Education Benefit FAQs

Setting up benefits

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How do I receive my benefits at UW-Madison?

  1. Apply for your benefits. More information can be found on our Benefit Information page.
  2. Email us your certificate of eligibility or state benefit documents. If you don’t have those before the start of the term, still let us know you plan to use benefits.
  3. Once we hear from you, we’ll give you access to select your benefits in your Student Center. You will complete this step EVERY semester once you enroll in classes. Our Certification Process has full instructions.
  4.  You’re put on our list to certify, and we take care of the rest.

What should I do if I used benefits elsewhere?

Federal Benefits – You will have to change your school with the VA. We’ll still need a copy of your certificate eligibility or a screenshot of your education benefit summary from ebenefits.

Wisconsin GI Bill – We just need you to fill out a new WDVA form 2029 for UW-Madison and provide us a copy of any supporting documentation (listed on page 3 of the 2029). You don’t need to reapply with the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA).

Wisconsin National Guard Grant – Just submit a National Guard Grant Application to our office each semester like you have previously.

What if I select the wrong benefit(s) in my Student Center?

Just send us an email letting us know which benefit you’re actually using. The system doesn’t allow you to delete an incorrect selection yourself, but we’ll fix it for you.

Financial Aid

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Can I fill out a FAFSA® while using education benefits?

Yes! We recommend it. Please check out UW-Madison’s Office of Student Financial Aid for more information on types of aid and how to apply.

Am I considered a "veteran" on the FAFSA® Form?

Question: “Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?”

According to the FAFSA website, you would answer “Yes” if you:

(1) have engaged in active duty (including basic training) in the U.S. armed forces or are a National Guard or Reserves enlistee who was called to active duty for other than state or training purposes, or were a cadet or midshipman at one of the service academies and

(2) were released under a condition other than dishonorable.

Answer “No” if you:

(1) have never engaged in active duty (including basic training) in the U.S. armed forces,

(2) are currently a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) student or a cadet or midshipman at a service academy,

(3) are a National Guard or Reserves enlistee activated only for state or training purposes, or

(4) were engaged in active duty in the U.S. armed forces but released under dishonorable conditions.

Can I apply for scholarships while using education benefits?

Yes, but make sure you read the fine print. Every scholarship has different stipulations.

Scholarships that are “tuition only” will reduce your federal Post 9/11 tuition payment and/or your Wisconsin GI Bill waiver since the scholarship can only be applied to your tuition bill, not given to you for additional costs. So, you may spend time applying for a scholarship and ultimately not receive any additional funds. Many scholarships can be used for costs other than tuition, so we recommend keeping an eye out for those.

More information on scholarships can be found here.

Tuition Bills

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How do I find my tuition bill?

Information on your student account can be found on the Bursar’s Office website. This page covers how to view your bill, due dates, payment methods, and refunds.

What if my tuition isn't paid by the due date?

You will not be assessed a late fee due to a delay in benefit payments. Our office will prevent the application of a late fee to your tuition account if you notify us of your intent to use education benefits (selecting your benefits) on or before the FIRST day of the term. 

If you wait to select your benefits until later in the term and a late fee is assessed, you can submit a late fee appeal through the Bursar’s Office if you choose.

My benefits are covering tuition, why am I still getting emails about my tuition bill?

Those emails are automated, so unfortunately you’ll continue to receive them until your tuition is actually taken care of. You can ignore these for the most part. You should reach out to us /the VA if it’s 3 weeks or more into the semester, and your tuition account still has a balance. You should receive a courtesy email once your tuition has been paid in full.

Will I be charged in-state tuition if I'm not a Wisconsin resident?

You will be charged equal to the in-sate rate if you’re using any percentage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill and one of the following applies to you:

  • You are still on active duty and stationed in Wisconsin OR a dependent of a servicemember who is still on active duty.
  • You are a veteran/dependent of a veteran whose last period of active duty (90 days or greater) was within the last 3 years.

We verify this by referencing the service dates on your certificate of eligibility. We use the date you paid your enrollment deposit, not the date you actually enroll in classes to determine if you fall within the 3-year time frame. You will be charged the in-state rate through the completion of your degree, even if you exhaust your benefit. You will still be classified as a Non-resident, even though you aren’t charged the additional fees, which will become relevant if you plan to stay at UW-Madison to pursue another degree.

Questions on residency classification should be directed to our Residence for Tuition Purposes office.

