Veterans and Military Service Members

Westminster College welcomes men and women who have served in our country's military services. Our counselors work with veterans, active duty personnel, reservists, and dependents to help ensure they receive maximum tuition benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and Armed Forces.

Westminster College's traditional undergraduate, adult studies, and graduate programs are approved for GI education benefits and military tuition assistance by veterans, active duty personnel, or qualifying dependents. Westminster College participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.

 

College Credit for Military Education

Veterans and those currently in the military service may be eligible to receive undergraduate elective credit for Basic Training and formal education gained in the military. Eligibility will depend upon review by the College Registrar and is based upon The American Council on Education's (ACE) recommendations for military training and experience to be considered for college credit.

 

College Credit for CLEP/DANTES

Westminster College awards college credit for passing scores on CLEP/DANTES exams in relevant subject areas. The College Board will provide military service members with transcripts that document CLEP exam results.

 

Military Tuition Assistance Top-up

To be eligible you must be approved by your branch of the military and be eligible for Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty benefits. The amount is the same as the amount received through the Montgomery Bill but cannot exceed the cost of the course. If you are receiving a Tuition Assistance award your Montgomery GI Bill benefit will be reduced. See your education services officer and submit a VA Form 22-1990 to your VA Regional Processing Office. For more information please visit http://gibill.va.gov/resources/education_resources/programs/tuition_assistance_top_up.html.

Individual military service branch websites provide information regarding how to apply for military tuition assistance. Please use the following links to check on your eligibility.

 

Montgomery GI Bill and Other VA Programs

www.gibill.va.gov is an excellent source for Veteran's information. You can easily navigate the site to find information regarding the various VA programs. Some of the programs included are the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (Chapter 30), Montgomery GI Bill - Selective Reserve (Chapter 1606), Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Chapter 31), the Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP; Chapter 1607), the Veterans Education Assistance Program (VEAP; Chapter 32) and other educational benefits for Survivors' and Dependents Educational Assistance Program (DEA; Chapter 35). If you are a child of a member of the Armed Forces that died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001 you may be eligible for benefits under the Marine Gunnery John David Fry Scholarship Program.

 

Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33)

To qualify for the Post-911 GI Bill you must have at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001 or honorably discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 continuous days following September 10, 2001. Go to http://gibill.va.gov/benefits/post_911_gibill/index.html for additional information about the Post-911 program.

 

Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program (Yellow Ribbon Program)

If you qualify for 100% of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program. The Yellow Ribbon Program allows colleges and universities to enter into an agreement with the Veterans Affairs to fund tuition and fees. Therefore the student not only receives funds from the VA but the school will match the contribution by 50% of the difference after the cap. To qualify you must serve in an aggregate period of active duty of at least 36 months after September 10, 2001 and be honorably discharged. Or if you are a dependent of an eligible Service Member they can transfer their benefits to you. To check your eligibility or complete the Transfer of Entitlement form, please visit the http://gibill.va.gov/benefits/post_911_gibill/yellow_ribbon_program.html website.

To assist you in finding the VA program in which you qualify you can use the benefit comparison tool by clicking the following link: http://www.gibill.va.gov/resources/benefits_resources/benefit_comparison_tools.html. If you qualify for more than one program you must choose the program that suits your education needs.

The amount of tuition and fees, housing allowance and book stipend depend on the amount of time in which you have served.

 

Other Financial Aid

Once you receive notification of your specific VA Program, you may find that you still need additional funding for your education. At that point you may decide to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This can be done at www.fafsa.gov. By entering the Westminster College Title IV code of 003392, a copy of your completed FAFSA form will be sent to our institution. We will in turn send you an award letter listing your specific financial aid package. Some of the various types of financial aid that you may qualify for would be Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), State Grants, Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans and Federal Perkins Loan.

Federal Pell Grants are a program designed to aid students with financial need. This is a grant and not a loan therefore it does not need to be repaid. The amount of the awarded Pell Grant is based on your family contribution which is calculated from your information listed on the FAFSA form. The maximum Pell Grant amount for the 2013-2014 academic year is $5,645. The College does not award the Pell Grant.

