Frequently Asked Questions
What is the RMU Enhanced Service Award?
Robert Morris University has announced a new, expanded RMU Military Service Award that will cover all tuition and fees for any undergraduate programs of study for veterans, service members, or their spouses or dependents using the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, regardless of their benefit coverage level.
Who qualifies for the “Zero Out of Pocket Costs” Enhanced Military Service Award?
Those who are using Post 911 GI Bill® Benefits (Chapter 33) for a bachelor’s degree during their original term of entitlement
- RMU will accept 50% to 90% Post 911 GI Bill® benefits as if they were 100% benefits for tuition and fees.
- Veterans or military members who served on active duty after September 10, 2001 for 90 days or more potentially qualify for the Post 911 GI Bill®.
- Spouses or Dependents can use the Post 911 GI Bill®, but only if the Service Member transferred the benefit to them before the service member left active duty. As long as the Spouse or Dependent is using the Post 911 GI Bill®, then they will receive the same RMU benefit
- Those using Post 911 GI Bill® benefits for a masters degree fall under the "up to 25% discount" program
What if I don’t qualify for the Post 911 GI Bill®?
Those who are using other GI Bill® Benefits (Chapter 30, 35, 1606), DOD Tuition Assistance (TA) or National Guard benefits (EAP, MFEP) can be guaranteed a 25% discount (net of any other institutional aid)
- This includes both bachelors and masters programs
- This includes military, veterans, and military families as long as they are the ones receiving the benefit (spouses/dependents can use Chapter 35 and MFEP)
What if I don’t have any GI Bill® or other military benefits?
Military members or veterans who have fully transferred, exhausted, or have expired benefits will receive up to a 25% discount (net of other institutional aid)
- Proof of service will be required: Official discharge papers (DD214), Military ID, Official State ID with “veteran status”, VA healthcare card etc
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.
What is a dual certification?
The VA requires all schools to submit dual certifications for Chapter 33 students. Certification #1 must include the student’s total credits, the credit modality, the semester or term dates and $0 for the tuition and fees. This will ensure that the student will be paid their book stipend and housing allowance on time. Certification #2 will be submitted after RMU’s add/drop period and will include the student’s total tuition and fees. The VA will then process this certification and payout tuition and fee funds to RMU accordingly. Your Chapter 33 tuition and fees will be delayed because of this VA mandated process, however, you will not receive any late fees from RMU as a result of the dual certification.
How do Chapter 33 students verify their attendance?
The VA requires all Chapter 33 students to verify their attendance on the last day of each month to the VA. The easiest way to verify attendance is by opting into the VA’s text messaging option by calling the VA student hotline at 1.888.442.4551. If students do not opt into the text option they will automatically be enrolled into the email verification option. Students that do not verify their attendance for two consecutive months will have their MHA suspended. Please review the VA's Enrollment Verification webpage for more details and specifics.
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 and the modality you are taking courses. You cannot receive MHA if you are on active duty or if your spouse is on active duty or if you are taking courses at half time or less. Please refer to the VA comparison tool to see the MHA rates for RMU.
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, but all late fees due to the VA will be waived.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Jodi Hample, email@example.com, to request the EV form link.
How do I get my COE (certificate of eligibility)?
You can request your COE 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, firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 must adhere to the RMU Deployment policy. This includes notifying your faculty and department head before you deploy. A copy of your official orders can be submitted once you return, but it is imperative you notify the proper people before you miss class, assignments, or exams.
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, email@example.com.
Change of major request: http://academicaffairs.rmu.edu/academic-forms
Am I eligible to receive Yellow Ribbon?
Per the VA, 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. However, if you qualify for Chapter 33 benefits at any level, contact Christie McFadden at Mcfaddenc@rmu.edu or 412-397-5435 to learn about how the Enhanced RMU Service Award may help your earn your undergraduate degree with little or no out of pocket costs for tuition and fees.
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.
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
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 Cory Zedak to find out more, firstname.lastname@example.org, 412.397.5426.
How can I get more involved with the CVMF?
Join the RMU Student Veterans Association! 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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested, have questions, or want additional information.
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), the cadets and staff of the IUP Police Academy at Robert Morris University (RMU/IUP Police Academy), and current CVMF students who are either current/retired military members or students using VA Educational Benefits (all of which have turned in the CVMF Gym User Agreement Form). Consent to use of the CVMF Gym by all other parties will be given only after the CVMF Gym Usage Agreement Form has been submitted. The Director of the Center for Veterans and Military Families (CVMF Director) reserves the right to revoke gym usage of any CVMF student if deemed necessary. The CVMF staff and RMU ROTC will be given priority use of the CVMF Gym. Any violation of gym rules and/or the signed agreement form will result in gym access being revoked.
Can I use VA Educational Benefits for Study Abroad?
Yes; for some programs. If you are interested in using VA Educational Benefits for any of the Center for Global Engagements study abroad programs, you will need to let the CVMF office know of your intentions as each students situation is unique and specific VA guidelines and regulations need to be met to ensure VA payment is made to the receiving party.