Does UW-Madison take part in the Yellow Ribbon Program?

Yes. We have a limited number of slots, so contact us once you’re accepted to learn about availability. We’ll need your certificate of eligibility to secure a slot.

More information on the Yellow Ribbon Program can be found here.

Drops & Withdrawals

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Where can I find the deadlines to drop or withdraw?

The Office of the Registrar publishes these deadlines.

Do I have to notify University Veteran Services if I drop a class or withdraw?

We’re usually made aware of an update to your enrollment 24 hours after it occurs through an automated process. However, it’s best practice to send us an email to let us know.

What happens to my Wisconsin GI Bill if I drop a class or withdraw?

If you drop/withdraw before the 100% tuition refund deadline, the dropped credits won’t count against your overall entitlement. The Wisconsin GI Bill will either adjust to cover the credits you’re enrolled in or be removed.

If you drop/withdraw after the 100% tuition refund deadline, the dropped credits will still count against your overall entitlement. The amount of Wisconsin GI Bill applied to your tuition account won’t change.

Example: A student starts the term with 12 credits and drops 3 credits halfway through the term. Although the student only finished 9 credits, the semester will still count for 12 credits towards the Wisconsin GI Bill’s 128-credit limit.

What happens to my Wisconsin National Guard Tuition Grant if I drop a class or withdraw?

The Wisconsin National Guard Grant will only reimburse you for completed courses. For example, if you paid for 12 credits but only completed 9, you will only see a reimbursement for 9 credits worth of tuition.

What happens to my federal benefits if I withdraw?

If you withdraw on or before the first day of the term, the school will receive a bill for any tuition paid. You will receive a bill in the mail for any housing or book stipends paid before the VA processes the withdrawal.

If you withdraw before the 100% tuition refund deadline, you will receive a bill in the mail for any tuition, book, or housing stipends paid. The school will refund you the VA tuition payments, so you can resolve the debt.

If you withdraw after the 100% tuition refund deadline, you will receive a bill in the mail for any tuition, book, or housing stipends paid. You will receive a partial refund if your withdrawal is before the 50% adjustment deadline. If you withdraw after the 50% adjustment deadline, you will not receive a refund from the school.

If the school is holding VA funds that should be refunded, email a copy of your bill to the Bursar’s Office to request the refund.

See the Bursar’s Office website for more information on refunds.

What happens to my federal benefits if I drop a class?

Your federal benefits will not be impacted if you are still considered a full-time student after the drop and there was no change to your tuition cost.

If you make a reduction to your course load that results in a VA over-payment, the VA will mail you a demand letter followed by a bill. Read the letter closely and make sure you promptly contact the VA to discuss payment.

For Post 9/11 users: If the reduction occurred prior to the tuition refund deadlines, and the school is holding tuition dollars, email a copy of your bill to the Bursar’s Office to request a refund. If your drop occurred after the refund deadlines (meaning your tuition bill hasn’t changed), the money paid by the VA will stay on your tuition account.

What are mitigating circumstances (federal benefits)?

Mitigating circumstances apply to federal education benefits. The amount of money you pay back to the VA may be prorated if you had to drop courses/withdraw due to certain reasons. It’s easiest to let us know about your situation before we submit the drop information to the VA; however, you can also send needed documentation later.

Mitigating circumstances will be mentioned in your debt letter, but you can find more information at the links below.

Mitigating Circumstances: What are they and why do you need to know?

What does the VA consider to be acceptable “mitigating circumstances”?

Study Abroad

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Can I use my federal benefits to study abroad?

Yes, but there are restrictions:

• Students must be enrolled in courses that apply to their program.
• The program at the “host” school in the foreign country school must be approved.
• VA cannot pay study abroad fees unless it is required as part of the student’s program. Regardless of how much the program costs, the VA will only pay UW-Madison’s tuition rate.

To find out if the program at the host school is approved, use the WEAMS Institution Search. Make sure you look for both the institution AND the program.

Can I use my Wisconsin GI Bill to study abroad?

Yes, but only on certain exchange programs. When searching for programs, select “Exchange & Direct Enroll” under “Structure.” Once you find programs you’re interested in, we recommend reaching out to our office. We’ll double check with the International Academic Programs office to make sure the WI GI Bill can be used.

Federal Benefits

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I revoked by Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30) in order to use my Post 9/11 GI Bill®. Can I see a refund of the $1,200 buy-in?