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is awarded to aid students with exceptional financial need. A student must be registered at least half time and academic progress is required for renewal. This is a non-repayable grant.

State Grants are non-repayable awards based on financial need and full time student status. If you live in Pennsylvania you must file the FAFSA form by May 1st to be considered for this award.

Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans have fixed interest rates and are determined by the students need. Repayment begins six months after a student ceases to be enrolled at least half time. The student has ten years to repay the loan. A Subsidized Stafford Loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. You are not charged any interest while you are enrolled in school at least half time, during a grace period, or during authorized periods of deferment. An Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is not awarded on the basis of need. You have an option of paying the interest while you are in school or deferring the loan until repayment. You will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full.

For the 2013-2014 academic year the maximum annual amounts for full-time dependent undergraduates enrolled in a program of study are:

  • First-year $3,500 subsidized, $2,000 unsubsidized
  • Second-year $4,500, subsidized, $2,000 unsubsidized
  • Third-year $5,500, subsidized, $2,000 unsubsidized
  • Fourth-year $5,500, subsidized, $2,000 unsubsidized

If you are a full-time independent undergraduate student you may receive an additional $4,000 at the freshman and sophomore level and an additional $5,000 for your junior and senior years in unsubsidized loan.

The maximum aggregate amount is currently $31,000, but only $23,000 of this amount may be in Subsidized Stafford Loans for an undergraduate dependent student. The maximum amount for an undergraduate independent student is $57,500 with no more than $23,000 in Subsidized Stafford Loans. A graduate student may borrow up to $20,500 each academic year in Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. The maximum aggregate amount is currently $138,500. A graduate student may not have any more than $65,500 in total Subsidized Stafford Loan. The graduate debt limit includes any Stafford Loans received for undergraduate study.

The money for the Federal Perkins Loan is provided in part by the federal government and the college. A student must have financial need to be eligible and be at least a half time student. The interest rate is 5% beginning with the repayment period that starts 9 months after the recipient ceases to be enrolled at least half time. Repayment is to the school. The maximum amount of Perkins Loan each year is $5,500 with an overall aggregate of $27,500. Since funds are limited you may not receive the maximum amount.

There are a number of privately funded loan programs that provide funds to credit worthy student and parents. Although the interest rates and terms are not as generous as the Federal Stafford Loan program, some students and their parents may be interested in this type of borrowing. Students are strongly encouraged to pursue the lower cost federal loans before private loans. You may use the Pennsylvania Private Loan Marketplace to instantly and accurately compare rates and terms from multiple private education loan lenders side-by-side. The website is http://pennsylvania.privateloanmarketplace.com/westminster. Or you may go to www.studentloans.com or visit your Credit Union if you are a member.

 

Readmission and Refund Policies Due to Service Obligations

If a student is called to military duty during an academic period for more than 30 days that student is placed on a Leave of Absence and will not be penalized either financially or academically. If a student chooses to withdraw from courses the tuition and fees will be fully refunded. If sufficient work is completed and the academic record is listed as incomplete for all courses then the student will return to complete the courses with tuition and fees already paid. The student must meet with the Registrar's office to determine which option is feasible. With either option room and board will be prorated on a percentage basis.

Upon his or her return to Westminster, the service member will be readmitted with the same academic status as when he or she last attended or was accepted. The student must notify the school in writing of their military service and intention to return to school within 3 years after the completion of his or her service period.

 

How to Use Your GI Bill Benefits and Military Tuition Assistance at Westminster College

  • Veterans Affairs requires a completed VA Form 22-1990, to apply for educational benefits under Chapter 30, Chapters 1606 and 1607, Chapter 33, Chapter 35 and Chapter 31. The form can be completed online at the Veterans Online Application (VONAPP) https://www.gibill.va.gov/apply-for-benefits/application/ website.
  • Westminster applicants who are applying for or have already been approved for the Montgomery GI Bill education benefits or military tuition assistance need to contact the Westminster College Financial Aid Office for assistance in using their benefits at (724)946-7102.