Excellence and the 8 Keys to Veterans Success
  • RMU has been named a PNGAS Guard-Friendly School