Yes, if you are the veteran using your own Post 9/11 GI Bill. The VA provides more details here.

How is my entitlement charged?

This usually depends on your training time. For example, if you are considered a full-time student for 2 months, you will be charged 2 months of your GI Bill. If you are taking classes at 1/2 time for 2 months, you will be charged 1 month.

How do I find out how many months I have remaining?

You can do any of the following:

  • Call the VA 1-888 GI BILL 1 (1-888-442-4551).
  • Submit an inquiry to the VA here.
  • Login to eBenefits. You can view your remaining entitlement under your “Dashboard.”

I'm using a Montgomery GI Bill. What additional steps are needed?

You have to verify your enrollment using WAVE on the last day of every month. If you prefer, you can also verify over the phone by calling (877) 823-2378.

How do I change my address or direct deposit information with the VA?

You can do any of the following:

  • Login to WAVE (Montgomery GI Bill users). On the main menu page once you have logged in, click the link to the left that says “Direct Deposit Enrollment Form” or “Change of Address” depending on what you need to do. Both procedures can be completed online.
  • Call the VA at 1-888 GI BILL 1 (1-888-442-4551) OR submit a question here.
  • Login to eBenefits.

What should I do if I haven't received payments from the VA, yet?

Make sure you’ve completed the necessary actions on the Certification Process page.

It generally takes 2-3 weeks for the VA to process a certification. If it’s been longer than 3 weeks, we recommend contacting them directly for a status update. You can do so by calling (888) 442-4551 or asking a question here.

How do benefit payments change for summer classes?

They may not change, but this depends on your credit-load and the length of your courses.

For non-standard semesters, the VA determines your rate of pursuit (not the school) by using this equation: Credit × 18 ÷ weeks = credit hour equivalents. For undergraduates, if the credit hours equivalent is equal to or greater than 12, you will receive your full housing stipend during the course dates. If you are considered less than full-time, your stipend will be prorated.

Post 9/11 users must be enrolled in a rate of pursuit greater than 50% to receive a housing stipend, even in the summer. You can use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to see rates.

I will exhaust my benefits before the end of the term. How does that work?

If you’re a veteran using your own GI Bill, the VA will still pay through the end of the term as long as you don’t exceed 48 total months of benefits. The 48-month rule is only relevant to those who used some or all of a Montgomery GI Bill then switched to the Post 9/11. If this rule doesn’t apply to you, the VA will pay your full tuition and housing stipends through the end of the term.

If you’re a dependent using transferred Post 9/11, the VA will prorate the tuition amount and stop paying the housing stipend once the benefit is exhausted.

State Benefits

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What courses can I take while using my state benefits?

Your state benefits can be used on any course you take for credit – the federal VA restrictions don’t apply. Keep in mind that you can only use your National Guard Grant for an undergraduate degree.

What do state benefits cover?

Wisconsin GI Bill – This will cover standard tuition AND segregated fees. See here for information on costs.

Wisconsin National Guard Grant – This will only reimburse you the cost of in-state tuition. It does NOT cover segregated fees, but it will cover school differentials (i.e. Engineering and Business).

Where do I find the amount of state benefits I have left?

Wisconsin GI Bill – Send us an email. We have access to the UW-System database that tracks how many credits/terms you’ve used.

Wisconsin National Guard Grant – You should receive a letter with each reimbursement check which specifies how many semester you have remaining. If you don’t have a recent letter, you can contact the grant specialist.

The semester started, and I haven't received my Wisconsin GI Bill. What should I do?

First, make sure you followed the Certification Process steps. If you selected your benefits before the term started, make sure we didn’t email you with any questions/issues. If we didn’t point out any issues, you should contact us.

What should I do if I haven't received my National Guard tuition reimbursement?

First, make sure you followed the Certification Process steps. If you’ve done all that, feel free to ask us when we submitted your application (keep in mind we can’t do this until grades post at the end of the term).

The Department of Military Affairs (DMA) has 30 days after they receive your application to send you the check. If you’re getting close or past the 30-day window, it’s best to contact the grant specialist for an update.

I will exhaust my Wisconsin GI Bill before the end of the term. How does that work?

The Wisconsin GI Bill will only cover how many credits you have remaining. For example, if you have 8 credits remaining but are enrolled in 12, the benefit will only cover the cost of 8 credits worth of tuition.